Thirst is Shutting Down
Today we are extremely sad to announce that Thirst will be shutting down.
We appreciate all the support and feedback we have received over the past months and years from our investors, advisors, friends & family, and users of our apps.
This has been an extremely gratifying journey for us to build an app that so many used daily to keep up to date with the things they care about. We have immensely enjoyed interacting with so many of you from within the app and on Twitter/Facebook. Please reach out to us if you have any questions/concerns at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Anuj and Kunal
March Madness 2013!
If you want to relive March Madness 2013, Thirst has you covered!
Check out this data visualization and see the winners of each game fill up the bracket. The sizes of the school names change with respect to their popularity at the given time.
You can find the time along with the date at the top right of the page. Pause to get a snapshot of the results, or fast forward to see who advances to the next round. There’s also a progress bar at the bottom so that you can keep track of where you are and jump around to a specific time.
As the bracket fills in, you will see the most popular March Madness articles found on Thirst slide across the bottom of the page.
It’s and fun and easy way to experience all of the best moments and see who was being talked about most in this year’s tournament!
The Thirst Cafe Project
We brought the Thirst Cafe Project to South by Southwest 2013!
We had a simple idea in mind - Recreate the coffee shop experience:
- The coffee shop has always been a great place to catch up on the news.
- Newspapers are outdated as soon as you pick one up.
- Thirst gets you the latest and most popular stories filtered down, just like your favorite brew, to what’s meaningful to you.
We frequent the coffee shop for many reasons. Grabbing a cup of joe is probably the first thing that comes to mind, but it’s also a great place to catch up on the news. In almost every aspect, coffee shops have modernized—from the way the beans are brewed, to how you pay for that quick drip. Yet, reading a newspaper seems so archaic in this contemporary setting. Therefore, why not improve that aspect of the coffee shop experience as well.
So that’s what we did!
We partnered with Caffe Medici (http://caffemedici.com/) to set up Thirst throughout their cool and classy shop found right in the heart of downtown Austin, TX. They connected us with Parker Case (http://soon.parkerca.se/), another local gem, who created these sleek and stylish customized cases.
Finally, for the first time ever, people were able to enjoy their favorite brew alongside Thirst and read news that was…new.
ANNOUNCEMENT: Thirst Now Available on a New Platform!
After our successful launch of Thirst on iPhone, iPad, and the web, we are finally ready for our next big move!
Before we make the announcement, let’s take a step back, and fill you in on how we came to this decision. Our team took a long, hard look at ourselves – the goal in mind: change the way we consume information.
We started by discussing the problems that the news industry, and society as a whole, faces. We also held a break dancing competition, and debated the benefits of foam over spring mattresses. In the end, we settled on a plan. The plan was to go to a bar and come up with a plan there. After a few rounds of drinks and some nachos with questionable meat; it was at that moment that inspiration, or perhaps the nachos, struck. The idea was to release Thirst on a new platform – PRINT!
Yes, Thirst is finally ready to announce an actual Thirst Newspaper!
How will we do it you ask? We reached out to some of the best and brightest minds of our day, they all said no, but a class of 5th grade students decided to take on the challenge. They were excited about our vision, and about the ice cream we promised. We told them that we wanted to harness their talent, energy, and assortment of crayons to write up the print version our app.
You may be thinking, how can these kids, excuse me, how can these thought-leaders keep up with the constant changes and updates in the news that our app is so seamlessly able to display? Simple, we also bought them color pencils.
Why the newspaper as our third platform you might ask? Why not Android or even freaking Windows phone, you might wonder? From extensive research (talking to the barista at Starbucks), we’ve realized that newspapers still remain first, sure first as America’s fastest shrinking industry (http://bit.ly/16sigV2), but first is still first in our book.
Many have questioned our decision-making; many more have questioned our intelligence. But did the naysayers stop Edison when he was poised to revolutionize our way of life by inventing the light bulb? Or did the critics stop Samuel W. Francis in his quest to change the way we eat when he came up with the spork (half spoon/half fork)? Simply put, no.
We have been told to stop and smell the roses, but wasn’t it the great philosopher, Samuel “Screech” Powers that said, “I smelled the roses once and a bee flew up my nose.”
We hope you enjoy the latest and greatest version of Thirst!
Happy April Fools Day everyone!
The Aggregator Formerly Known as Google Reader
What led to Google Reader’s inevitable demise, and what this means about the future of news consumption
Remember that band you used to love, you know the one that had all the greatest hits, “classics” as my friends and I would call them. Then one day, out of nowhere, the band broke up. Irreconcilable differences, they would say. What the heck does that mean!? You couldn’t seem to understand what would cause these groups to do such a thing; did the phrase “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” ever enter their minds? The members would then part ways to work on their solo projects, or sometimes the bands would bring on replacements whose names you refused to learn. And you and I both know their new albums just weren’t the same, and more often than not, you didn’t even bother to listen. They became a shell of their former self, and all you could think about was why did this have to happen!?
On March 13, Google announced their decision to shut down Google Reader. But the truth is, the band broke up on October 20, 2011 when Google decided to remove the social features that made Google Reader so freaking awesome. What fans have been using since then was just the “Aggregator formerly known as Google Reader.”
Sarah Perez from TechCrunch chronicled her disdain for the breakup back when it was announced (http://tinyurl.com/3lz2y2x). She lamented over what Google failed to value — content curation from friends. Google removed the social features of Google Reader in an effort to drive users over to Google+ as the sole place to discover, share, and discuss. However, instead of killing off the organic social network that was Google Reader in order to promote a forced social network that is Google+, they instead should’ve built Google+ on top of what they had with the original Google Reader.
You need content to share; Facebook has been fortunate that its users are creating their own content, most notably, images. This is why the Instagram acquisition has been so valuable. Simply put, pictures are popular and people love sharing and consuming them. News is no different.
New social networks look and feel cooler than ever, with their sleek design and clever user experience; there is no doubt that there have been significant advancements in this realm. However, new social networks face one fundamental problem that even the best hacker can’t solve, getting people to share (http://tinyurl.com/a5ejzkh). Now if you’re already delivering content to people who are seeking to consume it just as Google Reader was, sharing becomes much, much easier.
The goal of a smart RSS reader is to filter out the good from the bad. News apps have done a great job of sifting through this mess as well as offering personalized content based on your interests. But there’s a lot to be said about what Digg, Reddit, and the original Google Reader did – instead of relying solely on intelligent computer programs to provide recommendations, they let your friends help you sort it all out. Because not only can you discover interesting stories that are being shared by people whose opinions you value, you can also discuss them too! Facebook has realized this, and its new “personalized newspaper” is a step in that direction.
When Google broke up the band, Google Reader was setup to fail. By stripping the social function, it just became an inferior version of the plethora of news apps that essentially did the same thing but provided a prettier experience. So there really is no reason to be surprised by the announcement that Google Reader is being shut down.
I do understand that we, by nature, are resistant to change. Fortunately, when it comes to art and science, there’s always a new generation influenced by the greats of the past. This might be the end of Google Reader, but it’s just the beginning for better solutions to the problems of information overload and news personalization.
We go to one another for news and information, and it’s our discussion about those topics that has allowed us to advance our thoughts and opinions about some of the most pressing, and sometimes not-so-pressing issues. At Thirst, we believe that in order to truly filter this endless stream of content down to what’s meaningful to you, your network will play a vital role by bringing light to subjects that otherwise would be ignored or forgotten.
That’s why we’ve bridged the gap between how we get our news and where we engage with it.
It’s sad to see the old band drift off into the sunset; but there’s still that hot, new artist with that catchy song that you’ve had on repeat for like forever, to be excited about.
South by Southwest Data Visualizations!
What you’re looking at are the most talked about topics at South by Southwest. The movement of the images correspond with the popularity of each topic at a given time, which you can find along with the date at the top right. Pause to get a snapshot of the results, or fast forward to see what makes it to the top of the list and what falls out. There’s also a progress bar at the bottom so that you can keep track of where you are and jump around to a specific time.
It’s and fun and easy way to see what’s generating buzz at all of the events at SXSW. So even if you’re not in Austin, you won’t feel like you missed out :)
The Thirst Cafe Project
Be sure to head over to Muddy Waters Coffee House on 16th & Valencia in the Mission and grab yourself a cup of your favorite brew (we like their cafe au lait) as you catch up on the news using Thirst!