App users will have an opportunity receive discounts from restaurants, salons, apparel and retail stores, entertainment venues, and other businesses listed in “The Street Pass App.” Additionally, app users can also RSVP for events of their choice.
McWilliams has worked with AT&T Wireless, Fudruckers, The Detroit Grand Prix (IMG Motor sports), the Star Theaters, Grand Marnier, Gregory Terrell & Associates, and others.
Michigan Chronicle: Where did the idea for “The Street Pass App” come from? How long has it been in the works?
Andre McWilliams: I have always paid close attention to technology. I’ve known that sooner or later, we’d be using mobile devices to do more than talk to each other, and I’ve been working on the “Street Pass” membership card for a few years; however, the challenge was how to deliver the content. At first, it was via the Web. I would go to events, take photos, and collect e-mail addresses. I would then send out e-mails telling people where to view their picture. Great idea, right?
MC: In what way does the app “engage people where they live, work and play”?
AW: Our phones are an intricate part of our lives. Everyone has one, some people have two. If you leave your wallet at home, you might agonize over whether you can make it through the day or not. However, if you leave your phone, you’ll probably be late.
The “live, work and play” slogan that has been used at various organizations, including the Downtown Partnership and people like Dan Gilbert. It’s about making Detroit a place where people want to live, work, and play, and with the “Street Pass” app, we want to promote that engagement. If you’re at work, and you want to plan an off-site meeting, or an after work affair, the app can help you. If you’re at home, you can find a cool place to eat or shop. If you’re looking to have a little fun, search for events at various venues such as the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, as well as community and charity events, “Street Pass” can help you. The app promotes the city.
MC: What were the challenges of putting this together? What lessons did you learn from the experience?
AW: The challenges are many, but mainly, financial. It is hard finding investors who will put their money on something that they don’t understand. I proposed a concept for a website to WJLB after Mason invited me to the station to meet Grant Hill, who had just been signed to the Pistons. Part of the idea was to put a camera in the studio and stream video on the Internet and give each on air personality a web page.
Just producing content for an app can be a full time job. This, like Facebook, is something that will not be profitable until there are enough users that will generate revenue from advertisers. This venture is helping me to learn patience and that I really need a strong team.
MC: There’s plenty of competition out there, particularly in the Apple App Store. What truly sets “The Street Pass App” apart from that competition?
AW: As an app, “The Street Pass” is like most any other app in the market – the functionality of most apps are pretty much the same. However, “The Street Pass” is more like a publication. We will use “The Street Pass App” to enhance consumer interest in areas where buying power exists, but marketing strategies do not. “The Street Pass App” is the first part of a larger engagement. As our user database grows, we will use “The Street Pass App” to create sponsorship opportunities where we will help local business drive traffic sales and generate customer leads.
MC: Who’s your target audience for this product?
AW: The target audience for “The Street Pass App” is the upwardly mobile Detroiter who is open to explore new and different things around town, and looks forward to the revitalization of the city. The demographic is very diverse and targets the entire metro Detroit area. If you carry a smartphone, you’ll think the app is cool.
The Street Pass App is free in the Apple Store for download to the iPhone and through Google play for Android phones and other devices. Businesses can be listed on the Street Pass App for $25.