Thursday, July 9, 2009

Authenticity 201

Last night I read about an iPhone app called Trapster. See here for a review. This application is part of a bigger offering designed to help people who - purely as a hobby - like to know where there are police, red light cameras or other law enforcement tools designed to catch drivers violating the law.

As a lover of law and order, I often like to know where such bulwarks against the decay of Western civilization might be found. So I downloaded the app. I also created an account on their website. There are all sorts of options you can set. Trapster can send you SMS messages to warn you. They can push warnings to your iPhone. They can send you emails... You can select a particular geographic area that is relevant to you and the days and times that you'd like to receive warnings.

I love the concept of this service. But I found the website a bit too complex. I sent a few questions to the company and they responded pretty quickly with an answer. The response came from At the end of my followup email to them (I had more questions), I offered a bit of feedback about their website and a suggestion on how they might improve it. I got another quick response - also from - that I thought was totally cool. Here is the text of that response:

"Hi Adam, I agree our Website is a disaster, we're completely re-doing it. Luckily no-one visits it! :-) Seriously ... we have over a million mobile users and only 45K or so visits a month to the site. 5%!"

And after this, they answered my question succinctly and with a helpful link.

I was so impressed by this that I wanted to blog about it. But I didn't want to let both of the people who read my blog know that Trapster has a bad website. I didn't want to reward their authenticity and coolness by trashing them online.

So I sent a note back asking if it was OK to write about their email. This time, I got a response from which is the email address of Pete Tenereillo, Trapster's Founder and CEO. Pete's response: "Absolutely - go crazy!"

I don't know Pete. I have no idea how old he is or how experienced he is. I don't know if he's an 18 year old entrepreneur or a 50 year old seasoned exec. And I don't care. Pete is a real person. He's honest. He's responsive. He's got a good offering and doesn't feel the need to puff it up with corporate blather.

So kudos to Pete. Now go check out Trapster. It works better if more people use it because it relies on users to report the locations of these very important law enforcement tools.

Oh, and don't speed or run red lights.

Or jaywalk.

Heck, don't do anything wrong.

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