🎉🎙 The Appthropology Podcast is LIVE!!! 🎧🎉
Each week, Paul Meinshausen and James Laurain chat with the people behind the most awesome mobile apps in the market to understand the biggest lessons they've learned on their mission to bring value to people through their apps, and dive into the interesting stories and insights about how they build and who they build for.
Our goal is to help people discover the coolest new apps, while helping app creators get new insights into how to improve their messaging and their presence in the marketplace.
For Episode 1, we were honored to have Baptiste Malaguti, the CEO and Co-Founder of Kuri the climate-friendly cooking and meal planning app! 🔪🍆
...and we talked about everything from why Baptiste started the app to how he managed to get featured dozens of times in the app store, and all of the lessons he's learned along the way (including some surprising insights). 🧠
If you want to check out the episode, you can subscribe on:
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Happy listening! 🎧
James: Hey! Welcome to Appthropology, the podcast where we chat with the people behind awesome mobile apps. We look to understand their biggest lessons for bringing value to people and we'll dive into interesting stories and insights about how they build and who they build for. I'm your host Jim Laurain, head of growth at Aampe
Paul: and I'm Paul Meinschausen, data scientist and co-founder at Aampe.
James: Alright, today we're joined by Batiste Malaguti the co-founder of Kuri, so thank you Batiste for joining us this morning!
Baptiste: Thank you so much for inviting me for the first episode! It's it's an honor to be here.
James: Man, we're so excited. We're literally so excited it's so cool and especially to start with your app, because honestly it's one of the most interesting ones that I've come across yet. You have such a great angle so would you mind first telling us a little bit about Kuri?
Baptiste: Yeah, sure. Thank you for the kind words by the way. So, Kuri is an IOS app. It's a climate-friendly cooking app, a meal planning and grocery shopping app as well. It's available pretty much worldwide but it's available in English, German and French and that's the quick introduction, and I'm sure that we'll deep dive a little bit more into the details of the app.
James: Yeah, so There's a lot of other cooking apps out there, so what drove you to start Kuri?
Baptiste: Yeah, that's a really good question because it's true that when you start working on a cooking app people are like what are you doing? Like, there's like thousands of other cooking apps, like what are you even doing? And I think we started it for a couple of reasons - the first one was a frustration on our part as consumers, frustration with the tools that we had to figure out our next meals, organize our groceries and be satisfied with not being frustrated not looking at an empty fridge ? And we felt like there are tools and apps out there but none of them felt personal enough or relevant enough to our dietary needs or preferences, so I felt like there was something missing on the consumer side of things.
And the second reason to put it shortly is that I personally believe that the way that we buy groceries is going to change quite a lot in the next I don't know five to ten years. It hasn't changed much right? The way that we buy groceries in the last 30 years and I believe that there's a new paradigm that's coming to the way that we buy and it's what we call shoppable recipes or shoppable meal plans.
So it's the ability to build a meal plan like a combination of recipes and get all the ingredients delivered. That's shoppable recipes. It’s been coming since a few years but I think covid accelerated things quite a bit, and grocers started being more serious about their APIs, and so this use case is becoming more and more convenient and possible, but now you need to have an app that actually knows what you like knows what you want to eat what are the habits of your household to make relevant suggestions and come up with a good meal plan for you and make it shoppable. So it's the combination of our own frustration, and some market dynamics if you can say that, that made us think that there was an opportunity to build sort of like the next generation of of cooking meal planning and grocery shopping app.
James: No, that's good!
It's actually funny, I've done the research on it — I was going to say the last time grocery shopping really changed was with the Piggly Wiggly founder Clarence Saunders, if you've heard of him. So you used to come to the grocery store and a guy stood behind the counter and gave you everything, and then Clarence invented the shopping cart and you could go around and pick your own things. So that was the first level of personalization and now we're on to the next one
So there's something cooler about Kuri though, and it's what I tell everybody. It's not just the personalization and not just understanding your wants and needs. You guys have a greater mission. So, do you want to let us into the greater mission? What makes it the climate-friendly cooking app?
Baptiste: Yeah, and this and you noticed just now that I didn't mention climate change or climate friendliness in the reason why we created Kuri, because originally we had no clue about the impact of our eating habits on climate change. We were completely clueless about that so that was absolutely not part of the plan we were just focused on the convenience and the taste part of things, but as we started diving into recipes and cooking we started looking into the data also the carbon footprint, the land use of our eating habits, and we were quite shocked.
With my co-founder and Chef the person who cooks the recipes for us and creates the recipes we're quite shocked and and we learned so much about what we can do as individuals first of all but also what we haven't been told about food and its impact on climate, but we also realized quickly that we could build an elegant cooking app that helps you figure out what to eat next.
Well, like under the hood we're gonna nudge you towards something that is better for animals, better for climate, and we do this by basically calculating the carbon footprint of each of our recipes for each region that we have the app available. So, the carbon footprint of a recipe might be different in California and in New York the footprint can be different between these two regions depending on the seasonality.
And so what's special about Kuri is that we use that carbon footprint to guide our recommendations, and we also use local seasonality so we show you what's in season around you for the current month, so we can make sure that most of the recipes you're going to cook with Kuri are going to be seasonal. So, you can go to your local farmers market if you can if you have access to that, and pick up what's in season and cook with that.
James: I love that I've been telling people like it's funny because organic is one level, right? So you want to have organic food but when you talk about even the quality of food if you have to get that item, and it has to be shipped across half the world before it arrives. Like, not only is it probably worse for the environment but it's probably not even as good as if you could just get that produce locally in season right where you are, so I think part of the thing that we've been playing with and that you've really led the charge on, is some of the climate-friendly facts.
Do you have a couple of fun facts that you could share from the stuff we pulled together? I won't put you on the spot.
Baptiste: Yeah, no, no that's absolutely fine. Through my years of working on Kuri, I've learned a ton of mind-blowing facts that, when you read them the first time, you're like ‘This cannot be true. That has to be a problem with that.’ And actually, you mentioned like food miles, when food is shipped across the world, we tend to overestimate the impact of food miles on the carbon footprint of food. We think that eating local is the best thing you can do for the climate. Well it's very minor compared to if you focus on what you eat instead of where it comes from.
I think on average the transport is only 6 or 8% of the carbon footprint of a food item. That's already kind of a mind-blowing fact that a lot of people don't know about and it takes a while to rewire how you think about food and local food.
Paul: Yeah, that makes me happy because, so I'm originally from the US, and I grew up an omnivore, and I became a vegetarian something like 15 years ago when I was living and doing some research in Turkey, but then I've spent about the last 10 years in Singapore and India, and I’m now a vegetarian, and I was gonna ask you about this in the Kuri app - vegetarian fair is, as much as I remember it from my youth, was was like veggies on the side of a meat dish, right? So like a side of broccoli and a side of green peas or something and that's why I would always get the question when I would go home. It's like, “Well, what do you eat? You just eat peas and broccoli?”
And that would that the awareness, but when you're in Southeast Asia, when you're in Thailand or Malaysia or in India, there’s so much diversity and Variety in vegetarian fare and a lot of it has to do with spices that we didn't have available - cumin and coriander all these things that aren’t really indigenous or local in the US, and I often thought if I move back to the U.S I would be very sad if I had to eat entirely local and I couldn't get those kinds of spices that aren't necessarily from there. And so to hear that transport costs are really only 6-8%, and hopefully spices are anyway the least heavy and at least perishable, but I will note that in the Kuri app, you don't seem to have a spices section on the home screen. It pops up and it's like herbs. It's a very French approach, so I know I'll end with that, but I'm very happy to hear that it's mind-blowing but also happy facts for me.
Baptiste: Yes it is, and I'm seeing everyday in conversations that I have with people around me that we've been taught the wrong thing about climate change and our individual responsibility. We've been told to focus on taking shorter showers. Like, this is garbage advice in the grand scheme of things, in relation to the impact of our food, the impact of, I don't know, flying for your individual footprint. So there's been a lot of learnings and definitely a complete shift in my perception.
I started Kuri, an omnivore completely clueless, and I'm now on a vegan diet. So, yeah, a lot of changes, but, as I mentioned, it's not why we created Kuri, it's just something that I'm really proud that we can bring to our users. Just like Paul said, our conception of vegetarian food is the size that we used to have next to our meat, so let's bring some diversity, let's bring some novelty and delicious new tasty dishes to your week.
James: I love it. So how many showers could you take per airplane flight? No, I'm just kidding. We won't get into this.
No, one thing that I really like is just the overall concept of creativity is bread from constraint. So, like if there's a constraint it forces us to be creative, right? We always kind of have that angle, so the thing I like about Kuri, to your point, you didn't do it necessarily for the purpose of low carbon carbon impact, understanding the impact on climate at first, but, what it's done is a couple things:
One is it's carved out like a really nice niche for you, but secondly you're much more creative in the foods and the recipes that you offer because it's not like cheeseburger soup five days a week. By adding that constraint of trying to find local, by adding the constraint of trying to do low carbon and things like that, it kind of opens up this whole world of other dishes that probably a lot of other people haven't experienced before. I mean it's so cool.
So, from the app perspective, you've been featured by the App Store. Is it once or twice so far?
Baptiste: More than that, so we launched in May 2020 and we got picked up by the French App Store. So you have editors in each market that like spot your app and they might want to feature it if they find it cool so we got featured in July 2020 in the French app store and then I think we've been featured probably 20 times on the French App Store, but up until last summer, the summer of 2022, we had not been featured in the US yet. But that changed in July 2022, so you receive this email or this notification saying your app has been picked up by the U.S App store, and then you party.
Yeah, I'm just so happy and you celebrate, and actually I got this email again this morning so we're again featured on the US app store. It's like very recurring once they know you, once they like what you do and you push updates regularly they really feature you a lot, and that's that's great because it really starts this organic flywheel of growth where people discover you, they rate the app, it's really important to make sure that people are going to rate the app.
Paul: You said ‘when you push updates regularly.’ Is that is that just like, you imagine they have just some automatic algorithmic rate of of update pushing, or do you mean that it needs to be that you're releasing new features or substantively creatively adding to the app? Yeah just we'd love to hear a little bit more about what you mean by pushing updates
Baptiste: so App Store experts probably are going to curse me and send me DMS because I don't have any Insider information about how that goes. How that works, I believe that there might be something algorithmic. I've heard that it's more even more so on the Android store than on the App Store where it's more editorial, so you might be discovered by an editor, they might hear about you, then like in the US it all started because we got featured in TechCrunch, so someone at Apple saw that article and read about the app and featured it, so it was not about the amount of updates, but it does help if you're playing the game of like updating, fixing bugs and answering reviews. It's all, of course, going to be seen and perceived as something that you're doing well, and so yeah.
Paul: So, was there a process in getting the initial feature or getting in TechCrunch or has that all been organic, no pun intended.
Baptiste: That was a good one! The first feature was completely organic. I think it was a new app and I guess that somehow it gets on their radar as well when there's a new app that gets really high ratings from the beginning. It might be something algorithmic about that.
And, regarding the TechCrunch article, it's a journalist that I've been following for a while. He's also on a vegan diet. I liked his article so I thought let's shoot him a message. At the end we had a common interest in mid-journey. I don't know if mid-journey, it's this AI image that you can create an image based on the prompt. And yeah we just started talking about a couple of things and told him about Kuri, and he was interested enough to write a story and that was fantastic. I didn't expect that, but yeah that's awesome.
Paul: It sounds like you found the right person so you guys hit it off right away?
Paul: So, while we're on this topic I have one question: I've seen a lot of activity and discussion around just several articles recently about the growing importance of Reddit in search and this is sensationalized to the point of like is Reddit replacing Google Search, right?
So, I was interested just to see what else is on there, and I came across a post from you on Reddit two years ago, so right when you were getting started, that ‘I made this IOS app and it's about this’, it was just like a very brief post, and then just there was just a lot of comments a lot of conversation, and I thought that was kind of fascinating just the quality of the feedback you were getting and the response that early, and it was just it felt very sincere. I think the words like ‘delightful’ and ‘kind’ and just a lot of sincerity there, so I'm interested.
It’s amazing the App Store and Tech crunch, but this was very early in your journey. What was that like? Was Reddit, did you remember that post you remember that conversation or? Tell us more.
Baptiste: I haven't thought about that since a while actually because I used to mention Reddit as one of the first channels where we got our initial users, and it's true that it works really well because first of all the Reddit Community is very wholesome and very progressive as well. In my opinion there are a lot of really exciting communities whether it's for recipes or I don't know something called vole eating. I don't even know what that is but there's like a vole eating subreddit and you get good engagement when you post something that is sincere.
You're not trying to link to your YouTube channel, you’re just sharing the recipe with a photo that you took. They don't like professional photos on Reddit, you just take a photo of the meal that you cooked at home. That's how they want to see it because they want to see it as authentic. And yeah the response was very, very sincere and very encouraging for us, so that was a great channel for us to post recipes from time to time.
Paul: So, how much had you established yourself or set up a baseline on Reddit before you did that, or was it like this was one of the first posts that you had made, or how much pre-work? Usually a lot of times when you talk about bigger platforms and things you kind of want to create your own taking time investing and interacting and stuff and then you assert what you wanted to say. Was yours more like, ‘hey,’ like more like an introduction post or was it something that you've already kind of laid the framework and then made your post?
Baptiste: So, a little bit of both. I had thought about this ahead of time, and I knew that I shouldn't come up as a completely new account posting my app. That's not gonna yield necessarily good reactions. People are gonna see it as you're just trying to shoot your shot and that's not necessarily cool, so I did spend time on Reddit but really just reading about interesting stuff and seeing interesting recipes not posting so much. I think I haven't done that many posts, but when I started posting, they could see that I was not this newly created account that was created specifically for posting about the app.
Paul: I think the fact that you write as an individual as well, like ‘I created this app, I learned to code to build Kuri,’ and that was also a story that feels more personal than ‘Oh yeah, we’re a startup’, it would feel less personal.
Baptiste: No, it's all really good advice. I'm trying to save Reddit from a bunch of people who are going to hear this and then all of a sudden start to post I made an app too. No, I'm just kidding anyway.
James: No, that's a really really good insight. On the app, what are your key user behavior metrics, and how did you choose them?
Baptiste: Yeah, so I would say that there are two categories of user behavior metrics that matter to us. The first one is usage. You know, like number of cook recipes, how many recipes people cook per month, how many times they interacted and use the shopping list because then we know that they use it to organize their week, their groceries, and that's important to us because we want to be as useful as possible then we have the number of sessions as well.
Which I think is fascinating when I see a user with more than a thousand sessions, like 1200 sessions I saw earlier. That’s insane to me and we have 1,200 sessions.
Paul: In what kind of a time period?
Baptiste: So, the last date that I have for this user is May 2022, and I'm not sure if that's even possible or if, we've been switching from analytics from time to time so maybe we don't have the full history or, but yeah, it's it's a lot of sessions. 6 months.
Alright, so the first one was first one was general usage in sessions, and then the second one which is, no it's not more important for the business of course but it's more important to me, is the metrics around sustainability.
So the app basically detects when you cook a recipe based on if you read all the steps, how much time you spent on it, those kind of very simple indications and we assume that you cooked the recipe, and when
Paul: Ok, let's let's clarify that for a minute because that's a really key point there, so you're not simply relying on the user to say ‘I cooked this recipe’, to like toggle something or click something at the end. You've basically set up some basic equation algorithm that says, ‘alright, when a user has done this we're going to auto define that as cooked the recipe’. Yeah, is that what you're saying?
Baptiste: Absolutely and then they get they get a push notification that's just scheduled locally in the app that asks them ‘hey, how was your food?’ and they can rate the dish and this is also when they rate the app because experience is good, and we'll talk about that. The quality of content is important to us, so it leads to a good rating, and from someone who just cooked a meal.
And yeah, so there's this algorithmic determination of when someone cooks a recipe and when we send that event to our analytics we also send whether the meal was in season in the user's region, whether it had meat or not, and the user's diet as well. So if we have an omnivore user that cooked a meatless recipe, that's a win in our book. And we also send the carbon footprint of that recipe and the carbon footprint is also localized meaning that it's per month, per region. So California in October, it's gonna have a certain carbon footprint, and that allows us then to analyze the sustainability of what people cooked with Kuri.
And it's interesting to see that we have a majority of omnivore users despite what one may think that we have mostly vegetarian users. That’s not the case at all. Most of them are omnivore or pescatarian, and yet 80% of the recipes that they cook are meatless recipes because we nudge them towards towards that and we show them beautiful photos of beautiful dishes that really don't need meat, and the carbon footprint of these recipes is also on average 60% smaller than the US average and more than 90% of these recipes are cooked in season respective to the user's region and what's in season around them.
So that's metrics that matter to me. It doesn't matter at all to investors or a lot of people, but to me it matters a lot, and I think it shows that we've heard time and time again, ‘Oh yeah, but eating habits you cannot change that. Better build like carbon capture devices because we're never going to be able to change the way people eat.’ I just think that's not necessarily true, and this is why our ambition is not just to build this cute cooking app.
It's just to be at the center of the eating decisions and grocery shopping decisions of dozens of millions of people, and we will nudge them towards less meat. We'll nudge them towards climate friendly dishes, and they will feel enriched by that experience.
Paul: For sure, yeah, and I've seen the pictures on the app too and they are absolutely gorgeous. So the user itself, do they get like a scorecard of showing their carbon footprint and things like that?
Baptiste: So they don't see their own carbon footprint. Like, we don't track what's the average carbon footprint of the recipes that you've cooked. I mean we don't show that in the app. We don't compute it on the back end either for several reasons. First of all, we noticed that people don't interact so much with the carbon footprint card that you can see on recipes they don't tap on as much as you might think, so the data is not so important.
What's important is that we get the result that I told you. That they cook way less meat than they would normally do, so we don't do this because I'm not sure it's the most the top priority for us, but that could be interesting, but you know, we don't capture all the meals that people cook so it wouldn't necessarily always be relevant or calculate their entire carbon footprint.
James: No, I think that's brilliant though because it's kind of like the diet plan. When you go on a diet you think ‘I am on a diet,’ and every time you see food you think ‘I'm on a diet,’ and it makes you want to eat more because you just think ‘I'm on a diet’ and everything you do is focused on ‘I am on a diet right now. I can't eat it. I'm on a diet.’ Like, it affects your mood. It affects everything, right? Which is why diets don't work, because they're built on telling somebody about what they can't do and putting restrictions on them.
You know, we said that constraint breeds creativity, but it's like this is the wrong kind. When you creatively figure out how to eat different food that breaks your diet, so this I think is cool though because you're doing it like the fuel efficiency gauge on your car that makes a positive impact I think because people look at it. Nobody's like ‘let me drive that thing down to zero,’ but the way that you're doing it is
you're like you said, you're encouraging people. You're getting majority omnivore people to come on the app and to cook recipes that are climate-friendly without explicitly saying ‘hey, Do it for the environment!’ You're not saying do it for the environment, you're kind of saying ‘Look how delicious this food is!’ and people are, without that focus being on environmental sustainability, they're just making really, really good food, but it's helping the entire planet.
So to that extent, what kind of what kind of content do you provide your users, and what thought behind goes behind the different content that you send beyond just the pictures, which, I'm like drooling because they're amazing, but yeah.
Baptiste: So, it's a good question, and we're still early in our journey, so most of the content that we create is recipes and the quality behind it. I've seen it in my past experiences that the quality of the food photography is really important, the user experience, the interface it's really important, so that's been most of our efforts today, but there is an interest maybe there's more niche around like tips for sustainability, like ‘how do you keep cilantro more than three days without it going bad,’ right? Like, that kind of small tips or ‘how do you prevent food waste?’
There is interest for this type of content and so we will get to that point, but right now we're really focused on the quality of the recipe, simply because it's so important that the first time that someone cooks with Kuri it's gonna be a banger. It's going to be something that they love. Like, if it's not, they're not coming back, so it costs five times less to retain a user than to acquire a new one, so we're putting a lot of effort into the quality of the recipes.
Paul: Can you tell us a little more? How do you define the quality of a recipe? What does that process look like?
Baptiste: Yeah, well that's a very very vast question, but first of all I trust with my entire heart the chef, Philippe, that I work with. He used to be a carnivore, like a big meat eater who used to say that vegans were extremists and things like that. That was like 10 years ago when we had these conversations, and we were both clueless about the topic, but he radically changed his position, and he barely eats any meat anymore, and he has a sense of what is good first of all because he's a good like home cook, and he really has a feel of what is accessible for people and what is not accessible.
He's not the kind of chef that will work in a three-star Michelin kitchen and make things that are just completely out of reach of the normal household, so he has a good feel for that and it's kind of indescribable first of all, and then it's the amount of ingredients, how difficult they are to find. We need everything in Kuri because it's personalized so it's gonna sort of like guide you towards something that is suited for you, but yeah, we don't go for any more for recipes but like 28 ingredients with like 16 different spices and things, like that this is not accessible.
This is not something that a family is going to be able to do during the week so it's a subtle balance, we need a little bit of everything, but we need to label everything really well so that our algorithm is going to be able to show the right recipe to the right person, and this topic is becoming similar with the content that we want to post the messages that we want to send, and I'm lucky to be working with a really cool company right now that sounds like personalized push notifications, and it is really important for us, just like we put a lot of effort in the quality of of the recipes to put a lot of effort into the quality of the messages.
Like quality over quantity for sure, and it's just a miracle that you guys are building that kind of tool for us at least for the way that we think about push notifications and messages.
Paul: Okay so tell us more though about, because it's just really interesting to hear your thought process. What I hear is just this, deep simplicity in what you're focused on. I think I've lost track in this short conversation so far of how many times you're like, ‘we're not looking at that yet. We're not looking at that yet.’ I think that's so key, I mean as a startup but also as a mobile app developer, to create that experience, and your focus is a lot clear on the quality of the recipe and just that.
Tell me if you don't want to talk about this yet, but I think eventually you're going to offer a sort of subscription, and that's a key part of of Kuri as a business whether in line with that or just separately maybe if you play it out a little bit further, what are some of the other core value propositions that Kuri might enable, and where we start to see the behavior change elements of this.
Because you've also said earlier on, the way we buy groceries will change and, when I think about cooking so much of it feels to me like a motivation problem like a trade-off problem, like an assignment of attention and effort in a crowded world full of lots of things going on, to have the intentionality and purpose of saying ‘I'm going to cook something rather than do all the easy things that are alternatives to cooking things,’ does Kuri have a role in that? You said that it's possible to change the world by changing behavior, and you've mentioned doing that through nudges. Is changing intentionality part of this and how does that manifest in terms of a feature?
No, it made it really abstract and complicated but now reduce it back to like a feature and add your dash of elegant simplicity. What's the features or the feature that you want to see there that you think is going to be so simple, but so elegantly serving the purpose of the user?
Baptiste: Yeah, that's a very good question. It's a very complicated topic. Like, how do you get someone who never cooks to cook for the first time and get it started? And then they like ‘Oh my, that was so easy! That was so good! I listened to a good podcast while I was cooking! I had a blast! My partner is amazed by the food! I'm such a hero! I'm gonna do it again!’ So that's the experience of the magic moment, right?
So first of all, and that's kind of a disappointing answer, but most people who are going to download the app already have an interest in cooking. First of all I'm not trying to convince someone who never cooks, never buys groceries, to cook, but still let's say it's someone who downloaded the app who has an interest in cooking but still hasn't cooked with Kuri.
Our goal is going to be, maybe look into our analytics and look at the most first-cooked recipes for our users who are the least experienced. We can filter that in our analytics and see, ‘Ok,this is the recipe that they start cooking with and then they cook even more so this might be the best recipe to promote first. This might be the winner, this might be the one that converts you and creates this magic moment.’ That's something that we will explore.
We have a treasure trove of data that we can use to create that magic moment, and you were right about the subscription. The subscription that we're gonna bring introduces a few key features that really sort of like make Kuri transition from a cooking app that you use for inspiration and maybe building your grocery list, which is something that people do a lot, to an app that you can really use on a weekly basis to manage all your meals, all your groceries, and shopping needs, and these features are, for instance, video planning, family mode where everything is synchronized across your household shopping lists, preferences things your kids things like, so that it becomes some sort of operating system for your household when it comes to eating decisions.
So we're moving towards cooking up a little bit more advanced or more sophisticated than some others or not to something that is more convenience based and really like a tool that you use as a tool to manage your weekly life. That's the orientation that we're taking. We still see that the majority of people who actually start cooking with Kuri are people who are interested in cooking. It's much harder to convince people who don't. Of course we have to focus on the ones who do, but later in the later stage we will also have a lot of growth potential, like trying to convince these people who don't cook to try for the first time
James: Yeah, I think there's a big trend happening. People used to make things with their hands. People used to build things. Are you a blacksmith or a cobbler? Or things like that. And today, in the world of social media, if you don't post, if you don't create something, somebody else will fill that void. So I think there's a missing piece that a lot of people have, where we used to create and now we don't create.
And, when you create, to your point, that ‘wow’ moment you have, that sense of accomplishment you have, you did something - you did this something you can hold in your hand. Something you can serve to others and show people and there's this whole feeling that I think a lot of people are missing out on now because in the culture we don't create. We don't physically create. You get your meals delivered and things like that. Everything just kind of happens, and you just kind of exist through it, so I think what you're doing has so much more purpose than even what it shows on the surface, which is really cool
So I did have one note too that I really, really liked and it was something that you told us separately, not on this not on this call, but it was everything that you say you mentioned that you have a deep respect for your users and you've said it a few times here and like ‘I don't want to give recipes that have a thousand ingredients. I don't want to create things that are inaccessible, that look pretty in a picture, but you can't cook at home.’
You mentioned it with notifications you said ‘I didn't want to send people notifications because I've received them all and they're really annoying when I get them most of the time, so I want to make sure that what I send adds value to everybody's life.’ So I guess it isn't so much a question as a compliment but, throughout the entire process, the one strand that I see that's been really consistent is not just food, not just being low carbon footprint. It’s clear that you have a deep care and compassion for your user base.
You mentioned the retention statistic which is funny because most people say it ‘Oh yeah, it costs five times less to keep somebody’ a lot of people have heard it, a lot of people know it, and a lot of people say it. Very few actually live it out, and I think that you do, and you can see it in everything from the simplicity of your app, to the features you offer, to your standpoint of ‘I don't want to add a feature if it's going to bother people or if it's going to annoy them or if it's going to drive them away,’ because and I think people can sense it down from the first Reddit post that you mentioned, to the reason why you continue to get featured in the App Store - It’s because of that level of of care that you have and and it's balanced out even in the content that you were talking about offering.
It's just it's cool to see because you can actually see it. You guys are living it out, and it's so cool. You're not just loading the top of the funnel, and ‘we'll get whatever trickles out,’ you're like ‘We're trying to build something bigger here.’ I think people can sense that and that's probably why probably why your attention is really good.
Baptiste: Thank you so much, that's a lot of compliments. I must say though that, regarding push notifications, I think the main reason we hardly push any notification until we discovered you guys was the fear of not being relevant, and of course to bother people but like it it it still is an obsession to be relevant for us.
It's relevant in the suggestions that we make and things like that and we cannot be perfect, but we're getting there, and with the messages it was even more true like what message should I bother people with? It has to be interesting and I think my thought process on this has also drastically matured with conversations with you guys. And you said something interesting James, most of the time when you receive a notification that is from ubereats or whatnot, it's going to be like ‘order now! Order now! You're probably hungry! Order some food now!’ and most of the time it's not the right timing, it's not the right moment, so you're not gonna actually take action, and your emotional response to this is that you're gonna sort lower the score of uber in your mind, but it still remains like top of mind, so they're still doing something good I guess for for their business.
And you said something that you're rarely gonna be perfect on timing when you suggest the recipe to cook, but you can at least send a message that's gonna reinforce the love that people have for your app for your brand reinforce the reason why they downloaded your app, and I think it yeah inspired me a lot and inspired us in the messages that we created about celebrating the fact that these people took time to download this app that they have the intention to cook more seasonally to cook healthier recipes, so let's celebrate that and not bother them with like, ‘You have to cook this now!,’ but bring them something interesting that is aligned with the brand, with our values, and I think that this is something that really took shape with the conversations that we had, so thank you.
James: Awesome! Yeah I'd love to take credit, but that was all Paul. But I think we get in the trap of thinking that's what they have to be, because those are the push notifications we get, so we think that's what they have to be.
They have to be high pressure, high pressure, high pressure, and one thing we talked about that's unique to you guys is if you're recommending healthy food, but I'm having a rough day, so I just am going to throw a pizza in the oven and just call today a failure and tomorrow will be a new day - if I get all these notifications like “Cook healthy now! Cook healthy now!” it might actually make me feel bad. Like not just annoy me, but make me feel bad because, what am I poisoning my kids by just throwing this pizza in the oven, whereas I should be making like this amazing linguine or something?
So yeah, I like the thought process that came from Paul too, that there's a greater mission. It's so helpful when your app has a great mission and yours has a great mission. It has these undertones that someone can be proud of having your app on their phone even if they're not cooking that night, because it's like ‘Congrats! because you've made three of these. Like you're in the top 1%’ or whatever as an example, but it's just making you feel accomplished.
The second thing it does is it helps your word of mouth, so I think about ‘what is a notification you would get from a company that you would slide your phone across the table to somebody else and go, ‘check that out,’’ and I think some of yours, like the Tomato fact is one that just stuck with me, that a natural, organically-grown tomato makes seven times less greenhouse gases than one that's made in a actual greenhouse, like that's one that it's so interesting I would stop and I would tell somebody.
Like I told my wife, like ‘check this out. This is so cool!’ And I read her the list, because I can cheat and see all the push notifications at the same time, I read through all the facts. Like, this is so awesome.
But how many push notifications do you get? I just got another Starbucks one that's like today's double star day. Who am I gonna be like ‘hey, it's double star day! Just like yesterday was and the day before that.’ So that's where I think you're on the right path and I love that you’ve been so proactive in building these lists and creating new and interesting facts and fun things. It's been really, really fun to watch and kind of learn with you, and it makes me excited for the people who are who are going to get them as well because I know they'll have the same reaction
So really broad question to end it, but one of my favorite ones along those same lines, so throughout this entire process what is the like most fun or interesting thing you've learned, and it can be about building the app, being featured in the App Store. It can be about the product itself or about the customers who use it, but like what's been one of your most interesting things that you've come across in this whole process of creating?
Baptiste: Yeah, so we talked about some small facts that are like mind-blowing and they're fun to to talk about, but I think, when I look at who I was before I started this and what I believed in or what I thought, what I knew, and where I am today, and the opinions that I was sort of like loosely holding back then - about I don't know food, agriculture, veganism, whatever - it just made me realize that I know nothing, and I'm trying to have less opinions now because I'm probably gonna be wrong on something that I haven't really thoroughly studied.
And we hear all the time opinions and opinions on stuff whether it's on Twitter or LinkedIn and most of the time now I look at the subject, and I'm like ‘well, I'm gonna take this with a pinch of salt because I know nothing and I'm sure that it's probably wrong,’ so I think it all taught me to be a little bit more humble about people's choices and decisions and understanding that I don't have the full picture, and I'll probably want to have. So yeah, be a little bit less judgmental of things, and I have to try to add less opinions. I think that’s the biggest lesson.
James: That's cool. That’s a lot more than that, that's deep, that's good. That’s one of those things where you're like, when you start to create an app or you're like I'm gonna do this so that when I'm done I'm gonna be so much more of a better person at the end and less judgmental and whatever.
No that's good I love this though, you have a good purpose for like the whole the whole process is based on a solid person.
This has been really fun! Thank you for joining us for episode one! This is gonna be really hard to follow, so what the heck?
Again, this will be the anthropology podcast! This will be episode number one, and we'll be available hopefully everywhere that you listen to podcasts and enjoy listening to podcasts, so thank you again for joining us and we'll sign off!