This is the seventh in a series of Q&As with leaders / up-n-comers in the local space
Who is he: Lenny Rachitsky, 29
What does he do: C-Everything of Localmind, as-yet-launched startup funded by Year One Labs, an incubator out of Montreal
Describe Localmind as if a friend’s mother asked, “So what is this Localmind?
I’m glad you asked, Mrs. mum. Localmind gives you the ability to know what’s happening anywhere in the world, right now. We do this by connecting you, temporarily and anonymously, to a specific person that is at a location you care about, allowing you to send that person a question (to their phone, any question you want) and get an answer in real-time. For example, “how crowded is the playground right now?” or, “is that bully at the park right now?” [Via Web, iPhone, Android].
If you were not involved with Localmind which service would you use to satisfy your needs?
I’ve spent the past couple of months interviewing users to really understand this very question, to figure out what people do today to get this type of information. Most people today either just go to the place without knowing what to expect, and waste time/money/stress, or send a friend to check it out and wait for them to report back. We’re living the 21st century here…something is missing.
Always-on ambient information
that comes to you before you know you need it
Why should people use your product over, say, watching a ball game, reading to their kids or taking a walk?
There’s no need to sacrifice any of these things. In fact, Localmind gives you more time to spend with your kids, walk, or watch your the ball game, as you avoid wasting time going places that are busy/lame. Parents are a great use case actually, something I’ve been hearing a lot. You can find out how kid-friendly restaurants are, or get a sense of the age-group at a venue, before you leave the house. I may be changing the tagline now:
“Localmind: Making you a better parent.”
Tease us with a hint of what’s in your pipeline product / contentwise (and give us something real!)
Our service is just getting started, so for the next while we are focusing on learning from our users, making sure we are focusing on the right problems for them. Beyond that, I don’t want to over-promise, but one thing we’re definitely going to be doing is showing you other questions people are asking around your general area.
What is the future of local + mobile, in 15 words or less?
Always-on ambient information that comes to you before you know you need it.
Why do you think Localmind is important enough to put your time into it?
If we can get this right, this idea has the potential to change the world in an amazing way. If you give people the ability to know what’s happening anywhere in the world in real-time, to see through other people’s eyes on-demand, we create a sort of elastic hive-mind that makes us all smarter, more efficient, and more connected. I think that it’s one of those kinds of things that when you look back, you wonder how you could have done without it.
You’ve noted there are really no other apps / services that combine realtime and location data – really?
There are certainly services that do things with real-time location (e.g. Foursquare, Twitter), and a few that are starting to talk about location based Q&A. What I’m excited about and focusing on is the ability to connect to an actual person at a specific location that you care about, and get the specific information you need about that place in real-time. You don’t have to filter through search results, you don’t have to post a question to a nebulous forum. You simply ask your question, and get an answer, in real-time.
Hacker turned engineering manager turned entrepreneur, Lenny Rachitsky moved from San Diego to Montreal, Canada to start Localmind. Lenny has spent most of his career in the Web performance industry, where he holds a number of patents, has spoken at conferences around the world, and has been quoted in papers including the Wall Street Journal. Lenny aims to survive the winter, and make the world a better place (in that order).