“Walking App:” David Walks Episode 1 with Dane Lyons, Founder of Knowtify.io

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Dane Lyons: … Like most villains have a master plan. I think that’s kind of a bad thing, to just give villains a master plan. I think everybody has to have a master plan as well so I’m just wondering what David’s master plan is.

David Smooke:(laughs) Well, I’m not a villain.

Dane Lyons:Maybe.

David Smooke:Yeah, you never know until the results are out. Yeah, but my plan is to make , walking better at the simplest level. And the two ways I want to do this are by making you walk with more people and showing you cool things along the way.

Dane Lyons: Okay.

David Smooke: Starting with cool people. So that’s why, I set up this, this site DavidWalks and Dane is my first booking on the site. What it does is, it shows office hours- or rather, it shows hours of when I’m available to walk and what part of town.

It asks people to let them know where they want to start, why they think they’re a good fit, which is how I’m getting either email or a URL, and then what we want to talk about.

And I see a lot of different ways … What I really want is: I want to meet a new person every day I walk to work. I want to uncover niche places that other people would know about and maybe other people that use the App would know about.

And generally, I just want to walk more. And if I have a device that allows me, or if I have an Application on my device that I’m already carrying when I’m walking that encourages me to have a better walk and walk more, I think I’ve added some real value to my life and hopefully other people would also like to have better walks with more cool people.

Dane Lyons:That’s great. I think you should build a volunteer, if you’re an App that allows to, allows you to try to create the longest-running walking session possible.

David Smooke:(laughs)

Dane Lyons: You start with two people and one person fades out and an other, he gets replaced by another person and you just keep going and like, just phasing people out like a relay. And see if you can, you can get one walking session that goes for like a month or something.

David Smooke:That sounds like a great, uh, launch party.

Dane Lyons:Yeah.

David Smooke: Instead of your traditional you know, let’s go to the office, crack some beers, go to happy hour.

Dane Lyons:Yeah.

David Smooke:My launch party is to see how long the walking session can keep going.

Dane Lyons:Yeah. How long do you think you can keep going? I mean every, every night’s going to be a huge barrier, right?

David Smooke:Yeah, the nights are going to be huge barriers. It could be something like the Tour de France wherever, you know, you don’t count the night.

Dane Lyons:Oh, yeah.

David Smooke:And you, you work under you know, more reasonable hours and you re-group at each spot.

Dane Lyons:Yeah.

David Smooke: Not as exciting but probably safer, less liability, you don’t have people walking around at night.

Dane Lyons: So it’s a, it’s a light version.

David Smooke: Yeah, a light version.

Dane Lyons: Yeah.

David Smooke: I don’t know but, yeah. I think in, in the end it would be cool if it was , you know, like the Olympic Torch.

Dane Lyons: Yeah.

David Smooke: And it just keeps being passed on and walked around-

Dane Lyons: Yeah.

David Smooke: Until , you know, the event.

Dane Lyons: It shows how sometimes, devices can be carried around with them as well. [inaudible 03:05] light a torch. (motor noise)

David Smooke: I, I think that can be digital, right?

Dane Lyons: Yeah, that can be digital, I guess.

David Smooke: And it would be a, a starting point.

Dane Lyons: It would be pretty awesome if , if there is a physical device and people are taking selfies as, as they’re walking , and posting them somewhere.

David Smooke:Yeah … Yeah, some things I have to work on. If I’m going to take MapShot I have to make the home page more beautiful about how the images fit together.

Dane Lyons: Yeah.

David Smooke: Another thing we talked about before, was if we use like a glimpse-like functionality where you can see where they are you know, fifteen minutes before the walk.

Dane Lyons: Yeah.

David Smooke: So you don’t have to use Facebook or text them. It’s really much more organic, “I’m gonna, I’m gonna be here at this time and if I’m not, you can see exactly where I am,” without the other person having to reach out.

Dane Lyons:Yeah.

David Smooke: Which I find annoying. Right before you’re meeting somebody.

Dane Lyons:-h.

David Smooke: And it’s like, “Oh, are you two minutes away? Are you three minutes away?”

Dane Lyons: Right, yeah.

David Smooke: You know, “I’m right around the corner, I’m two minutes away too.”

Dane Lyons: Yep. I mean, some, some people are , a little bit more flexible too so you could say, “I’m available for a walk between these hours.”

David Smooke: Yeah.

Dane Lyons: I, I mean you might find better, find it easier to make connections that way.

David Smooke: Yeah, I think that’s the way to start but I still think you need to book.

Dane Lyons: Yeah.

David Smooke: You know, and this is where I’m at now. I put you know, “I’m available for these four hours” and then you book one of the times so I know exactly, you know, it’s a commitment.

Dane Lyons: Yeah.

David Smooke: … So we originally booked this walk to talk about “Evolution.”

Dane Lyons: Yeah.

David Smooke: Um, Dane, tell me what is evolution?

Dane Lyons: It’s just a process. Like any other process.

David Smooke: So you booked this walk to just talk about a process that’s like any other process.

Dane Lyons: Well, it, it was a place holder. I, I didn’t know at the time but I wanted to talk about David’s master plan so I, I just threw it in there and it seemed really to change later.

David Smooke: So would you say you booked the walk because you wanted to take a walk with me?

Dane Lyons: Exactly.

David Smooke: So do you think in the beginning, most people would want to take walks with their friends?

Dane Lyons: I mean, for me I, if I wanted to take a walk with my friend I, I would just communicate with them directly.

I really would like to take walks with people that I don’t know and try to explore topics that I don’t know. I think that’s way more exciting to me.

David Smooke: Yeah. Yeah. It would be cool to see your friends on the App though.

Dane Lyons: Yeah.

David Smooke:This is from a self-serving point of view. Oh look, my friend’s using my App.

Dane Lyons:Yeah.

David Smooke: (laughs) How cool is that?

Dane Lyons: Yeah.  well, I think it would be really interesting if, if you could see stats on people. You could see how many, how many miles everybody’s walked and then it starts to become a game.

Like how, who can walk more? Like, more miles and have more conversations, you or your friends?

David Smooke: Oh, you’re really a gamer!

Dane Lyons: Yeah.

David Smooke: Bringing in all these elements.

Dane Lyons: I love game mechanics. I, I think it’s-

David Smooke: (laughs)

Dane Lyons:It’s incredible. Incredible motivators.

David Smooke: Yeah, it’s true. , I’ve been using the App Moves, lately.

Dane Lyons: Okay.

David Smooke: To kind of track my progress. I know Androids do a lot more with default, and it’s kind of fun like, how many steps you’ve taken in a day…

It can be cool to cross-reference. It’s like oh, you know, you walked, three thousand steps and then, like follow-up emails.

Dane Lyons: Yeah.

David Smooke: Oh, you walked three thousand steps and you learned about X.

Dane Lyons: Right, yeah.

David Smooke: You know, and you follow up with like, if either of them kind of add … I guess you encourage people to add notes to the App after the walk.

Dane Lyons: Yeah. Or you could record it and you could have some kind of like voice processing or I don’t know, crowdsourcing to determine the topics that were discussed. That makes it a little bit more enjoyable for somebody.

Because there’s less friction and less work they have to do to actually create a successful walk. I mean, if you’ve gotta do ten steps and you’ve got to really, gotta, gotta fill out this huge form-

David Smooke: (laughs)

Dane Lyons: Then it does, it does seem less enjoyable.

David Smooke: Yeah. Yeah and I’m on the fence. Like, right now I’m holding out my phone-

Dane Lyons: Yeah.

David Smooke: You know, to record this and I’m gonna probably listen back to it and we’re gonna hear the streets, we’re gonna miss some of our stuff.

Dane Lyons: Yeah.

David Smooke: I mean, we’ll see what the quality actually is.

Dane Lyons: Yeah.

David Smooke: But I think, you know, with the iPhone 5 and the Samsung Galaxy it’s like, the microphone’s getting good enough that you could put it at least in your front pocket.

Dane Lyons: Yeah.

David Smooke: And get away with it. Maybe your back pocket, maybe your pants pocket would be too difficult.

Dane Lyons:Yeah. It, it would be just like that movie [Burr 07:17] with  the phone sticking out of his pocket.

David Smooke: Yeah. (laughs)

Dane Lyons: It’s perfect.

David Smooke: … the other thing we talked about is the goodness of the environment. We talked about this before whether, you know, how important walking is to this and  …

I don’t know, I mean to change a whole, just go out there to market and, with your thing be like, “We’re just going to change everything.”

Dane Lyons: Well, I, I think it, I think it actually is a, a big deal but , it, it’s –

David Smooke: I’m not saying it’s not a big deal. It can just get, it can dilute your message.

Dane Lyons: Right.

David Smooke: You know and it, ’cause it’s like, I’m, I would be thrilled to contribute to people walking more and driving less.

Dane Lyons: Well-

David Smooke: But you know, there’s so many other things in play that it’s like, the more I, I talk about that, the more it’s like-

Dane Lyons: Yeah.

David Smooke: I, I can just get lost.

Dane Lyons: Well I, I think it’s actually an important deal from the perspective of we’ve got this, this , collective vision that we, we need to create an environment that’s sustainable and it’s not gonna go away in, in fifty years and, just using that as context to help you determine what thing you want to build on.

So maybe you’re considering the option between building this walking App or building something entirely different and the only distinguishing factor that you can, you can see is, this walking App is good for the environment and the other one is not good for the environment. So, why not go ahead-

David Smooke: Yeah, yeah that, that is a good feeling.

Dane Lyons: I know.

David Smooke: Did you see , when they taught this homeless person the code? And his first-

Dane Lyons: Oh in, in New York?

David Smooke: Yeah and his first App-

Dane Lyons: Yeah.

David Smooke: It was very much along these lines.

Dane Lyons: Yeah.

David Smooke: It was like a rough calculator of like, every time, I forget exactly. I think it was every time you walk it was how much gas you save or-

Dane Lyons: Oh, nice.

David Smooke: You know, by … It was something along the lines of encouraging people not to go to the gas station and-

Dane Lyons: Yeah.

David Smooke: Doing a pretty basic calculator of like, just the effects of this. You know, every, every gallon of gas you don’t use.

Dane Lyons: Yeah. That’s really great. I would definitely use that. For me, it’s more about the game mechanics than anything.  I just want, I want to have stats associated with my life.

David Smooke:(laughs) Did you see the site , it was trending I think on Hacker News about two weeks ago, the guy started tracking everything in his life and he built an entire website? , I mean by everything it’s more like where he goes and what he eats and you know, like, energy consumed, energy burned.

Dane Lyons: Yeah.

David Smooke: It was a nice site, though. I forget the name of it.

Dane Lyons: Yeah. It seems like a lot of these sites… it’s actually really hard to come up with a system that you actually manually track things.

And all of the automated tracking stuff, it all just tracks the same stuff like that. Like calories burned and it’s, it’s really difficult to find some kind of implicit tracking system that collects interesting data.

David Smooke: Maybe you’re just being overwhelmed with data and your definition of interesting is changing.

Dane Lyons: I don’t really think I’m being overwhelmed with data but I think that, I mean that, that’s the whole thing about Big Data, we’ve got so much data we don’t need to pare down our data. We need to understand it at like a bigger level.

So , I just need … I feel like I just need ways to munch through the data faster to make better decisions without having to try to look at say, a hundred data points and try to understand-

David Smooke: I think quality gets lost in too many of these data points. Like, so what? I consumed this many calories or burnt that many calories. What’s that have to do with the quality of the food I ate or the quality of my actual workout?

Dane Lyons: Well-

David Smooke: You know. Like, burning calories is such a small thing in the, the spectrum of what you’re trying to do when you’re working out. I’d let you measure how many endorphins I release or how much my change in muscle tone.

Dane Lyons: Yeah, oh yeah. I think , measuring the right data is important but by trying to look at data at the [inaudible 11:23] level and trying to find correlations. I, I think that’s a really, really powerful thing.

David Smooke: Alright, this is where I turn.

Dane Lyons: Okay. Alright.

David Smooke:Thank you for joining me on the first walk.

Dane Lyons:It was a good walk.

David Smooke:Yeah. It was.