When you need to give your loved one an ETA or figure out the quickest way to your next meeting, there are many ways to do it: A peek at the clock, your calendar and maybe Google maps, a bit of mental math, and opening up a messenger app to tap out a quick note.
Wait. Too many steps? 20-year-old Ari Weinstein thought so, and decided to give a new meaning to the word "workflow."
In his new app, released last December with partner Conrad Kramer (an 18-year-old Cherry Hill native), workflow has become a singular, individualized concept. For example, here’s a workflow for you: I have a picture on my phone that I want to share on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram all at once. I want a button on my home screen that’ll do all that automatically. Or, I'm viewing a website, and I want to make, save and send an instant PDF of it. Thanks to the Workflow app
, there’s "a workflow" for that -- in other words, a way to customize and automate multi-step digital tasks you need throughout the day -- and pretty much anything else you want to do on your smartphone.
"One way to describe it would be that Workflow lets you automate different things that you do every day, so you can do them just with a push of a button," explains Weinstein. "You can sort of make these really personalized experiences that automate things that only you do.
You can get creative and make your own workflows or you can engage with an online community sharing the workflows they’ve invented.
Weinstein (son of Philly Office Retail
president Ken Weinstein) is a West Mt. Airy native who graduated from Germantown Friends School
, took a "gap year" before college to work in California, and then started at MIT in 2013. But in December of that year, he and Kramer applied for a Thiel Fellowship
, granted every year to 20 college students under the age of 20 nationwide. The fellowship offers the winners $100,000 over two years to pursue a passion outside of the classroom. (Workflow is Weinstein’s second app launch; he also developed DeskConnect
Weinstein and Kramer, now based in San Francisco, found out they’d been selected for the fellowship in May 2014.
Since then, things have moved quickly.
"The launch went incredibly well," recalls Weinstein. Apple selected Workflow as an editor’s choice in the app store, showing it on a banner to everyone who visited the site.
"It was the no. 1 most downloaded app on the [paid] app store for four days," he continues. "We’ve just been thrilled with the way people have taken advantage of it. People have made hundreds of thousands of workflows, some of which are really cool that we never would have thought of."
There are now three guys on the startup's team: 18-year-old Nick Frey, from Iowa, has joined Weinstein and Kramer.
And this is still just the earliest version of the app -- Weinstein hints at "a big update" they hope to launch by February.
So does he want to go back to school?
"That’s a hard question," he muses. "I’m not sure I can make that call right now."
Writer: Alaina Mabaso
Source: Ari Weinstein, Workflow