Changing the way students plan their weekends

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April 5, 2012

11:22 PM

For college students, social media has become a defining feature of social, academic and extracurricular events. When we log onto Facebook, our news feed bombards us with updates on events that we’ve been invited to, or that our friends are attending; we see photos from last week’s events and messages for details on next week’s.

For Cyrus Farudi and Omri Cohen, co-founders of the new event planning start-up app known as Capsule, the event management life cycle seemed highly disjointed.

“The inspiration for the idea was born out of real-life frustration with existing products,” Farudi said. “We had a lot of weddings and bachelor parties last year, and we were always doing study abroad and road trips in college. So then last year when we were trying to coordinate these [events], we realized we had been complaining for years and the process was sort of broken.”

Farudi and Cohen mapped out the life cycle of an event on a piece of paper and divided it into 4 distinct stages: before, during, after and archive. Capsule is an app that allows students to plan their nights, without automatically sharing these plans on Facebook.

“We thought it didn’t make any sense that there are like ten different services for this four stage process, and all the information is scattered because [these services] are all user-centric,” Farudi said.

The before stage involves large numbers of emails, the second stage revolves around texts and pictures, the after stage includes photo exchange and follow-ups, and the archive stage happens a couple of years later.

“Texts, posts, emails, photos, videos and people are all there,” Farudi said.

While Capsule does integrate with Facebook, users can also add people to a Capsule via text or email. Capsule is currently available online and on smartphones through apps for Android and iPhone. Each Capsule receives a phone number so that all users can participate, regardless of whether they have an iPhone or Android.

One feature that distinguishes Capsule from other social media products is how it also functions as a sort of virtual scrapbook, only centered on the event rather than the individual.

“It’s a collection that’s not just yours but everyone’s,” Farudi said. “It’s really cool when you come back later — which is something people don’t immediately get. It’s like a chronicle of all the cool things in your life.”

At the College of William and Mary, Capsule may be helpful for students planning trips and events.

“This seems like it would be really great for my Ghana service trip this summer,” Meredith Seitz ’14 said. “My group is doing all this pre-trip planning and coordination, and I’d also love to be able to document and share my experiences with friends and stuff afterwards.”

Students wishing to share photos may also benefit from Capsule.

“We think the really cool part is our mobile app called CapsuleCam because as you shoot photos, they’re automatically synced into the Capsule,” Farudi said. “There’s no more ‘Hey, send me your photos’ or ‘Hey, where are your photos?’ They’re all there in real-time.”

Sarah Klotz ’14 believed that this feature would be particularly useful.

“I just got back from a ceramics conference, and I’m trying to compile some of the photos from the event because my camera broke,” Klotz said. “So this would be a great way of pulling together all the exhibit photos from the other attending students.”

Despite its group appeal, Capsule has also been attracting users with its privacy aspect. It has become increasingly commonplace for college students to change their Facebook names or increase their privacy settings when applying for jobs and internships.

“Lots of people delete Facebook entirely because they don’t want to run the risk,” Farudi said. “When you’re applying for jobs, that’s now the first place people look.”

By contrast, Capsule provides more privacy. The photos are visible to only members of a specific Capsule, and photos can still be shared onto Facebook only if the user chooses.

“College students are a big market for us,” Farudi said. “We’re interfacing with the Greek community, specifically regarding [the Greek community’s] parties and fundraisers.”

According to Farudi, Capsule combines the features of e-vites, Facebook and scrapbooks.

“There’s overlap from lots of different apps, with, say, the group text messaging functionality,” Cyrus said. “But it’s also very unique in [and] of itself — it’s the fundamental idea of organizing content around the experience as opposed to around the individual. Everything is confined to Capsule itself, and people themselves are just one more piece of the content of that Capsule.”

Students can learn more about Capsule at trycapsule.com.

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  • Natalie Ferenbach

Natalie Ferenbach '14 was previously an Associate Variety Editor.

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