André Woodley Jr.

founder. engineer. creative.

4 Bets in Consumer Apps

Here are four bets I am making within consumer markets moving forward. Successful execution such as privacy, user adoption, and technological maturity in another post, let's proceed for now:

1. Location Based Social Apps

I've been working within this space for nearly my entire 14+ years of tech and now it seems like things are catching up to what was being worked on years ago. 

We carry our identities online and I believe we will see the merge between our offline and online identity within our physical spaces. 70% of Gen Z share their location compared to only 7% of Millennials. There are  more location based apps release, nothing good enough to mention but it's happening. If the past repeats itself there will be a massive shift in this area driven by an older Gen Z driving adoption between younger Gen Z and Millennials, similar to Facebook college driving adoption among the younger and order crowds. 

Current major social media platforms will not be able to compete because one they are millennial driven (antiquated), two it's not map/location based as its core - location is only a feature. I think out of the current major social media platforms Snap is best to win. Snapchat's Map is the biggest opportunity right now in this space if Evan can start taking more risks in this area.

2. Virtual Assistants

So far 2024 has been all about AI Agents and for sure its great but the goal is to get to Jarvis from Ironman and that is an ai virtual assistant. I'd argue an AI agent on steroids for consumer would be a virtual assistant. If AI Agents are like websites of early dot com Virtual Assistants are like search engines parsing and identifying the right website (AI Agent) based on the query. Who ever gets this right will will among consumers similar to how Google won for nearly 25+ years. 

Imagine if Siri was the new App Store and the apps were AI Agents - these AI agents would be selected by Siri increasing Siri's functionality and effectiveness creating the ultimate Virtual Assistant. Specifically one for free. 

Sam Altman said the thing he worries about is the speed of adoption to AI and its capabilities. Adoption and understanding can be significantly increased with the ability everyone can have a virtual assistant for free.

3. Vertical Social Network Platform

There is a trend among individuals, businesses, and influencers building communities both for profit and free. Social media has created ways to subscribe however they are one-to-many. I predict social networks with many-to-many will be the wave, creating stickiness, real connections and relationships. These social networks connect people on commonality and building features for this. Apps and online Games like FishBowl for professionals and Discord/Twitch for gaming are examples where its vertical and many-to-many.

As an engineer I am pitched by many trying to build these networks from scratch and that's where platforms come in, giving people the ability to leverage existing tools to build their vertical network.

4. Voice First Applications 

One day we will be able to instantly communicate without speaking or typing, but things like Neuralink are not yet complete. We speak and share body language and facial expressions as the most effective way to communicate. 

We substitute this with text however miscommunication occurs which is why emoji's and memes are effective - adding flavor to a bland style of communicating. I believe the best form of communication when convenient is voice and the cost of voice in tech combined with text using speech-to-text is reducing. 

Naval's AirChat is really a pioneer in combining speech and text making it accessible to use both or either-or. I wouldn't be surprised if AirChat like messaging is in every communication app moving forward (iMessage, social media etc). There are other apps like Clubhouse as well but we are in the infant stages where cost is getting more effective due to a race to the bottom pricing.

Ordering apps like Dominos where ui going through the UI takes longer than just saying what you want. I working within this space I saw it first hand, 10x faster and it will be cost effective as reliable speech-to-text models can go offline.

Quick Thought

Looking at history we don't scrap the old ways - rather we build on top of it. All innovation produces new obstacles aka opportunities. We became more connected but more lonely living more on-screen instead of real life.