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Social Songbird Exclusive: Interview with Maurice Schill - Creator of Whoop World

Photo Courtesy of Maurice Schill

The face of social media is changing. No longer the refuge you travel to when you get home to bridge the gap between being alone and being with company, now platforms are encouraging people to get out there and stay active. Photography and video have become more prevalent, mobile, app-based platforms are far more popular and new platforms are far more focused on one particular function.

So it is with Whoop World, the upcoming app being developed by Maurice Schill and his team. The basic set up is simple: if you're out and about and see something you think other people would be interested in checking out, you post it and a map marker is created, showing you where to go, but only for a limited time. "the idea was to develop an app to help you see who’s around and who is down to chill." Maurice tells me, "it’s great if you’re having a good time by yourself but really you want people there with you to experience it and that’s what really inspired me to use the map format to give people the opportunity to say ‘hey, I found something great here, it’s awesome, come check it out’ in a real time way."


It's a very appealing idea, with mobile mapping technology becoming more advanced practically by the day, finding ways of repurposing it to help people interact with the world around them are invaluable.

"You can inspire yourself by finding out what other people are doing around you. It’s all about encouraging people to active, having a positive state of mind and sharing it. I’ve read a lot of philosophical material about happiness, about how we define it and what it means and the general consensus is that it’s down to who we are, our perspective and what we’re given." Maurice explains. "With Whoop I want to help make people’s days better, to help them facilitate a more positive state of mind."

Maurice is in firm belief that much of the social media landscape is just too general. "If I go on my Facebook wall I can scroll down it basically forever but it’s just procrastination, none of it is particularly useful, like even if you see some event happening it might be in America and you’ll be like ‘Oh, that’s nice, but what can I do with it?’"

It's a point I agree with, but Maurice isn't the only person to notice, the newer, increasingly more popular platforms seem to already be migrating away from that format. Maurice is particularly interested in Snapchat.

"Snapchat interests us because this whole idea of making content ephemeral has really caught on, people don’t want to have images in folders somewhere that they’re never going to look at again.. It’s kind of the same principle with Whoop, if we can keep the information on there relevant by broadcasting it in real time, that will keep things from getting cluttered. It allows you to make decisions on the go." He says. "If you have no plan, you can quickly make one, like if you’re heading somewhere downtown and you get a notification telling you that 20 meters away there’s a happy hour which you could go and check out it’s down to you to make the decision, but it’s a spontaneous one."

By this point I was already sold on the idea, especially since it seems like something particularly useful to tourists looking for some local insight into things to do. Maurice himself has a very international background and that heavily factored into the inspiration for Whoop World, along with his chosen subject of study: engineering.

"I’m studying industrial design engineering, it’s a new course with a focus on open innovation, it’s all based around what the user needs and making it a viable business. It’s mainly physical products, rather than apps, which is why I’ve been developing Whoop on the side, but the philosophy is certainly applicable to it. I think a lot of it comes from seeing how people live around the world, I feel like I have this responsibility to give back and make people’s lives easier, not just in Europe but across the world."


This kind of well intended method certainly bodes well, and I'm assured that the app is in the final stages of development and due to go into the live testing phase later in June.

"For the first few months, depending on what the uptake is like, we’re going to start in Amsterdam because it’s such a lively, active city, an ideal place to prove that the concept works. Once that’s done it will be very easy to expand. The app itself will be designed in a very international way so there’s minimal text, it’s all based around icons and logos. We’re hoping to implement a translate function so that tourists can see what’s going on in their native language." Maurice explains, excitedly. "The developers took the basic Apple API platform for the map and they used that as the visual background that you’ll see when you open up the app.We will develop a more comprehensive, stronger infrastructure for worldwide use, but that will be once the official app is launched. We want to make the map as quick and responsive as possible so you’re not waiting around for the information to come through."

In terms of promotion, the team have been talking with venues in the Hague (and plan to do likewise in Amsterdam) and encouraging them to promote Whoop World in return for better exposure on the app, if they get involved, their establishment's name will appear in posts, rather than just an address. As far as encouraging users to use the app more extensively, the word of the day is gamification.

"If you post something you get a set number of points, and if someone then likes your Whoop you’re given more allocated time for your post to stay active, as well as extra points. If you’re Whooping all around a specific area and you have the most points out of anyone else around you, you’re basically the king of that particular area, which is a way to get people to be more calculated about it, rather than just posting random stuff every now and again. It encourages people to move around a lot, because if you only Whoop in one area, even if you have the most points, you’re still confined to that one place. For some people it will be competitive, for others it will be a nice way of seeing where you’ve been and what you’ve done."

If you follow the Whoop World Facebook page, you can keep up to date on things in the run up to the first launch. The most interesting promotion they have planned is the 'faces of happiness' campaign, which will be a series of vox pops of people talking about the nature of happiness, as well as making silly faces, obviously. This is one of the most interesting platforms currently in the pipeline and even talking to Maurice about it for half an hour got me pretty excited.

"I think there’s a lot of effort that’s going into bridging the gap between virtual reality and the real world, as a means of translating online information into something we can use in real time." He says, as we start wrapping up. "Whoop is something really easy to use and if it’s used for posting and sharing as much as discovering then there’s a lot of possibilities for what we can do."

Callum Davies

Callum is a film school graduate who is now making a name for himself as a journalist and content writer. His vices include flat whites and 90s hip-hop. Follow him @CallumAtSMF

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Social Songbird Exclusive: Interview with Maurice Schill - Creator of Whoop World Reviewed by Unknown on Thursday, June 04, 2015 Rating: 5

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