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By Erik Myers
The only problem with a good idea is that there is usually already someone else acting upon it. Lucky enough for Nick Smalling (who currently resides in Carbondale, Colorado), that wasn’t an issue.
“There was no real single place you could go and see what was going on around you as far as nightlife events and music,” he says. “Especially not when you’re out and about.”
So began Where’s The Party At? – A free mobile app available on the iPhone and Android that gives users up-to-date information on parties, concerts, club nights and other nightlife activities taking place in their immediate area. The app’s development and upkeep demands at least six to seven hours a day from Smalling; a time commitment he hopes will decrease as more promoters and musicians create accounts to post up their own activities.
Getting the wheels rolling wasn’t easy, especially since Smalling was a newcomer to the game and lacked experience in creating mobile technology. Smalling pitched the idea to a swath of development companies, eventually going with Mutual Mobile, a development firm based in Austin, Texas.
“I came to find out that if I had chosen a smaller company, I probably would’ve saved a lot of money,” he says of the price tag. “In the end, I spent somewhere in the range of $70,000 in cash and put two years of labor into it. I wasn’t expecting that much.”
The app is almost everything Smalling wanted it to be: a “cut-and-dry” app that hosts advertising (so Smalling can keep it available for free) but without the bureaucratic tendencies that come with Facebook and Twitter, such as featured events and posts.
“Your event has to speak for itself,” Smalling says. “If you have a good event with good music, you have a much better chance that people will find out about it.”
Smalling says the app has caught on in Denver, and other cities are following suit. So far, Where’s The Party At? has had over 7,500 downloads on the Android, 2,200 downloads on the iPhone and is averaging around 11,000 unique visitors to its mobile site per month.
Among the ideas he has for future development, Smalling is working on a platform that would allow users to purchase tickets through the app. He’s also eyeing a notification system for promoters so they can communicate directly with attendees, as well as a video feature that would allow events to be streamed live through the app.For those looking to develop their own mobile magic, Smalling says non-disclosure agreements are key when shopping an idea around.
“There are so many mobile apps and so many people looking to do it that until you actually have the means, people will copy you.”
And as far as the shopping itself, he suggests taking one’s time and getting hooked up with a good web developer.
“Find a company you’re comfortable with,” Smalling says. “You’ll find that a lot of companies are better at some things than others.”
Find out more about Where’s the Party At? by visiting wheresthepartyatapp.com, or find them on Facebook.