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Featured on Jan 18, 2011

Ryan Charles

"I think it's unfair Hasbro is the only company that makes Monopoly."


I’m the Co-Founder of Consmr, an app that uses crowd-sourced reviews to help people shop smarter. I graduated from Brown University, and was formerly the Head of Mobile at Zagat where I ensured people found great places to eat.

What’s Consmr’s mission and why start the company?

Barry Schwartz has a famous TED Talk about the “Paradox of Choice.” What do we do when we’re faced with thousands of product choices? How do we find the best products? I want Consmr to be the people’s product guide; a mobile way to help you make purchase decisions. We’ve all experienced buyer’s remorse and alternatively been delighted when a product is great. That’s the inspiration. Buy once, buy right.

You and your brother used to run a comic book business. How did that get started?

When I was young, I used to keep comics so I could draw the characters. Next thing you know, it was a collection. By the time I was 10, we were buying and selling comic books at scale. Over the years we sold at conventions and eventually I started selling online through eBay and a dedicated website. We still have about 10,000 comics in storage.

Since 2009 you’ve participated in at least 25 panels and presentations ranging from the launch of Consmr at CTIA to the HBS Cyberposium and multiple presentations at NYTM. Which event has been your personal favorite and why?

Harvard Business School and NYTM were particularly memorable. At HBS I spoke about mobile operating systems and dissected Rovio’s (Angry Birds) approach to Android. After the presentation someone came up to me and said it was a great analysis of their strategy. Turns out it was the CEO of Rovio.

At NYTM I’ve presented both as a brand and a startup. A few years ago I used a live video camera to demo one of the first augmented reality apps (NRU). More recently I presented Consmr and got a few laughs while at it. The audience is truly supportive of local tech.

What mobile industry developments excite you?

Facebook’s move from HTML5 to native apps probably shaves a few minutes off my day. LTE phones becoming standard across all carriers makes for a huge incentive to upgrade to the latest devices. It entices people to upgrade from older phones that are difficult for smaller companies to support. Finally, gloves that let you use your smartphone during the cold NYC winters are finally improving!