Clay Loges, chief executive of the Web-based service Yodio, founded numerous start-up companies, and built and sold numerous multimillion-dollar businesses, including the chain Speedi-Lube, which pioneered quick-oil service in the Puget Sound region. The chain was sold and now operates as Jiffy Lube. Loges’ latest venture, Yodio, allows people to record and match voice commentary to digital photos.
YodioTours is building the world’s largest collection of self-guided tours for iPhones and Android smartphones. YodioTours is a brand new, energetic, nimble, mobile approach to memorable travel experiences for smart-phone carrying travelers. Combining the technologies of smart phones and the internet, these tours are the affordable alternative to having your own personal guide when sightseeing. Travelers benefit from local experts sharing their insider knowledge about their community’s attractions and destinations, and the info is available anytime and anywhere.
MO: Where did the inspiration for Yodio come from?
Clay: The idea came from a conversation with my daughter during a long, boring stretch of highway in eastern Montana. I was driving my daughter from our Seattle home to Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. She said it was dreadfully boring, and I said there should be a way to make it more interesting for the everyday traveler. This was the beginning of the process that led to offering YodioTours on Android and iPhones.
MO: How has your experience as a serial entrepreneur helped or influenced the process of creating Yodio?
Clay: My experience as an entrepreneur gave me the extra credibility to pioneer this new form of publishing. The forms of communications have dramatically changed in the past ten years, and it’s a challenge to introduce the potential of these new technologies to businesses clinging to the old ways. Traditional media is in a severe decline – witness the post office or newspapers. The methodology of marketing and the distribution of information is dramatically shifting, and businesses tend to be conservative so they are often the last to give up the old forms of advertising and marketing. My credibility as a seasoned entrepreneur allows me to introduce the idea of authentic channels for information distribution as well as the explosive shift to mobile applications.
MO: Do you have a target market?
Clay: For YodioTours.com our market are all sightseers (local people on an outing or tourists from out-of-town) carrying iPhones or Android smart phones. With our free apps, they can see how local experts share their insider knowledge to turn ordinary sightseeing into extra-ordinary experiences as they walk the local streets. The information is real-time to their ears and eyes, and they have the typical controls to PAUSE, go back, or jump forward. The interactivity of the smart phones means the tours are rated by the users, and the user feedback channel assures tour content that is fresh and current.
MO: What can I use Yodio for? What have been the most popular uses so far?
Clay: Yodio.com is a free website to add the power of the voice to photos. This affordable method of creating multi-media is attractive to bloggers, to websites, and for apps like YodioTours.com. These easy-to-create tours are popular with Visitor Associations, Chambers of Commerce, and Convention Bureaus. Another large user group is teachers using yodio.com in schools across the country.
MO: How do you think that free personal tour guides can change the experience of traveling? What kind of feedback have you been receiving?
Clay: Audio tours revolutionized the museum experience, and YodioTours takes the audio tour up a few levels with its addition of photos and the use of GPS for on-the-spot information for those smart phone packing travelers. They can easily turn an ordinary walk down the street into an extra-ordinary experience – when they want and where they want. Instant” self-guided tours on the ever-present smartphones are proving to be more convenient and more personal than the old printed handouts and guides…..and more engaging than the traditional audio-only tours.
MO: What’s the exciting thing on the horizon for Yodio in 2012?
Clay: In 2012 we expect to have the largest collection in the world of self-guided tours for iPhones and Android smartphones. In 2012 we’re partnering with visitor associations to cover more locations and destinations. In 2011 we became world-capable by adding GPS searching features into our mobile apps for Android and iPhone, so in 2012 we are seeking local experts everywhere in the world to share their insider knowledge with travelers and sightseers.
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