This is Mark Allewell, the CEO and founder of Hummba. Hummba is a travel app that helps travelers getting to know the area they are visiting by providing audio travel guides. The app was designed to combine travel and social networking with a mobile focus. Many users love the audio format because it allows them to enjoy a location without staring at a book or map to learn about it. You can read the AppAppeal review of Hummba here, it received a 5 out of 5 rating.
Mark is from Capetown, South Africa. In 2005, he started a company called Tourism Radio. That company is focused on a small box, the size of cellphone, that fits in your car. It has GPS and when you are traveling it detects where you are and gives you audio tours about your surroundings. Approximately 2,5 years ago, they realized that it was rather costly to manage all these small boxes and around the same time smartphones like the iPhone became popular and these also had GPS. They then started Hummba, which was specially designed for smartphones.
- What kind of apps do you use?
"We use every single Google web app there is. I use Calendar, Gmail, Analytics, Maps, Docs, Search, and recently, we have moved all of our company shared information over to Google Drive, as we have offices in New Zealand, South Africa and Spain and it makes sharing much easier. We're also a big fan of Dropbox. Funny enough, our whole back-end system uses Dropbox for the guides. Dropbox is one of the big storage apps we use and we've written code that calls all that data into the guides. I use Facebook of course, who doesn't? We use MailChimp. Another great app I use is Cognician. Cognician is a very interesting app. They take static information and they adapt it into what they call 'cogs', or conversational guides. So, for instance, if you want to start a business making pens, you log on to Cognician and load up one of the cogs for new businesses and the cog will ask you all sorts of questions that get you to think about what you need to do to make your pen business a success. Actually, for development of the video we made for Hummba was all done through Cognician. Cognician had a whole bunch of cogs for us and that helped us with the creating of the video. Some of the other web apps I use are Wikipedia (for fact checking), Twitter, LinkedIn, and SlideShare. I use SlideShare a lot. I believe it's one of the better web apps out there. It's especially great when you're doing research. You can search on SlideShare for slide shows about the subject you're researching.'"
- Which devices do you use to run the apps?
"I have an iPhone, an iPad, an HP laptop, and a desktop computer. When I'm traveling, I take my iPhone, iPad, and laptop with me, and out of all of those I use my iPhone the most. I use it for reading the news and to use web apps. For Twitter and Facebook, I just use their mobile web apps, I do not use the downloadable mobile apps, because the settings of these apps are really difficult to go through. As soon as you download the Facebook app, it starts spamming you with notifications of people who've added you or liked something you've posted, and it can be really irritating. So if you log in through the web app, you don't get spammed with notifications, and you can just browse your wall."
- What is your favorite app and why?
"The one that I use the most is Twitter, second is LinkedIn, and third is Facebook. I use LinkedIn to do research on potential contacts or partners. It's a professional app and it's great for contacting people."
- What is the most unusual app you have? Why is it unusual?
"Probably the most stupid app I've got is the flashlight app! Most of the apps I've got are probably slightly boring, since I use all the standard apps. I also download a lot of guides from around the world, because I want to see what other developers are doing."
- Is there an app that is missing? Something you would love to use but does not exist yet?
"For me, there is something missing. This is actually something that will be integrated into Hummba over the next six months. There are lot of location services and lots of apps where you can see where your friends are and other people, so we are building something that is more focused on travelers. You can search for travelers within your area. For instance, if you like to go to museums and to surf, it can show you the travelers in the area over the next three days that are interested in the same sort of things, and then travelers can meet. That's something I'm missing the most. For example, when you go to New York and you're single and you want to have fun, it can be really nice to meet people who like the same things, want to see the same things, and have the same budget."
- What app is an undiscovered gem?
"Cognician is an app that could really take off around the world, Cognician takes a really unique approach to learning by building a conversation around knowledge. So you're like a novice being guided by a master to think in a new way. And the best learning happens that way.
There's also talk about an app that is not live yet, but will be released soon. It is an app that allows you to make money from your emails. The most used app by almost everybody is email, so it is a great opportunity. The app attaches ads to the emails you send out and when the person you sent it to clicks on it, the app shares the revenue with you. Of course, there is the danger of spammers, and they have a long way to go, but I think it's a great idea."
Did you like reading about Mark? You can track him on LinkedIn.
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