We want you to be a part of an epic project
As part of our goal to become a collection of the world’s recommendations, we’re asking people to make one recommendation every week. This week’s little thing is children’s books. We’re asking you to tell us what your favorite book was growing up as a kid. We believe this could turn into a fascinating and ruminative project because it’s the little things, which when woven together, paint a terrifically curious picture.
Over time we want to be able to place you go to find out everything, from Richard Branson’s recommendation on best business books to Jack Dorsey’s favorite spots for a power breakfast.
What was your favorite book growing up?
“All grown-ups were once children… but only few of them remember it.”
― Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince
Children’s books are curious things. When we’re toddlers we read them for the pictures. When we’re a little older we read them for the stories they tell. When we’re much older it’s to be reminded of simple truths. They’re age indifferent. It’s curious and magical the way they stick with us and shape us through different stages of our lives.
Oftentimes you ask people what their favorite book is, and you get some version of how a book they read a month ago happened to change their life forever. But what about those lifelong friends? The guys who fundamentally rocked our perception of the world? Alice, Max, Mowgli, The Who’s, Harry…
“Kids don’t know about bestsellers. They go for what they enjoy. They
aren’t star chasers and they don’t suck up. It’s why I like them.”
― Maurice Sendak
The profound effect this literature has on our lives hits us when we’re much older. We’ve been thinking about this a lot recently and we thought it’d be a fun exercise in nostalgia to map our collective childhood through books. We want to know:
What was your singular favorite book growing up?
Let’s remember those mythical giants that helped us define what’s possible. Let’s also help out new parents and build an epic collection of children’s books for them and make their lives a little easier :-).
If you’re down, here’s how you can share your favorite book:
Step 1: Go to Awessome! and click on the big Twitter button. Takes approx 47 seconds.
Step 2: Tweet your favorite book and why you loved it with the hashtag #awessome.
Step 3: We automagically pull your tweet into your profile on Awessome! This is how it’ll look:
Step 4: We’re reaching out to folks like Steve Case, Jack Dorsey and Margaret Atwood to ask them their favorite books. Follow @awessomeapp or the #awessome stream to find out what their favorite books are and shoot us suggestions if there’s someone in particular you want to hear from!
Here’s to the wild ones…
(Photo: Brains After Hours)
Awessome! got in bed with Twitter and the love child is magical!
So Anderson Cooper tweeted this earlier today:
Just finished another very good book #BeautifulRuins. I recommend it.— Anderson Cooper (@andersoncooper) July 11, 2012
The tweet is now dead. Apart from the users who saw it, it is gone. A byte of code buried in the graveyard of tweets on a server farm somewhere where most of the tombstones contain the words “Justin Bieber”.
Which means that the recommendation Anderson Cooper made for the book Beautiful Ruins is lost as well. My guess is that over time hundreds of thousands of people would be interested in knowing his personal reading recommendations.
Unfortunately the only people privy to this knowledge are the one’s who were lucky enough to see this recommendation fly across their twitter stream.
Not anymore. Starting today whenever you tweet a recommendation, just include the hashtag #awessome and the recommendation will be automagically saved to your Awessome! profile (you need to sign-up for Awessome! with your twitter account first of course).
Here’s how it works:
Step 1: Go to Awessome! and sign-up using your Twitter account. Takes approx 47 seconds.
Step 2: In the future whenever you tweet a recommendation, include the hashtag #awessome. All the information you include in your tweet will automatically be saved. If your tweet doesn’t include an image, then the system will take a best guess and select a picture from Google Images.
Step 3: This is how the tweet will appear on Awessome!
Step 4: Over time, you build a rich repository of all your recommendations.
Awessome! was built with the goal of making finding recommendations ridiculously easy. We just took another huge step in that direction.
If a recommendation is good enough to tweet. It deserves to be saved. Sign-up here and get started :)
The tweet is dead. Long live the tweet. #savethetweet
Featured Blogger: Theresa Cortes
Theresa Cortes, an Orange County based blogger, is hands down a jill of all trades. She is currently majoring business at Cal State Fullerton, and when she’s not studying she’s busy blogging her baking and fashion adventures. Not only does she have undeniably awesome taste in food but her sense of fashion is completely unique. We talked to her about her blogging beginnings, everyday inspirations and what she loves about Awessome!.
Tell us about your blogging beginnings. How did you get started?
I started blogging right after high school. My blog’s definitely come a long way since then. Initially, all my posts were rants because I wasn’t sure what to write. Eventually I stumbled upon Lookbook and discovered this whole world of fashion blogging. Drawing inspiration from Lookbook, I started blogging my favorite street styles and outfits. People really responded to that and I was able to build conversations with them about fashion. It was really cool. I realized what I could do with the blog and the potential it had to translate my love of food and fashion into conversations.
What everyday things inspire you? How do you turn those inspirations into blog posts?
Once I realized the potential my blog had I really made it my own. Usually, the things I post go along with whatever I’m doing that day. I’ve always had a passion for cooking and trying out different styles so my blog’s more like an extension of my life. Even now, I have a so many baking recipes and pictures lined up that I need to post.
When it comes to inspiration for fashion obviously living in socal helps - the beach and laid back LA culture constantly inspires me. If you check out my blog though you’ll see my taste in fashion incorporates a little bit of everything. I draw a ton of inspiration from other bloggers who are doing similar things by checking out their street styles. I’m told my style is pretty unique compared to the typical LA scene - guess that’s a good thing :).
Since you’re a fan of Awessome! what are some of your favorite recommendations?
Why we’re fucking better than Foursquare tips
A tip by definition is a “helpful hint”.
Being helpful is a good deed.
The “tips” above are essentially saying “go die”.
Dying ≠ good !
With us so far?
To the douchemonkeys telling us to “go die” we say stfu because:
For some time now Foursquare has been in the process of transitioning from an app focused on gaming (checking in & collecting stickers) to exploration (discovery via places, people and “personalized recommendations”). Check out this and this article for more info.
This new transition means Foursquare’s putting much more emphasis on its content (comments; reviews; “tips”) then it was before. These “tips” by definition “are generally things you’d recommend to others” with the intended goal of always having “something interesting to do nearby.”
Still with us?
Because you see, some random people up above just told us to launch ourselves over the Benjamin Franklin Bridge. That’s neither in our best interests nor at all fucking sane. It’s neither a useful recommendation nor helpful suggestion. By definition then, it’s not a tip.
So why is it still there? The first “tip” is from Sept 2010 - almost two years ago. It shouldn’t be there. Nor should the others.
The thing is, our communities are only as good as our worst, dumbass, bullshit spewing, kitten killing members. Let them thrive, hell let them exist, and your community turns to shit. There’s been talk of Foursquare directly competing with Yelp. In that vein, we wouldn’t be surprised if not long from now we see people going on Foursquare just to bitch about a place.
Would hate to see that happen.
At Awessome! we’re trying to fix this from the start. Even our name - it sets a bar for entry:
Your mom’s not allowed.
Our mission is to save the fucking kittens.
This is what a “tip” should read like:
With us so far?
Why we’re fucking better than Amazon reviews
… the fuck?
There’s a special place for people who write reviews on no-slip, stick-on bathtub frogs. It’s the “I bitch about life to get through life” club. They meet up every Monday at noon because they don’t go to work. Their only skillset is to bitch, complain and whine. Their days are filled with leaving user comments and reviews. The bad kind.
Here’s a lesson for members of this special club:
Some things don’t have to be discussed to death!! Some things don’t need your review and approval. Your kid wants some no-slip, stick-on bathtub frog tattoos? Then get your kid some fucking no-slip, stick-on bathtub frog tattoos! They’re “good looking but don’t last long”? They’re $4.99! How long did your cheapass expect them to last? Hell, use our Amazon Prime account for free shipping if you care that much.
Point is: WHO GIVES A SHIT?! Don’t speak unless you have something valuable to say. Because every time you spew superfluous bullshit from your mouth, somewhere in the world a kitten goes deaf. So hear our plea and please save the kittens.
Was this review helpful to you?
Good. Because we’re in the business of giving a shit about things that fucking matter. Let’s get beyond discussing things for discussions sake. Say something because it’s that fucking important. Recommend something because you love it that fucking much. The act of sharing (your voice) should spill over from a natural love of the thing itself.
It’s this mentality that drives us to do better here at Awessome!. We hope you enjoy the ride.
This is part of our series “Why the fuck we’re doing it better”. Check out the first blog post here where we tear into Yelp. Cheers!
Why we’re fucking better than Yelp
“People don’t want to read anymore.”
Those are the words of Alexis Maybank, Co-Founder of Gilt, speaking at Digital Summit 2012 last week. When discussing why at Gilt they put so much emphasis on compelling imagery (they have 12 studios littered across Manhattan), she explained it’s “because people don’t want to read anymore.”
This is true. Fact is: people don’t want to think anymore. We have the attention span of gnats and are constantly searching for the smallest possible nuggets of information to help us make decisions and find what we’re looking for. This is where the existing models (Yelp, Amazon reviews, etc) fail.
A recent study showed that when people make purchasing decisions, they consult online marketplaces such as Amazon and online review sites like Yelp more than they do traditional word-of-mouth channels like friends and family:
Where Amazon’s focus is on products, Yelp is a treasure trove of reviews on restaurants, nightlife, shopping and entertainment. The problem is when you get reviews like this:
If you read closely you’ll notice this user was displeased with his experience at El Pollo Loco. Yet he rated it 5 stars. Here’s a suggestion for Yelp: Next to “Was this review…?” add a tab for “Coma Inducing” because this guy just fucking fried our brains like philly blunts.
To understand why reviews like this even exist, you have to first understand how Yelp works
- They favor long form reviews - Yelp is optimized for SEO which means the longer the reviews the better. These aren’t easy to digest.
- They allow biased reviews - Many of Yelp’s reviews are written by the owner, friends and family or the competition. There’s an incentive by business owners to get their ratings up.
- They emphasize ratings - What does fuck 3.5 stars mean anyway? And how is that different from 3.6 stars? What if my friend highly recommends a place but it has 1 star on Yelp? Which carries more weight? Just sayin’, friends give hugs. Stars are cool but they don’t give hugs.
Now, we know this goes against the “we need to make this so easy my mom could use it!” mentality but we like to assume people (including our less than tech savvy mothers) are smart. A smart person would know that the El Pollo Loco review above is bullshit. That person would also learn to take these reviews with a grain of salt to avoid such bullshittery. They’ll start triaging reviews and ask themselves things like:
- How many people have reviewed this place?
- Does this review sound biased?
- Can I trust this reviewer?
The list goes on…
This process, grain of salting, requires more thinking - that which these platforms should be trying to eliminate. We believe this can be done by bridging the gap between traditional word-of-mouth recommendations and online reviews. Recommendations should be built on trust, guide you in the right direction and help you find what you’re looking for faster. When recommendations serve their function, they naturally eliminate thinking. That’s just fucking common sense.
With Awessome! we’ve built a platform where you save and share things you love with your friends. Since you know your friends, it removes the “trust problem”, and the only things posted are those that have a 6 star stamp of approval. There are no ratings or grades or numbers. Just an image and a short, positive, and easy to digest review made by the people you trust. Take for example the recommendation below. Our buddy Kiran (a chef), recommended Tasty China in Atlanta. These are the kinds of recommendations that are useful. They’re personal, have a point of view and just make us fucking happy.
We’re not trying to appeal to the lowest common denominator. We want to help people make qualitatively better decisions by providing reviews that are, as Rocky so eloquently put it, “personally relevant, not universally irrelevant.”
And that’s why we’re just fucking better.