Wednesday, November 28, 2012


If you tend to be a pretty indecisive person, you might want to give Polar a try.

The app, which was released on the iPhone earlier this month, lets users quickly set up polls to get feedback on timely issues ranging from purchasing decisions (i.e. “Do I look good in this coat?”) to pressing personal debates (i.e. “Should I still propose to my girlfriend this weekend if it’s going to rain?”).

Each poll is set up to be a choice between two polar opposite responses (hence the app’s name). Users can either solicit feedback from friends only or from the general community, and then track the tally of votes as they come in to help inform their decision. Those interested in giving their opinions can sift through lists of popular polls, recent polls or a customized feed of polls posted by people they know.

Polar is the brainchild of Luke Wroblewski, a former Yahoo VP and the co-founder of BagCheck, which was later acquired by Twitter, and Jeff Cole, the CTO and co-founder of Patients Like Me, an online community for patients to discuss treatments.

The seasoned startup founders spent a lot of time perfecting the app to ensure that it is, in Wroblewski’s words, as “fast, fun and friction-less” as possible. The end result is an app with a very visual interface that’s easy to navigate. The team tested to make sure users can quickly create a poll with just one finger, built links between native and mobile web experiences to enable sharing polls on the web and worked on its background processes to make the app faster.






















On paper, Polar may sound similar to other Q&A services like Quora, but Wroblewski says their goal is to focus on a different use case. ”We are not aiming for the definitive answer to ‘Why is the sky blue?’ like Quora. We deal with more immediate questions,” he said. “Hence the huge focus on mobile and making it fast.”

Wroblewski says that his standard for whether an app is an interesting idea is whether it’s “something that’s interesting to you every day.” To that end, his goal in the coming months is to get enough engagement on the app that any user can post a question and get multiple responses within a few minutes, providing truly “immediate feedback.” If they can do that, Polar may just live up to Wroblewski’s standard of being an app people want to use every day.