Taste and art are often intertwined like long-lost lovers, one of whom has flown in from the Andes and the other from Boise.The art here is that claims it has a proprietary algorithm that ranks places and events for "hotness." I suspect that you and I (and the hamsters pushing the algorithmic wheel at Distinc.tt) already have our own idea of hotness." Indeed, describes itself as "clean, social, and fun." CEO Michael Belkin told me that this is very different from, say, Grindr: "If you go on Grindr, people change their headline sometimes to 'Visiting tonight, does anyone know the best place to go out?'" Belkin says he's launching because he became "disgusted by the tasteless torsos and imagery on gay social sites and apps." He wants "the good-taste part of the gay stereotype to gain traction with advertisers and cross the mainstream divide." In this, he has some very famous and tasteful investors -- old Pay Pal pals Peter Thiel and Keith Rabois, to name but two. The fine urban studies theorist Richard Florida has offered that cities thrive when they attract a dynamic gay population.Instead, and I'm quoting the company now, "uses real-time collective knowledge to connect trendsetting crowds and travelers to the places and people that best reflect their distinct interests." Implicit in this rococo marketing speak is the notion that gay people know where it's at before, you know, other sorts of people do. In the i Tunes store, has a charming way of describing itself: "Finally, an LGBT app that you can bring home to Mom! Here's how I found out where the very crunchiest baguettes are at!
People were using the app to address social issues like knowing one's HIV status. Looking for answers to my questions, I found myself having a candid, in-your-face, fact-filled conversation with Hornet's CEO and co-founder, Sean Howell. The other apps just didn't seem to deliver what we knew was possible from a technology perspective.Even when I was bored, I thought that Grindr simply lacked the kind of fun and sophistication that piqued my interest.Moreover, I had long given up on dating sites such as Adam4Adam, Manhunt and even Gay.com; they'd started to have the feel of a bathhouse or a seedy bar.Do you feel that the gay community is all too often symbolized by shiny torsos with a body fat percentage below 3? Some very clever Harvard types (are there any other kind?Do you sense that when you think of gay apps, the first that comes to mind is Grindr? ) believe that, when it comes to apps, the gay community hasn't offered the full bloom of its most tasteful side. This, they claim, is "the only gay social app approved by the i Tunes store for 12-year-olds and older." Before you mount your high, sweaty horse and exert a moral gallop over the idea, might I say that this app doesn't have sex at its core? Here's an extract: "With an emphasis on good taste, is sleekly designed to easily lead users to the right event, restaurant, party, or vacation spot for the moment or upcoming calendar, where their friends are or plan to go soon." Just as Google tells you there are "right" ads and "wrong" ones, so here you can have access to the "right" events, rather than quiz night at your local Uzbek potato vodka bar.The gay community has a lot of sexual energy, but we also have a lot more to us than just that. Lopez: What purposes does Hornet serve other than hooking up, and why?Howell: We, the staff at Hornet, are made up of bleeding-heart homos whose backgrounds are [as] VCs, technologists and activists. You can see it in the app store reviews and the 200 feedback emails that come in each day.Victor Lopez: What inspired you to create such an application? The future of smart technology is just beginning, so we expect to see a lot of evolution here, and we're in the best position to implement it.Aside from my background as an analyst, I am also an activist and really wanted something different than Grindr.Nowadays there seems to be a mobile app for everything, including dating.Long before my last breakup, I deleted Grindr, a smartphone app that is a household name in most gay circles, from my phone.