Photo by Ramon Rovirosa
Adventure-goers and thrill-seekers look no further than the recently developed interactive Santa Barbara bucket list, Inlife.co. The concept behind the website is simple: “making life a little more interesting.” Those who aspire to experience life to the fullest can share and learn about the best activities the University of California Santa Barbara community has to offer in Santa Barbara and Goleta.
Charles Buhler and Matt Nishiguchi, UCSB alumni and co-founders of the site, strive for users to “relish in the present, meet interesting people, discover passions, and see the world in a new light” through the website.
The idea is straightforward: discover fun, local entertainment online. The easy-to-navigate new media platform highlights an assortment of local activities to ensure that students make the most of their time in college. Users have the capability to find and share experiences, such as a waterfall hike in Nojoqui Fall County Park or eating sushi at Arigato on State Street, and sort through them via categories and/or cost to participate. A photo, review, Google Maps, a comment box, and other relevant information are supplemented to each experience title. An entire afternoon worth of new venturing is available at the click of a button.
“The core is really just sharing activities that can always be done; they are just things and places that exist and are always around for people to go out and discover,” said web developer and UCSB alumnus Sam Boynton. “We market a set of experiences.”
While it may not be social networking per say, there is certainly a social aspect to the website, a component that largely appeals to students of our generation.
“We can connect with people on the other side of the world, but it is still difficult to connect with someone down the street. On the site, we can tie a community together to discover things even easier,” said Nishiguchi.
The creation stemmed from the ever-present decision of how to spend an afternoon free of commitments. Nishiguchi toyed with the notion of asking other social circles what they do for fun while sitting at home with friends discussing their options of things to do around town.
“While my friends and I had a couple of activities in mind that we already know and love, it would have been great to talk with other groups,” said Nishiguchi. “If everyone could just share those things publicly–with their community–we could have a whole platform of new ideas and ways to discover a city.”
Unique features of the site make it readily apparent why Inlife.co is not just another excuse to spend more time on the Internet.
“A lot of websites currently get people to stay on their computer more and want them to read more into their content,” said Nishiguchi. “While we want that on our site, we inherently encourage people to get off their computer and experience their local community. We do believe that it’s valuable to try new things and get out there.”
The key element is locality, to shed light on the great outdoors and environment surrounding the culture of Santa Barbara. The website was developed and based here because of its active nature, ideal weather and the founders’ knowledge of the area.
“Students often find themselves trapped in an endless cycle of midterms and finals,” said Buhler. “We really do live in a unique place and there is so much great stuff to explore. Santa Barbara is a great place with stuff like cool coffee shops and cool hikes; we really don’t get exposed to it too much.”
With any startup, the visually appealing and well-thought content can only do so much when it comes to business implementation. Now, priorities exceed product management and focus on generating traffic and user participation. While the total number of users is still unknown, people have already exhibited enthusiastic feedback.
“I like the diversity in different activities it gives information about, the price ranges given and that after living in Santa Barbara for three and a half years I still found things I didn’t know about,” said fourth-year business and economics major Jace Swank.
Newer features also allow businesses to connect and build a larger consumer base through direct purchases on the site, such as paddling the sea caves with Channel Island Outfitters or learning to pour Kung Fu Tea. Through the site, experts have a convenient way to promote their products and share their passions.
“We’re a very valuable tool for businesses, but at the same time we don’t want to be an ad platform in any sense,” said Nishiguchi. We want the site to be user generated content that’s organic with a business platform while maintaining value.”
So instead of waking up on another beautiful winter afternoon, don’t simply lounge around for lack of anything better to do. Rather, open up the computer and see what InLife has to offer.