5 Questions For John Kim Of Whrrl

This is the sixth in a series of brief Q&As with Locl.ly with leaders and up-and-comers in the local space.

Describe Whrrl as if a friend’s mother asked, “So what is this Whrrl?”

I bet if we asked, you could name off the top of your head three favourite places to go and the things you do at those places. Finding new places that are perfect for you is hard because people are content to stick to what they know.

Whrrl increases the possibility of discovering something new — rather than you finding ideas, we believe the right ideas should find you.

We pay attention to where you go, who you’re friends with and match you to people who like what you like — groups of people with similar interests, tastes and passions called Societies. Whrrl has over 5,000 Societies curated by our community ranging from live music fans, mountain bikers, foodies, and fashionistas.

Based on your Societies and Whrrl activity, our personalised recommendation engine scores and filters nearby ideas so we can help you discover the best experiences.

If you were not involved with Whrrl which service would you use to satisfy your needs?

There are a number of review services that try to solve this problem but I run into a common issue which is, who are these people? Are they like me? Do we have the same tastes? These services will give me tools to search and filter for what I want but I have to do a ton of work. These services don’t remember any of the past work that I’ve done to search for what I want. Even after I find something interesting, for every review I find encouraging, I’ll find one that is discouraging.

Why should people use your product over, say, watching a ball game or riding their bike?

Our single-minded mission is to increase the possibility of adventure in your life. We believe you should check in to the ballpark, ride your bike and enjoy a new experience. Afterwards, we will have a little bit more data to power other ideas for you to try.

Tease us with a hint of what’s in your pipeline related to local, will ya?

While everything in our pipeline has a local component, we do not want to over-focus on local. Our road map is focused on community, rewards and relevancy.

1. Community: Our Society model powers everything. Our plan is to take this to the next level. We want to make it even easier for your fellow Society members to inspire you to try something new.

2. Rewards: Our rewards model has been a huge hit with brands. We are working on many new features to make this even more fun, viral, and engaging. We already have rewards at 10K locations and growing. We want rewards everywhere.

3. Relevancy is king. It starts and ends here. Our recommendations will get smarter and better every time you use it.

What is the future of local + mobile, in 15 words or less?

Community, rewards, and relevancy will disrupt the digital and physical world as we know it.

John Kim is Vice President, Products at Pelago, makers of Whrrl, where he oversees the product and monetization strategies. He brings over 15 years of experience of building and marketing high-growth new media products and businesses.

Most recently, Kim was Vice President of Product Management and Marketing for Medio, where he helped define core product functions and build Medio’s leading global mobile search, analytics and search advertising platforms.

Before Medio, Kim was the Senior Director of Strategic and Product Marketing at Yahoo!, leading efforts to conceptualize and build market leading advertising products and features. There, he played a key role developing the original vision and marketing requirements and led the go-to-market phase for Project Panama, Yahoo’s recently released search marketing platform. . Kim originally joined Yahoo! when the company acquired Overture Services, where he was Director of Marketing. At Overture, he helped grow revenues from their self-service channel by five-fold.

Prior to Overture, Kim worked as a strategy consultant at Accenture, where he advised executives at leading high-tech, wireless and Internet companies on new product development processes, potential new ventures and growth strategies. Kim also served as a White House appointee, advising the President on increasing the level of Asian American and Pacific Islander small-business contribution to the national economy.

Kim received a BA in economics from University of California Santa Barbara and an MBA from the University of Chicago.

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