BYU students combat boredom through local events application

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Two students from the BYU Marriott School of Management are determined to stave off boredom in Provo – and they might just do it.

A collaboration between Julia Knecht, an information systems graduate student, and Tanner Rhodes, a business strategy major, resulted in Planimal.me, a web application that helps people in Utah Valley find events based on their preferences and interests. The application is set to be released this month.

Rhodes said the concept behind Planimal.me had been floating in his head for nearly two years as he experienced a recurring weekend scenario.

Julia Knecht, a BYU information systems graduate student, created Planimal.me, a web application that lists events for users based on their interests and preferences. (Photo by Lauren Moran)
Julia Knecht, a BYU information systems graduate student, created Planimal.me, a web application that lists events for users based on their interests and preferences. (Photo by Lauren Moran)

“You try to get together with your friends, you have some free time Friday night, you start texting and calling people, trying to find something to do,” Rhodes said. “A lot of times, you will just settle on something and find out after the fact that one of your friends went to this amazing event and you missed out because you didn’t know it existed.”

Rhodes said he envisioned an integrated site, a sort of one-stop shop appealing to a diverse range of people looking to have a good time.

“I wanted to build a website where anyone could create an event, invite people to it, reach out to people and create a social pulse as to what’s happening in the city,” Rhodes said.

He immediately thought of Knecht, an Adobe employee who was uniquely qualified to bring what would become Planimal.me to life.

“Her programming skills are excellent, so I reached out to her, and as soon as I presented the idea, she was on board,” Rhodes said.

Knecht created an original algorithm that allows Planimal.me to list events for users based on their stated preferences, as well as other inferred information.

“You log in with Facebook so it will pull your age and your interests and then it will ask you a couple more questions that are relevant,” Knecht said.

Through the support of Provo City, Planimal.me is slated to become the official tool through which local organizations advertise and promote events, adding to content submitted by individuals.

“We don’t want to scrape events from Facebook,” Knecht said. “We’ve talked to Provo, and they’re pretty stoked about it. They’ve talked to the Downtown Provo Association, and we’re going to make them venue accounts so they will be able to upload and post events.”

BYU student Blair Harris said an app like Planimal.me would simplify her weekend search for plans.

“I usually look on Facebook to find dance invites, or a lot of people in my ward will just go to the dollar theater if we can’t find anything else to do,” Harris said. “I would be interested in an app that gives ideas for things to do because often I can’t think of things to do in Provo.”

Rhodes said Planimal.me is built to facilitate events of every kind – it doesn’t matter whether you’re promoting an organization’s event, or your own acoustic jam session.

“We really want this to be a grassroots approach,” Rhodes said. “You don’t have to be Lady Gaga. You can be whoever you are – big or small, cool or not cool. We don’t care what type of event it is, we just want Planimal.me to become a social hub for Provo.”

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