I thought I’d seen it all. Wolfpack app is a new mobile-centered, social network that helps guys connect with like-minded buddies around interests and events. When the news of Wolfpack’s debut landed in my inbox, I initially disregarded it as yet another “bro” app. I live in Silicon Valley where bro culture is a widely recognized problem. Too many of these bros after all are blamed for the lack of diversity and respect in startups among many other things that we can discuss later. But this isn’t yet another bro app by bros I quickly realized. It’s all about the bromance and quite honestly, real world friendships. Imagine that?
Nile Niami, a movie producer turned app developer, was inspired to create Wolfpack by a friend who was recently divorced. According to Niami, his friend was married for 20 years and lost track of all his old school friends. But what really struck me about the app was the tech, what it could ultimately mean, and also the ability for the app, though invisible to the user, to align geo-location, mobile, moments and interest graphs to build a series of hyper-localized nicheworks aka social networks based on interests in real-time. I realize this paragraph is full of buzzwords. Said another way, Wolfpack works like Foursquare for friendships and occasions.
Once the app is installed, Wolfpack asks users to select interests and hobbies. Then based on location, the app suggests upcoming events or offers the ability for users to create their own. At first pass, for example, I found several relevant bar nights, game days, softball and basketball pickups, and yes, even movie nights. The app also does its thing to connect me to potential friends and also upcoming events.
I travel pretty much all the time. And when I’m home, I’m usually working on my next research or book project. Something like this makes sense when I want to catch a San Francisco Giants or 49ers game, local music or a concert by my favorite and secretly favorite artists. Even though I have local friends, they’re not always available. And, they’re definitely not hanging out wherever I may be traveling. Furthermore, there are some things I like to do things locally that my best friends would rather not, although they sometimes indulge me, such as riding motorcycles, driving old cars and pursuing the Bay Area’s best cheeseburger.
While there are several existing networks and apps, the promise of Wolfpack is that it facilitates momentary friendships that offer realistic shots at longer-term friendships.
Though focused on dudes, the platform could be re-purposed for any interest-based nichework. And, this is what really interests me.
Path, founded by Dave Morin, once tried to limit connections to Dunbar’s famously misinterpreted number of 150 friends rather than Facebook’s cap of 5,000. Although it limited the number of ties, Path still focused on the social graph rather than true interest graphs. Wolfpack though represents a new genre of hyper-focused apps that attempt to put the social back in social networking—at least in the real world anyway. I honestly hope to see, and use, more apps connect us with people who can enhance our real world relationships even if it’s through digital means.