The People That You Meet,
When You’re Readin’ All Yer Tweets
I have to say that since immersing myself in the Twitterverse, I’ve met a lot of cool people. One of these cool people is Beau Frusetta, who is a fellow geek with a pretty awesome website that helps people discover cool date locations in their hometown.
I sat down with Beau to talk about his project, DateDesigner.com.
d20DreamGirl: Well, first off, my readers will want to know what makes you a card-carrying geek.
Beau: well – I’ve been doing software development for about 12 years now
Beau: started my career off as a database developer, got deep in to database development and architecture, then broke off in to web development…and its been a blur ever since…if I’m not doing anything, I’m usually hacking away on some other new acronym that is released, like PHP, CSS, HTML, etc, that seems to be coming out on a daily basis…
Beau: I’m a gamer, but I don’t do role playing games – I’m big in to racing games (I have a full on racing/seat/chassis/wheel/pedals)… and I’m big into war games…
Beau: AND – I’m being auctioned off in a “Sweet on Geeks” bachelor auction tomorrow night for charity… Storm trooper suits optional…
Beau: heavily involved in the development community and actively participate in many geek conventions like startup weekend, podcamp, tweet-ups, etc…
Beau: and lastly – my license plate on my truck says it all…WEBN3RD
d20DreamGirl: I’ve always wanted the vanity plate – OMG WTF
d20DreamGirl: but I hear they won’t allow that
Beau: I know a network admin that has HTTP403 on his Lotus – “HTTP/Forbidden” HAHAHAHAH
d20DreamGirl: Nice. So what makes a geek wake up in the morning and say, “I think I wanna make a website full of date ideas?”
Beau: After my divorce about 4 years ago, I began to date a lot – and lets face it, guys SUCK at coming up with creative ideas most of the time…
Beau: I would search for date ideas online, but they were far too vague
Beau: “walk in the park”, “picnic lunch”, blah blah blah…I needed something SPECIFIC, and oddly, everyone I had talked to wanted something specific as well….
Beau: I figured, why isn’t there a site out there that allows people to find and share date ideas that are specific…a place where people can go and find date ideas that are local to them…and then BAM…the idea came to me to create DateDesigner.com
Beau: I figured I could build a site with a simple concept of finding venues, wrapping those venues up in a “date”, giving the person inputting the information the ability to give it a description, then show that information on a map and make it searchable by location…
Beau: I had the idea for 3 years before I finally pitched it to the right people, GangplankHQ.com, and they put some seed money up and told me to build it in 30 days and they would help with the marketing and any other advice that I needed since my expertise was in web development, not sales/marketing/pr/etc…
Beau: so here I am now, about 6 months after launch, and people are using it!!!
Beau: its all very exciting.. LOL
d20DreamGirl: Seems it! What cities have the most dates right now and which cities are you looking to build up?
Beau: Right now, the metro area that is most popular is Phoenix, AZ, because lets face it, we’re based here, and my immediate reach is within the metro area I live in…but I am looking to immediately branch out to Los Angeles, San Francisco, Miami, New York, Chicago, and Boston….
Beau: The ultimate plan is to reach as many of the popular metro areas in the country and sprawl out from there…but I’ve got to get a base set of dates in those popular areas first before the sprawl can happen because the users of my site get detracted easily if there isn’t any familiar content…for instance, if you were looking for a date in Winston/Salem, NC, but found something in Charlotte, chances are that you probably have heard of the place and are more likely to stay on the site and put some dates in from around your community…at least that’s what I think…when sites can connect with you like that, I think the likelyhood of a return user is greater…I just have to “prove” that…
d20DreamGirl: So what types of dates can people find on the site?
Beau: People can find romantic dates, fun dates, first dates, adventurous dates, holiday themed dates, etc…basically, I tried to cover the bases with the categories, and a date could fall in to one or more categories and the users are allowed to tag the dates in to multiple categories when building a date to share with everyone else…
d20DreamGirl: If someone signs up to submit dates to your site, will their email address be used for anything else?
Beau: No, we don’t sell email addresses – we only use their email address for login and to send out any updates to the site, which aren’t like some sites that seem like they spam you DAILY…when big updates happen, or if we’re moving in to new territories…I use email to communicate that to my users…because maybe they submitted some feedback and their idea was chosen as one to develop and now their idea is live on the site….definitely want to communicate that out…community is what its all about…and when someone feels like they are a part of something, its always a good thing…unless its a drug ring they are being indicted on or something, then that could be a bad thing… LOL
d20DreamGirl: So is this site 100% free? Any plans on bombarding us with annoying ads or subscription fees?
Beau: there are plans for a small set of ads, because I have to make SOME money on the site, however, for users, the site is 100% free. There are plans in the works for a premium service where if the user wants us to design the date for them, I will charge a small fee and one of my date designers will design a custom date just for them based on a list of interests of all parties attending the date…
Beau: but believe me…I am very anti-ads…and I’m trying to stick with the “less is more” concept as much as possible…I like sites I develop to be super clean and not cluttered, and too many ads definitely is the opposite of that…
d20DreamGirl: Do you ever have any contests or incentives for people to submit their ideas?
Beau: We recently had a “design the best valentine’s day date” contest and the winner received a $100 visa gift card…the other winner for the most active user won a $50 gift card…I’m thinking of doing a most active user contest every month and have bigger contests around different holidays and events that are happening in different markets.
Beau: the definition of most active user would be the person that submits the most dates and comments on the most dates…
Beau: I think I’m going to gear the prizes towards actual venues to get the venues active on the site as well…it’ll be a win win since the venue will be gaining exposure, the site will be getting more users, and the winner will get a free meal to help cover the cost of an awesome date idea they found on DateDesigner.com
d20DreamGirl: That sounds pretty cool. So what’s been the craziest date idea you’ve seen so far?
Beau: we haven’t had anything too crazy just yet, but there are some really adventurous people out there…there was one date that a user designed for a local news anchor that included waking up way too early (you know, prior to 10am), getting coffee, then hiking, then the spa, then finish off at a nice little cave creek restaurant…I’m not that adventurous, but I’m sure there are plenty of people out there that are!
Geek friends, head over to DateDesigner.com and put in your favorite local date locations. If you’re not quite that bold, comment on some of the dates already posted. If you’re extra wimpy, just go read. I’ll forgive you… just this once.