Mobilization and Events

Real-World Choose Your Own Adventure App: a Q&A with Ethos Adventure’s Laura Baker

487932_484849414897327_2101791750_nHave you ever found yourself in the midst of an exciting adventure, but unaware of your next move? Perhaps the monotony of the daily grind has you dreaming of day in the sun, but you can’t quite find time to plan that refreshing break? Laura Baker, founder of Ethos Adventures, has an answer to your plight.

Introducing the Choose Your Own Adventure Mobile App. Turn your cell phone into an adventure guide with this revolutionary new concept from Ethos Adventures.

Compelling, right?

I caught up with Laura Baker to get the ins and outs of this profound application:

Alec Ross: Describe the basic functionality of this app.
Laura Baker: 
Basically, the apps that are available like urban scavenger hunt, or more extreme sport apps track mileage or trails. But our app is a combination of the two. Once downloaded, all available locations will be seen. You can select one, purchase it, and get going. It will start off with questions like “Land or Sea”, and these decisions will prompt further instruction.

AR: When did you recognize a need for this app?
I started Ethos Adventures with this basic idea in mind: The coolest thing about an adventure is the variability of the day. Things are going to go wrong, but adventuring is about rolling with it. When I started the company, I thought, “How do you plan an adventure?” So I started with paper copies that guide people through their adventurers. But a digital application was the goal all along. I want to take adventuring to the next level. No booking, just adventurer, that’s an exciting feeling.

AR: Adventuring is a bonding experience, how will this app increase the camaraderie of the group experience?
I think this app works both for the individual and the group. When you’re out on your own, you’re not really out on your own. The app is there with you. But the app works perfectly well in groups. You’re their, with your friends, and you all get to enjoy the benefits of this digital guide.  One of my clients said the best part of an adventure is the surprise. Going through those unsure experiences, making decisions like “land or sea” really increases the group experience.

AR: Is this app limited to just mountaineering or hiking?
Not at all, the possibilities are endless. The app will have options- let’s call them “themes”- that you can select. For example, there’ll be an “explorer challenge” theme, where the adventurer can hike and explore our nation’s parks.  Then there’ll be “the physical challenge” which would included mountain hiking, surf lessons, or things that will really push you. Also, there will be a “mental escape” theme which would focus more on the serenity of things like yoga on the beach, a slow kayak trip in the bay, or a walk through a mediation garden. It’s hard to give a really great example, because each adventure will be so location focused, but that’s the beauty of it.

AR: What are the options available to the user?
No two adventurers experience will be the same. Because our decision based model, the adventurer can modify his experience real time, creating a truly unique adventure. I can read a million different reviews of a trail, but you never know if it is any good. The beauty of this decision based model, is that everything will be custom shaped by the user, so you know it’ll be good.

AR: How intimately does the app engage the adventurer? Is it turn by turn, GPS style, or suggested route based?
It will have GPS, turn by turn navigation in place where you have phone service. But we want to set it up for functionality on or off cellular networks. It’ll take you through how to get somewhere and what to do once you get there. When you’re ready for the next step, it’ll take you there. We want to integrate it with social media too. On your adventure, you can snap a picture and share with friends, making this app community based.

AR: I understand that the current prototype is limited to California, when will a more comprehensive, nationwide, app be available?
I would love to have at least five locations out in the first year. But we anticipate having several more than that; it’s all dependent on development. People that contribute will be able to vote on these locations, which will include places all over the country.

AR: What work needs to be done to get this app in the hands of the adventurer?
I have an app developer lined up ready to go when we have the funds, but I need to do some really intensive location scouting to assure a quality adventure for people. We hope to have it available by 2014.

AR: How can the adventurer help?
Contributing to our fundraising goal is a great start, but sharing it and getting the word out is just as important. Ethos Adventures has an active Facebook page in which we constantly get feedback from fans. This participation really helps. After we have funds raised, another great thing would be suggestions of local hot spots like kayak rental companies or places that you have seen that you think other people would benefit from.

Follow up on the progress of Choose Your Own Adventure App here.

Written by Alec Ross.