Picture this: you’re standing at the corner of Lorimer & something in 20-degree January weather. It’s Friday night and you’re trying to get to a bar before all the happy hours end. Your friends are getting cranky, so you give in and head to the nearest generic, overpriced Williamsburg gastropub.
Another night out, another wasted opportunity to try the best Brooklyn has to offer.
Enter Postcard. The new app, launching at the end of January, is set to bring a localized social platform to the city filled with too many options and not enough time for decisions.
“Where platforms are failing is in local discovery,” co-founder Danny Matthews told me. “If you ask someone ‘let’s grab a beer,’ the anxiety of finding a place nearby is mounted. As a New Yorker, you wanna walk into a place with confidence when taking friends there.”
What Matthews and his co-founder Giancarlo Roma—both born and raised New Yorkers—want to eliminate is the long-winded process of hastily Googling and Yelping tried and true places, as well as that new bistro you’ve been meaning to check out.
“We’re trying to bring all those bookmarked places from other platforms—like Foursquare and Yelp—and helping you make your own database of places you like,” Matthews said.
And if you’ve lived in Brooklyn long enough, you’d agree that most of us don’t exactly put too much effort into our social outings, and end up winging it at our local around the corer. As Postcard co-founder Roma puts it: “The research we’ve done shows that most people don’t plan their nights beforehand, and so they end up having to look up where to go next.”
Which, as we’ve all come to know and loathe, can become quite a disaster.
Matthews points out that quickly searching “best bars Brooklyn” isn’t effective because in this city, things are constantly changing, with new openings and closings practically every week.
And so the core problem that Postcard—which currently boasts 30K users in beta—is meant to fix is answering your thought: “I know a lot of people out in Williamsburg tonight, but have no idea where to go.”
Postcard is picking up where other platforms have failed consumers. The co-founders believe that all the generated content is useful but it’s not being utilized correctly on a hyperlocal level.
“Most platforms are out of touch with what this underserved generation wants when it comes to socializing,” Matthews said. “We know other platforms have tried doing this, but no one has succeeded at the local discovery space.”
And so the way Postcard works is that the app takes any piece of social media content that’s being posted, filters it into the platform in order or most recent, and voila! It’s like having a camera in every bar or restaurant without actually installing one.
The algorithm also creates a location-based heat map for the user, showing all the areas in the city with the most current activity. You can even zoom in as close as three blocks to check out specific venues. And with the social aspect showing you which of your friends are nearby, it’s the perfect way to discover the city on the go.
Basically, you never run the risk of walking into a dead dive when you’re looking to party, or vice versa, find yourself at a bumping rave during a romantic night out.
And don’t forget about dining. With Brooklyn going through a food renaissance at the moment, there’s no shortage of options for foodies. But where to start? Sometimes consulting critics reviews and filtered Instagram photos is too overwhelming, which Matthews and Roma are hoping to ease with Postcard.
“As a New Yorker, I have so many options that if I have just an “OK” meal, I’m livid! Why get a second rate experience if you don’t have to?” Matthews told us.
It’s true. Spending your hard-earned dollars at a mediocre restaurant is downright unacceptable with all that Brooklyn’s got to offer. We’re spoiled for choice, and we should take advantage of it.
“We started Postcard here because it’s the greatest city in the world, and it’s not a ‘one horse town,’ which is makes it the perfect place to start a platform like this,” Roma explained.
This makes it useful for overwhelmed visitors planning their trip here, but Roma said that what Postcard is really after are the residents trying to keep up with the scene.
And if you’re worried about being bombarded with paid-for ads and sponsored spots, rest assured that Postcard isn’t planning on flooding its feed with them because “it’s meant to be accurate, more so than about curating,” Roma said.
“The venues who want to be promoted will have to give something back to the consumer,” Matthews said of their business model. “We’d never work with a place that pays us if we don’t believe in it.”
For those looking for curated lists of bars and restaurants, that’s not what Postcard is set out to do (they’ll leave that job to professional critics).
“We don’t augment any of the data, we allow the users to make the decision themselves,” Matthews explained. “It’s not about promoting the hippest bar in Williamsburg, it’s about giving you options with democratic presentation—think of it as the new, high tech word-of-mouth.”