Finance junior Charles Crawford and his business partner, Michael O’Brien, launched a crowdsourced web app last week to help Phoenix residents discover local cuisine, culture and events.
The duo has been working together for two years and Mapped Phoenix is the most recent of their projects.
“Mapped Phoenix is displaying all of Phoenix’s best culture, entrepreneurship, etc., on a map that has a great user experience,” O’Brien said.
Crawford saw O’Brien speak in one of his sophomore classes and said he admired his work ethic and business model.
He reached out to O’Brien and the two have been working together ever since. Both are passionate about the work they are doing, and they don’t waste time.
“I just work 100 hours a week,” Crawford said. “I take the pain. That and passion, because this is actually fun. If it wasn’t fun, it would be impossible to work as hard as we do.”
The map displays five categories: events, restaurants, happy hours, landmarks, entrepreneurial and local treasures. The information is crowdsourced, but O’Brien plans to keep adding features like social media integration, scraping from calendars like those at Phoenix New Times and azcentral.com.
Crawford and O’Brien also hope to add ASU-specific features, making club meetings and on-campus events easily accessible.
“No one should ever say, ‘I’m bored,’” Crawford said.
They aren’t looking to advertise for big corporations. Crawford and O’Brien will only feature local businesses.
“You won’t find a Chick-fil-A on here, or McDonald’s,” O’Brien said. “It’s the local coffee places, the Cartels (and) the things that make you smile.”
As entrepreneurs, they were both looking for places to go to work and network with like-minded people. The app’s entrepreneurial feature offers just that.
“There wasn’t anything like that out there,” Crawford said.
They were inspired by mappedinsiliconvalley.com, a similar website displaying Silicon Valley’s startups on an easy to use map that went viral overnight.
“I saw the article on Hacker News, and I was like, ‘Wait a second that’s pretty cool! I’d like to do that for Phoenix,” O’Brien said.
He built the web application in roughly a week, then went on to the Android app and is in the approval process with Apple to publish the iPhone app.
Now Crawford and O’Brien are working on getting the word out. They’d like to see stickers in local business’ windows displaying the Mapped Phoenix logo next to their Yelp sticker.
“We’d like to contact a lot of the business owners that we put on (the map) and give them a sticker with the logo and tell them ‘Hey, you’re featured on MappedPhoenix,’” O’Brien said.
The word has not yet spread to students, but entrepreneurship and international business sophomore Raul Guevara likes the idea.
“I like the variety of different categories that are provided,” Guevara said. “It gives you a nice visual.”
Guevara said he would like to see it expand to ASU-related activities and club meetings, as it would provide publicity for his social outreach club Enactus.
This is just one of many projects Crawford and O’Brien have on the horizon.
“We’re just warming up,” O’Brien said.
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