Whenever I feel uncomfortable writing about a topic, that’s when I know I should write about it. So here goes. This article is about how a new way of designing apps changed my life. But to explain the power of this trend, I need to tell you about poop. That’s the uncomfortable part.

For the past five years or so, I’ve struggled with intestinal discomfort. (I’ll spare you the gory details.) I spent countless hours crawling the web searching for a possible diagnosis and tried dozens of different remedies and diets. Nothing seemed to help.

Finally, I saw a gastroenterologist. He listened for all of five minutes while I described my symptoms and quickly jotted down a prescription for antibiotics. They worked for a while but soon the symptoms returned. I went back to the doc. A few tests were done and more antibiotics were dolled out. But the problems came back. Then again. And again.

After a few cycles, I could see he was running me through a gambit of various gut bug killers until my symptoms stopped or he was out of drugs. I decided I’d rather live with the problem (whatever it was) and hope for the best.

Recently however, a chance encounter with a total stranger led me to start using a new kind of app that does things my physician and the specialist never could.

This app helped me get to the bottom of my problem. I’ll explain how later but what makes the design of this app important has implications in all sorts of industries, including outside health care. At its core, the app facilitates a conversation to solve a complex problem with greater ease than ever before.

Over the next few years, smart entrepreneurs and savvy designers will use similar techniques to dramatically improve the way they connect and serve their customers.

Going Native

App makers are returning to the roots of what our phones are for. They are after all communications devices. So called “invisible apps” engaging in “conversational commerce” are popping-up in all sorts of unrelated industries.

For example, a few weeks ago, my friend Stephen and I chatted at the park while we watched our kids play. As Silicon Valley tech geeks do, we got to talking apps. “Have you started using any good apps lately?” he asked. “Actually, yes.” I said. “Have you heard of Native?” I don’t usually recommend apps, but Native is special.

What is Native? It’s a virtual travel agent. If you’re not impressed, neither was I the first time I heard the idea. But when I started using the service, I realized they were onto something.

Here’s how Native works: every time I need to do anything related to travel, I just ask Tim to handle it. Tim lives inside Native and while he appears to be a human, I’m not 100% sure he is. For all I know he may be a bot, artificial intelligence, or any number of people working behind the scenes under the persona of the fresh-faced Tim. To be honest, I don’t much care. Every time I need him he’s there, ready to assist me.

For example, I recently had to book a gnarly itinerary in and out of two countries using various airline loyalty points. Normally, booking this sort of trip would have taken me hours of comparing prices, flight times, connection difficulty, and frequent flyer point requirements. Instead, I just opened the app and told Tim what I needed in plain English — like sending a text message. Then, I went about my day and an hour later I received a notification from Tim telling me he found the best two options. Would I like itinerary A or itinerary B? I picked one and he booked the flight. Done!

I didn’t have to use any dropdown menus, sift through hundreds of options, or spend half an hour attempting to pay for my ticket only to learn that the price I wanted was suddenly not available. Nope! I left it up to Tim to handle everything.

The next tech trend: Assistant-as-an-app

Native’s interface looks like a messaging app.

Native charges $25 per month. Considering that Tim can complete any and all travel-related requests — from booking me on another flight if I miss a connector to calling the airline to request a seat change — it is well worth the money. Of course, whether Native can actually make money with this business model is an open question.

As I described Native to my friend Stephen, a woman pushing her child on the swing next to us interjected. “Excuse me,” she asked, “What app are you talking about?” I showed her Native on my phone. “Funny,” she said “my company does the exact same thing but for health.”

The woman, I would come to learn, was Stephanie Tilenius, CEO of Vida Health. As she explained her app, Stephanie told me “Vida is great for irritable bowel syndrome if you happen to know anyone with that.”

Did I ever!

I told her I’d be interested in giving her app a try. “We’ll connect you with a coach to help you figure out what’s going on,” she said, and by the time I left the park I had received an invitation to use the service.

Meeting Mindy

Diagnosing a digestive problem is fiendishly difficult. It requires looking back through a detailed log to find what might be causing symptoms that don’t manifest until the food has time to work it’s way through the body a day or so later. Finding a solution involves not only understanding what I ate that might be causing the symptoms, but also what I did not eat that I should have. I had done this sort of detailed record keeping before on my own but it was incredibly time consuming and I always gave up after a few days.

I started using Vida. Over the next several weeks, I shared what I ate and how I was feeling with my coach Mindy who, like Tim from Native, was a helpful face on the other side of the app. Like Native, there was no complicated interface to learn. The app felt more like messaging with a friend than diagnosing a health problem.

Along with helpful suggestions, Mindy sent me regular reminders to send her snapshots of what I was eating. She also requested I text a number from 1 to 10 to quantify my symptoms — my “poo score,” we called it.

Soon, something interesting happened.

The next tech trend: Vida app (assistant-as-an-app)

My assistant Mindy on the Vida Health app.

Mindy started analyzing my diet in ways neither my doctor nor I ever could. She looked at the nutritional content of what I was eating and searched for correlations with how I felt. Like a detective, she was on the hunt for the intestinal who-done-it. She started eliminating suspects from the food line-up and narrowing in on what might be triggering my symptoms by looking for clues in my diet. She told me what I should eat instead and after changing my diet, I’m feeling better.

Just the Beginning

Mindy’s ability to diagnose the source of my problem was something my physician just didn’t have the time or ability to address. Without a way to carefully monitor and analyze what was going in and coming out of my body, how could he? Conversational apps like Vida however are designed to always be accessible; allowing users to send the kind of information a professional can use to provide more insights in less time.

Similarly, Native’s highly trained travel agent on the other side of the conversation allows the app to provide just the right itinerary, eliminating all the hours spent sorting and culling travel options I previously had to do myself.

This trend is bigger than travel and diet apps. The fact that these two very different services both use what I call an “assistant-as-app” to help users accomplish complex tasks, makes me think there’s more to this trend.

How About You?

Do you use any assistant-as-app services? Do you have any favorites? Can you think of other products or services that should use the conversational interface but don’t yet? Where would you like to see an assistant-as-app service?

Updated July 14, 2015: After writing this post, I decided to become an investor in Native. 

For the next post in this series, click here.

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  • It’s funny that after all mobile-first design heuristics it all comes down to an invisible UI and a human at the other side taking care of business 🙂

    • The phone is after all a communiation device.

    • Jodi Schiller

      I love this insight. I wonder as AI tech grows if this will still be the truth.

  • I wonder if it would be scalable. Many parts of the process, I think, could be automated, but not all. Maybe with the right set of tools anyone could be a Tim (Uber-like approach). This would be then a “shared-assistant-as-app” and maybe it will be the future of employment.

    • I didn’t dive into the business model but that’s a good question. Over time however the costs will decrease with greater automation.

  • Will Luttrell

    You guys should try our app Kali. Meeting scheduling using a similar concept, only with minimal or zero human involvement (i.e. it scales.) http://signup.meetkali.com. Check it out. . . it’s free for our early adopters.

  • I’ve been thinking about this trend too. Your experiences with Native and especially Vida seem amazing and, in the case of the latter, perhaps even revolutionary. The possibilities of tracking data on an on-going, non-intrusive manner in order to unlock insights that were previously difficult/impossible to find is something to be excited about, for sure.

    That said, I have experienced some possible challenges for these companies. Not long ago, I used Butler to try to help me find good travel deals (flight+hotel). I texted my request to a designated phone number that the service provides. The assistant was conversational and helpful enough (I actually think it was, in fact, a real person) but when he/she sent me a couple of options, the deal-hunter in me couldn’t help but feel that with a little bit effort, I could’ve found a better deal. And I did.

    I’m not sure yet how they could’ve done things differently. Perhaps present me with evidence that they’ve got great assistants that would go the extra mile to find the best possible deals? Or maybe have experts on hand to give more specialized assistance, like in the case of Vida? In any case, it seems one of the biggest things that needs to be established by assistant-as-an-app services is trust and confidence before they can be helpful.

    • Really great point about trust. In my next post I’ll discuss my thoughts on when these apps work particularly well and when they don’t.

      • Jon McB

        Would love to hear more about this. After the hypothesis is proven in your context/industry, there is still a huge discrepancy between providing info and providing great info. A few sub par experiences could ruin the viral-ity (that may not be a real word) of the business.

  • Gino Rodriguez

    I would love to see an assistant as app service applied to the financial advisory industry. Providing real-time financial advice can dramatically impact budgeting goals. An assistant as app service would also be great for travel logistics related to awkwardly located destinations like my hometown. Why doesn’t Kayak include bus and train schedules? Most people travel by bus in Latin America and have to search multiple bus company’s sites in order to find the best price/itinerary.

  • Ilana Golan

    Fully agree. I think its a lot about apps that work for you and make a personalized, localized and relevant suggestions versus generic insights. I presented in some conference about how IOT will change travel. Imagine when checking in to your hotel you don’t stop by at the reception; your electronic key is dispatched to your smart device of choice on the day of arrival. Based on your past stays the hotel recognizes that you like the room temperature to be at 70 degrees and adjusts it in such a way that based on your check in time the change in temperature is effected with minimal use of energy.
    Notifications and navigation through the airport based on location, departure times, delays with an assistant helping online through the app as needed.

    Anyway great article!

    • Paul Pepe

      wow nice concepts Ilana. Do you have a website ?

  • You should check out the digital concierge http://Djenee.com

    First time I tried it I asked “please make one of the founders come to my office to explain the service tomorrow”. And within minutes I got the answer that the CEO was unfortunately busy that time, but that he would like me to join him for a lunch instead.

    At a nice lunch, he explained the idea behind Djenee and I was really impressed!

  • Technology has evolved to provide us some unprecedented tools, for sure. But no machine has evolved to the point that it can provide the kind of intuitive guidance and support that comes from a real, live human being. As everyone reading your blog knows, behavior change can be hard work! Having a human coach at your side witnessing your progress and helping you navigate obstacles can make the difference between inspiration and actualization. I am a psychologist and mindfulness coach, and I work with Mazlo (http://www.mazlo.me/), an “assistant-as-app” behavior change program. We connect people with coaches for 2-week programs, designed to help them get started with a new habit. All of the interactions between the coach and client are asynchronous, happening through daily text and video messages (from a real coach. Not a bot). I have found this to be an exciting & effective way to scale my coaching practice, which is centered in helping people learn how to practice mindfulness meditation and how to use it to lead more intentional, more actualized lives. We also use Mazlo to teach other habits, though, like effective body language, calm and connected parenting, and fitness. This kind of technology, as you noted, is pretty much the most exciting thing since sliced bread! Using technology to “up the signal” of caring, compassionate coaches wanting to help people make changes in their lives is one of the most exciting and hopeful projects I have been involved with. I can’t wait to see what other “assistant-as-app” technologies emerge over the next couple of years.

  • Great blog post! I have been very much interested in messaging apps for nutrition tracking. I have used in the past the app called “Rise” (https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/1-1-nutrition-coaching-by-rise/id794278760?mt=8). I think that it resembles a lot like Vida Health. The way it works is that you take pictures of your food, you upload them, and then your personal nutrition coach helps you make better choices. The app helped me a lot in the beginning. The first 2 months I was doing this religiously and I did make changes for my nutrition habits which I live with today. The 3rd month, though, it became boring. As I was doing everything right. So there was nothing really to talk about other than saying “good job” or “stay on this track” etc, but there was a high price to pay: money, and also my time. So the investment of my time & money didn’t make sense any more for the value I was getting. So I stopped. Some time ago I tried Vida Health as well but didn’t find any differences from Rise so I stopped using it. In my personal opinion, Native has an advantage as an app compared to Rise or Vida Health. Native promises to solve your travel problems when you have them. Vida Health or Rise require constant exchange of messages with them in order to solve problems which you might have (and might be temporary), such as being able to know how to eat health, or problems that you don’t have. This last “constant exchange of messages” adds workload to your life without always getting out the value from them. That’s my take on this.

    • This is a fantastic point! Vida and Rise could work themselves out of a job. That’s not necessarily a bad thing — as long as their business models support it. These type of temporary use products will by nature have higher churn. However, a company like Native that solves for an ongoing problem, certainly has some advantages.

      • I would add to “as long as their business models support it” to also “as long as their approach supports it”. What if Rise or Vida Health were honest and simply told me: “hey Kouris, it seems that you have reached your call that we set out to work on. You can use our service for free till we actually are able to help you on another problem. Only then we’ll start charging again”. I think just by doing that Vida Health or Rise would get a lot of attention and traffic. Just a random idea. Rise was prompting me to come back and pay while I actually was satisfied with what I had accomplished. So this “push selling” put me off so next time I will choose another service, maybe Vida Health, for another goal.

      • I think a lot of tech startups have their eyes set on creating a passive income generator – create the app, capture an audience, and hang onto them as long as you can. As you are noting, these “assistant as apps” that have a human behind them really need to adjust that business model to stay sustainable. At Mazlo, all of our coaching programs are only 2 weeks long. We are just trying to get people launched with a new habit – we want to build their knowledge and self-efficacy enough so they can continue on their own. Then, after the coaching is over, they can keep using the app for free to access program resources and keep tracking their new habit. If they hit a stumbling block or want to try something new, they can sign up for another program. So far, this model has really worked well for us. We’re there when people need us, and we step back when they don’t.

    • Like a lot personal coaches/therapists/healers say, “if you’re coming back to me, I’m not doing my job.” I think they could be used to get you out of binds, to change your habits and the trajectory of your life, and then you can “ditch” them until something else pops up. You wouldn’t go see the doctor every week if nothing was wrong, same thing applies here. It does conflict with their subscription model a bit, because if you pay for a full month, what if you fix your problem in 3 days? Is there a conflict of interest for them to “keep you in tow” so you keep paying? Like Nir said, I’m not sure about the subscription model for concepts like this with high churn.

      I love the concept of on-demand expert advice, in a text-message format. It reminds me of Clarity, but much simpler. I just hope the people on the other end have the credentials and experience needed to “fix” problems.

      • Good points! I agree that the subscription based model is not the best one for these services

  • Patrick Browne

    thanks for this post. my initial inclination is to agree with @kkalligas:disqus’s point about these services potentially being more valuable for solving problems as they pop-up as opposed to ongoing, daily ones. perhaps, i’m biased, however, as my business is a mortgage business and mortgages are clearly not something people get daily but when they do need them they are huge problems and require a lot of service…. very good timing for this post… thanks

    • I don’t think @kkalligas:disqus point was that assistant-as-app are only good for pop-up use. I think he’s saying they’re better for long-term use like ongoing travel needs. I would agree as far as the business model is concerned that a low churn product has advantages but the interface may not necessarily have anything to do with the business model. I can see this conversational interface working in both single use and long-term applications.

      • Patrick Browne

        Makes sense; thanks! I guess my own internal biases made me interpret his comment as making perfect sense for me!

  • Anil Dav

    Nir, Have you seen the sales assistant app ‘Charlie’? Charlie provides sales intelligence about the people you are going to meet using big data analytics. The value proposition seemed very good to me. Unfortunately, it didn’t work as well for me in Bangalore, India as it might have (I suspect) in the US since it depends on people (read: other people) posting information about themselves online. I’ve since stopped using the app but I’d love to know how it evolves.

    • wazz

      just looked at charlie. you *have to* “Sync your [google, soon outlook] calendar [in order] to get intel on people and companies, minutes before your meetings.” i don’t think so. and of course i wasn’t told that part until after i signed up. when crap like that happens, i run.

  • Yvon Chou

    A great service I used lately for relocating to a new city was Teleport Scouts teleport.org/scouts
    They help you with everything that you could need assistance with, when moving to a new country or city. From getting a visa to finding a job or apartment hunting.

  • Great post. I wrote something about the same topic recently, I love the trend but still remain unsure about the economics http://www.buildingsquared.com/post/106510978921/the-return-of-the-personal-assistant

  • Matty Mariansky

    Have a look at Meekan’s scheduling robot – it’s 100% AI (no humans involved..) and he does something humans don’t particularly like to do (coordinate time for a meeting), quicker and better than humans. You just ask something like “can we have quick video chat next week” and a minute later it’s synced into your calendar, even if your team is spread across 3 time zones.
    Take a look: http://meekan.com/slack

  • Miten Sampat

    Completely agree with your thesis. I am a big fan of Haptik (www.haptik.co) & https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=co.haptik … you should give it a spin. Haptik’s approach is more comprehensive, it solves for multiple tasks.

  • I was just contracting with a company that did just this, but for a range of issues. I think a big part of it is people just wanting to connect to other people who are on your side. It sounds like your doc wasn’t fully in your corner, but Mindy was.

    The other big issue is ease of use. No one wants to drive to a doc office and sit there.

    That said, I think monetization will be difficult to figure out. I suspect what you paid to Vida didn’t really cover the time Mindy put it, let alone other costs.

    There is a marketplace that can emerge in this space and do real well.

    • Right, the business model discussion was out of scope for this easy but certainly an important topic to dig into.

  • Andre Luiz Stabel

    Hi ! Do you know any assistant-as-app to newborn mothers? thanks

  • I love the idea of collecting data on each individual user, and then having a real person interpret and make suggestions based on that.

    For example, if there were an app like Vida Health for my city (Orlando) that health experts could use for their clients. Or maybe Vida Health hires experts in many cities. Not only could they make food suggestions based on my preferences and reactions to certain types of food, they could direct me on where to buy these things. “Check out the farmers market 0.3 miles from you, they have cage-free eggs and grass-fed butter.”

    With something like travel, that’s obviously much less dependent on locality. But having a network of experts around the world would be beneficial, so they could route my request to somebody in Orlando to tell me “Try leaving your car at this drop-off and taking the shuttle, it’s the cheapest and quickest option.”

    Generic expert advice combined with local expert advice > generic expert advice.

    I wouldn’t mind paying-as-I-go for a service like this. If I expert more advice and help, I’m willing to pay a higher price. As time goes on, the margins would increase for the company and quality would improve as tech and worker experience goes up.

  • Love your article, also had good experiences with Better for researching health issues and insurance… Also, the company I founded, Open Listings, is bringing the team support model to real estate — check out http://www.openlistings.co

  • ngardideh

    There’s a couple of shopping assistants out there like https://asksuto.com – I’ve been using it for a while.

    Basically it does the research for you. Very cool.

  • tubby_bartles

    We live off of Clara Labs at our offices. A “virtual assistant” for scheduling, you just cc her on any email and she jumps in to schedule the meeting, and does so perfectly every time. Even puts travel to and from meeting location in the calendar, puts in locations and phone numbers correctly, and handles things like “Hey, can you move my Tuesday meetings, I now have to travel that day”.

  • This is interesting. Thanks for sharing Maria.

  • Mitchell Lee

    I’ve definitely seen a rise in the number of assistant-as-app services out there. Some noticeable ones include Luka (restaurant recommendations), Lark (health and fitness tracking), and Magic (personal assistant).

    One area that I think would definitely benefit from this model is personal finances. Apps like Mint, Level and BillGuard are very graph-centric and don’t provide the useful insights that most people want from services like those. My co-founder and I have been hard at work on an app to fill that void—and we like to think we started down that road before assistant-as-apps were cool 😉

    If you’re interested in taking a look: https://pennysaved.io

  • what about the blended approach?

    maybe not 100% bot, but couldn’t a percentage of your communications be done with a bot? don’t you often repeat the same info? that’s where a blended approach can work out. then you could respond more quickly.

    you can also “prepare” content ahead of time that the bot can send to people (daily rituals), and bots are also better at compiling stats and watching your progress.

    • Yes. The blended approach is exactly where it is at, I think. As long as there is some transparency about it. We try to be really clear what content is coming “live” from a coach, and what is coming as an automated part of the program. I think the key is using the automation to streamline the coach’s workflow so they can spend more time developing a quality relationship with the client. As a coach, I find this blend really exciting! It supercharges my ability to help people in a scalable way.

  • Mitchell Lee

    Thanks for taking a look! We just launched a marketing website today, so if you haven’t already it may be worth heading over to https://pennyapp.io to get a better sense of what Penny does.

    Much of the value proposition comes from the fact that knowledge is power. The average person doesn’t know how much they spend on food every day, what day of the week they tend to spend the most money on, how many times they use ridesharing services, etc. Penny aims to familiarize users with their finances in a fun, easy to digest way (again, making use of the app-as-service model)—and we think that will pay dividends moving forward.

    The status quo (Mint) leaves much to be desired: your spending history is presented to you in more or less raw form and you’re encouraged to create budgets for things as specific as “Air Travel” or “Music and DVDs.” Instead, Penny breaks your spending into five easy to understand categories and then helps you digest that spending within the context of your normal behavior.

    One of the great things about Penny and other apps-as-services is that we can explain these benefits and use cases to the user before ever asking for permission to link to their financial account(s). Similarly, we do our best to establish trust with them before going down that path.

    Hope that helps! I’m also happy to meet up in person to discuss things further 🙂

  • George Reavis

    Nir, I read you article on Linked-in on Assistant as Apps and thought it was
    great. I think something that would be a GREAT “Assistant as App” app would
    be an app that helps you navigate the claims process’ of health
    insurance. Example, I have a special needs daughter that is constantly
    going to the different doctors and my health insurance is constantly denying
    rightful claims. My wife spends half of her life dealing with trying to
    get the insurance company to cover these claims. Sure, our health insurance agent steps in sometimes to help a little bit, but lets face it, they are paid
    on the commission of the sale of a new policy, not helping someone fight with
    insurance companies about claims that should be paid. If there was an app
    for that, I would gladly pay $50 a month to have them help me combat these insurance giants. Anyway. Loved the idea of where this whole trend is going.

  • shalinishingari

    Hi Nir, Whenever I read your blog, it brings out a new perspective, a new thought. Great Insight! All we need to see is what level of information is sufficient for an App Assistant to provide relevant results. Relevance of results is what’s going to drive this trend.

  • marnus wapenaar

    I recently came across your blog on Why ‘Assistant-As-App’ Might Be the Next Big Tech, and this got me thinking…

    I was wondering if this technology can be adapted to assist start up and small
    business owners in terms of advice on certain aspects that all start ups and
    small business owners face? Think of it as your virtual business mentor or
    management consultant.

    We all know that the start up and entrepreneurial scene is a difficult one and
    not all the companies make it past the 5 year mark. I am exploring options to
    create some sort of platform where they can gain access to business advice.

    I would love to hear your point of view

  • marnus wapenaar

    I recently came
    across your blog on Why ‘Assistant-As-App’ Might Be the Next Big Tech, and this
    got me thinking…

    I was wondering if this technology can be adapted to assist start up and small
    business owners in terms of advice on certain aspects that all start ups and
    small business owners face? Think of it as your virtual business mentor or
    management consultant.

    We all know that the start up and entrepreneurial scene is a difficult one and
    not all the companies make it past the 5 year mark. I am exploring options to
    create some sort of platform where they can gain access to business advice.

    I would love to hear your point of view

  • Paul Pepe

    Nice ! Vida is missing though

  • Every service , physical or digital has to be extremely fast and reliable. That’s what we are all looking for. I posted a blogpost about it a few month ago – more related to the enterprise software – Shaking Up Enterprise Customer Service : https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/shaking-up-enterprise-customer-service-elad-katav?trk=prof-post

    Google invented an amazing search service – extremely fast and reliable fully digital. Native is an amazing service who came up with extremely fast and reliable service half digital and half manual using humans. The question if it is scalable or not – doesn’t matter – they found the formula to make it extremely fast and reliable and they win. We all should follow.

  • Saw the title of this post and thought it was going to be about Be My Eyes (http://www.bemyeyes.org). Such a great service. I hope to see lots more of this.

  • HashimotosHappiness

    It all comes down to paying someone that you don’t know and can’t see who is likely in a dark room in a foreign country as little money as possible so you can run around thinking you are getting personalized support and feeling all super warm and fuzzy and blind inside. Bravo, bravo techies, another regular paying job for an American health coach, doctor, or naturapath eliminated! You paid $15 and some stranger got $1.25, the only winners are the guys at the top of the organizations helping to eliminate real jobs in this country. Apps suck.

    • Your point is valid but assumes profit is the primary motive of the app company. Socially responsible apps could ensure there’s equitable payment throughout the supply chain. I’d argue that this model is actually ideal and could change the world. Intention really does matter and rather than excluding something because of a flaw in the existing supply chain, let’s focus on using technology to increase transparency and create global efficiencies where everybody wins instead of one person winning big while the others get screwed.

  • When you start aggregating the aggregators, things get pretty efficient and useful! Perhaps let the digital aggregation happen before layering in the expensive but critical human element and we might have something life-changing.

  • Jenny S

    I love this concept, but when I went to the Vida website and chatted with their representative online, it was a pretty bad experience… the person on the other end of the chat was not very personable or helpful. Seems like they haven’t considered the overall customer experience, unfortunately.

  • Ariel Calder

    I use planmy.travel for doing all the holiday planning – it’s not a mobile app but does an excellent job of getting a real human to do all the work of trip planning, not the travel agent stuff that Native does but stuff like which places to see, where to eat, how to make the best use of my vacation time, and how to best experience a new place.

  • Anti-biotics are what CAUSE this stuff.

  • rey alejandro

    Thanks for this Nir Eyal, I’m designing a job matching app and thinking about this “assistant-as-app” concept rather than search and filter. Kouris comments is very insightful too – so I guess this is a case to case basis.