This is Jon Russo, the founder of AreaVibes. AreaVibes is a site that helps people who want to relocate to a new city or neighborhood by giving each city and neighborhood a livability score between 0 and 100, based on important factors, like the cost of living, the crime rate, the affordability of housing, the weather, etc. You can read the review of AreaVibes here.
Jon has over 12 years experience in the online internet industry. He built his first website in 1999, which was an apartment rental guide in Canada. It soon became one of the largest apartment rental guides. He worked on that app for about 6 to 7 years. In 2009, he sold it to Toronto's Star, one of the largest newspaper companies in Canada. He continued to work with that company for about a year in the transitional period when they were taking over the site. After that year he decided to leave and to start a new business, which was AreaVibes. While he was still working for his previous company, he noticed that there was a need for a service that could help people that wanted to relocate to a new city or neighborhood. There were already many sites that could tell you the crime rate for a city, demographic information, the cost of living, and so on, but there was not a site available that combined all of those statistics and packaged that into a score. The site was built in 2009. Since then they have grown to service 15,000 different cities in the US and 5,000 neighborhoods across those cities. The app is being used by people who are looking to relocate, but also by real estate agents, relocation professionals, and even government officials.
- What kind of apps do you use?
"I use all kinds of apps for both work and play. I recently traded in my Blackberry for an IPhone, just so I could take full advantage of all the great apps out there. I use apps like Kindle and iBooks for reading, apps like Score Mobile for sports scores, Yelp for finding great places to eat and drink, Flixster and Netflix for watching movies and TV shows, CNN for news and Realtor.ca even helped me find my new home. I've even started to learn Italian using the MindSnacks Learn Italian app. I could go on and on.
The one web app I use consistently, one that I would recommend to anyone, is Walk Score. The site shows the walkability score of a particular location. This means that it will tell you how much of your daily life, like going to the grocery store or a restaurant, you can do without having to use your car to get there. I use it mostly because it's in a very similar industry to ours, and I think it's a great way to know how close certain things are.
For blogging and things like that I really like WordPress. At the moment we're not using CRM or project management web apps. We use CRM software that was custom built, because there wasn't an app available that suited our needs.
A great mobile app I recently downloaded for my iPhone is GymPact. I can get sort of lazy when it comes to going to the gym and this app actually allows you to put a value on every visit to the gym. You can create a weekly pact on how many times you say you'll go. So if you say you're going to the gym three times, you can put a 5 dollar value to each visit. So if you don't actually go three times, you have to pay 5 dollars for every time you didn't go when you said you would. If you do go thee times they will pay you! The amount you get paid depends on the number of people that entered the pact that week and the amount of money that was paid by people who didn't go to the gym. It's a great app, because it really motivates people to go to the gym. I really love little apps like that.
I also download games like Angry Birds and Fruit Ninja from time to time on my phone. I tend to play them for a few days, then get bored and end up deleting them."
- Which devices do you use to run the apps?
"I use an iPhone and and iPad."
- What is your favorite app and why?
"Definitely Twitter. That's where I get the majority of my news every day. What I really like about it is that I can customize the news I read every day. I follow a certain specific range of people in each of my feeds and that way I can check the news in the US, discover what certain SEO experts are saying, and read about my favorite athletes, all in one place."
- Do you use other social media?
"I use Facebook, both professionally and privately. And just two or three days ago I signed up for Pinterest. My girlfriend made me aware of it, I hadn't heard of it. I'm not sure yet how much I'm going to use it, but it is an interesting app. I guess it also depends on how many people I know will also start to use it and start pinning things. But I think that they have a bright future ahead of them, it's a clever app."
- Is there an app that is missing? Something you would love to use but does not exist yet?
"I have a lot of family that I communicate with in Italy. We use Skype, but the language barrier really prevents us from having a great conversation. It would be nice if an app existed that could translate english to another language in real time immediately after the words are entered on the screen. Until then, I guess I'll have to rely on my Learn Italian app to learn the language!"
- What app is an undiscovered gem?
"I would have to say Slacker Radio. I'm not sure its completely undiscovered as lots of people are already using it, but anytime I tell anyone about it, they don't seem to know it exists. It's an absolute must for any music lover. The app allows you to fully customize your radio stations and create playlists with only songs that you want to hear. I use it everyday."
If you want to read more about Jon or AreaVibes, you can go the website!
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