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Upward Trends

Story: Elita Marchetti, Design: Bob Craig, Images: Vidhya Jeyadev

Which bar has the best happy hour on campus? What’s the best Jeni’s Ice Cream flavor? What’s the best veue for live music in Columbus? You could search for reviews online all night, but relying on stars and comments from eager reviewers across the nation might not be the most reliable source of information about these pressing issues. Trendendo, a startup created by Ohio State graduates, simplifies the review platform to provide users with only the most important data.

Like most great ideas around campus, the initial idea for Trendendo sparked between two students on The O patio. Instant friends Cameron Laudick and Tyler Stafford, now the founder and Chief Marketing Officer, respectively, let the idea lay dormant for several years after that first memorable conversation, but the Trendendo iOS app launched in July 2016 with the help of a pair of developers, fellow Ohio State graduate Rob Snider and Carnegie Mellon Univerity graduate Ben Madueme.

The basis of the app is simple.

“People love sharing their opinion, and they feel very strongly about what they think,” says Stafford, a Fisher marketing alumnus.

Trendendo contains 13 categories from food to sports and technology and each category contains “cards,” or ranked lists of the best of the best things or places. The user chooses a list they’re eager to voice an opinion in, like “Most Important Political Issue,” and then choose from different options based on their true preferences. On the backend, the app instantaneously creates a ranked list of the items based on how often they are chosen. Currently, the categories and the cards are created internally and are only available in the local areas surrounding Columbus, Cleveland, Denver, Cincinnati, Chicago and Charlotte, where Trendendo partners have a marketable presence. In short, users can create an account no matter where they live, but they can only vote on cards within the “local” feed if they are based in or around one of the pre-loaded cities.

The app also has a strong tie to social interaction. By dividing cards into global, local and ‘friend’ feeds, you can easily connect with people in your area or your immediate social group.

“We give you the ability to enjoy time with your friends more by spurring you in conversation and inciting debate,” says Stafford. “It’s a really quick peer-to-peer reviewed answer.”

Trendendo differentiates itself from other review platforms like
Yelp by centralizing this peer-reviewed data in a straightforward and tidy area. Eliminating the comment feature commonly seen on review sites also keeps the app’s focus on the facts – simply what people like – and leaves out the inherent bias that comes with freeform commenting

As this is just the beginning, the future holds big plans for Trendendo. The developers are currently working to include more user-generated content to personalize the user experience. By incorporating an add and delete function on cards, the app will rely less on internally generated content and narrow the focus even more towards what its users want to see. They also hope to include a feature that allows users to look back on how a ranking has trended over time and track user preferences. By overlaying news stories into the app, people can gain an understanding of how and why consumer tastes have trended the way they have.

“Right now it’s really about mastering the concept, understanding if there’s some proof of concept there, seeing what our users like, and then expanding as necessary from there,” says Stafford.

Like what you see? Trendendo is looking for a third iOS developer. Email for more info.

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