Ben Hintz is a seemingly unlikely person to undertake the development of an app as an English major and involved Tennis Club member, but his brainchild “Yawper” has the potential to create an entirely new form of social networking.
Name: Ben HintzMajor: English, with a concentration in Creative WritingHometown: Bristol, Connecticut
Can you talk about your app?
Yawper started out as an app to find nearby events, but has evolved into a social GPS based on maps. Local events will appear on the map by a red icon, which becomes darker with the increased number of people there, and the better the reviews are that are posted about it. When you’re at an event, you can review it by dropping one of numerous icons over the event on the map. These icons range from negative statements, like “too crowded,” to positive ones about how much fun the event is. This will let you see how a party or concert is going before you make the walk all the way there. Too many times in Charleston we have walked for upwards of half an hour to an event, only to find it over or boring. Yawper will help you avoid those long lines at bars, unnecessary cover charges, and dead parties. This app takes the guessing out of going out, and helps all users to maximize their social lives. There is also a feature that allows users to input traits of their desired demographic and find events based on the highest concentration of people with these traits. For example, you could input that you want to find tall males between the ages of 20-25, and Yawper would create a unique set of hot spots based on where the most of these people are.
How did you move forward with the app, after you had the initial idea?
Will Jameson, the creator of Yik Yak, has been a great friend and outlet for helping me figure out how to start my app. I first had to research and make sure my idea was unique, and when I discovered it was, I immediately applied for a patent and started getting in contact with numerous developers. College of Charleston is a great place for student start-ups. I’m in the ICAT program, which disappointingly has very few cats. It is an accelerated technology program during one semester that teaches you coding, as well as the business side of getting an idea off the ground. You work in a team of three, with one creative member, one business, and one computer science. All liberal arts students can potentially participate, regardless of major. My team consists of Adam Sugarman, Andrew Gordon, and myself. We are mentored by Harvard Business graduate Prag Shah. This program has really helped make Yawper a reality.”
How does your major in English help you with this seemingly unrelated endeavor?It has given me many interdisciplinary skills, including business knowledge. Most importantly, it has taught me how to talk to people and reason clearly.
Any parting words?If anyone is interested in becoming a campus representative, we are starting an exciting internship program when the app drops in late March. Contact me at [email protected]. Soon, you’ll see our guerilla marketing all over campus. We plan to stay in Cougar Mall until we are forced out and cover the campus in posters.
Be sure to download Yawper when it is released in late March, and support your fellow students!