It happens to the best of entrepreneurs: That service, app, or site that you set up finds an audience that totally blows your mind. You thought that a certain set of people would flock to your app like crazy, and you’re surprised by those who actually use it. If you have this “problem,” it’s important to recognize that it’s not a problem at all.
One of the most interesting apps that is quietly picking up steam is Polar for iOS, and it has done some interesting things to best serve all of its users and not freak out about it being “overrun by kids,” much like Instagram has been. If you’re not sold on Instagram being an app for the younger set, just take a look at the most popular pictures section, and you’ll get the gist quickly.
Polar, which is a social voting app of sorts, acts much like hot-or-not does, slurping up the things that you are interested in based on your quick-fire voting. It’s a gorgeous and easy-to-use app and is kind of fun once you get into the groove of using it. Polar’s co-founder Luke Wroblewski, a self-professed data nerd, told me about how his company is making Polar a place to be for everyone, no matter what their interests are or what their age is.
Needless to say, Polar saw its highest usage ever during the holidays, since a lot of people were getting their new iOS devices. It’s a good sign that there’s word of mouth going on for Polar, which is hard to get away from once your friends are tweeting and Facebooking polls. Wroblewski told me that New Year’s Eve had the highest number of polls created in one day, mostly centered on “best of 2012″ themes. The app has registered more than 2 million votes thus far.
There goes the neighborhood?
Teens like to use Polar; it’s obvious as you poke around. You’ll see questions like “Who is your favorite Twilight character?” I usually just skip over those. Wroblewski feels like that’s a bad user experience for older crowds, so the company is doing something about it.
Polar has created two versions of its popular and news feed sections, and there’s one with polls that don’t mention things like Justin Bieber, “who is cuter?” and other questions of that nature. By creating a simple corpus of keywords, it’s quite easy to filter that stuff out. The really neat part about all of this is that you don’t have to switch a toggle or set something in settings to make this happen. All you have to do is use the app.
Polar throws this poll at you to pick your bucket:
Instead of settling for having one type of audience or the other, Polar can have its cake and eat it, too. Wroblewski tells me that more is coming for Polar at the end of the month, but if you haven’t given the app a spin, now is the time. The UI and UX, designed by Polar’s team of two, allow you to speed through at least 10 polls in 30 seconds – that’s their core requirement for their users.
I’ve witnessed larger companies that completely give up on an app or service because they don’t like the audience that it has attracted, which is a horrible way to treat the folks who really enjoy what you’ve made. There are ways to make things customized and personalized, without completely reinventing the wheel. Clearly, Polar has done it. Teens are users, too, and it’s an audience that large companies salivate over getting onto their properties. Creative thinking can open up new possibilites.
As far as making money or looking for outside investment, Wroblewski isn’t too concerned. The team is focused on making a great and fun product. Why should you care about them? Well, Polar is building an amazing interest graph for you based on things that you like and can one day match you with people who like or dislike the same things as you.
Facebook should take notice.