August 12, 2013

Moved to TripAdvisor Media Group with VirtualTourist

I have moved on again. Well, it was back in March, but I haven’t blogged since then, so consider this my announcement. Just as I was getting excited to work on some new projects with Citysearch, storms started brewing at Citygrid. I began to passively look for other job opportunities in case things went south with Citygrid. Due to experiencing layoffs and changes in the executive team, I had reason to be wary. I was offered a position with Foursquare that was mighty tempting, but I am currently grounded in LA due to family and my fiancée. So now I was stuck at a company in a very unsure position with no job prospects. Luckily, my fiancée’s father had recently started with TripAdvisor in November of ‘12 and had heard about an iOS developer position with VirtualTourist in the TripAdvisor LA office. I took a position there for mostly practical reasons.

I spent my last few weeks at Citygrid shelving my year’s work and pushing forward an effort to make Cityseries a reality. The Cityseries iPad app was eventually published in a sad state after I left. They were focused on their guides product which seems to have mostly flopped. Two days after I left Citygrid, the whole team I had been working with on Insiderpages.com, including my fiancée, were all laid off. Sadly, all of our work was canned and the entire company has gone into a defensive state as it slowly fades into anonymity and eeks out small profit. The company underwent more layoffs and a new CEO, so I think it was a good time to leave.

My fiancée took some much deserved rest and is now working away at our church building a great new site and overall look for the church. I am working on multiple mobile initiatives with TripAdvisor and VirtualTourist. Virtual Tourist wants to create a better mobile web experience while also creating some native mobile apps to help travelers share and organize photo albums. I am looking forward to bringing some innovation to Virtual Tourist and leveraging TripAdvisor’s new meta product/experience to create excellent mobile hotel research experiences. Like I mention in my article Startups Aren’t The Only Place To Innovate, there are many advantages to big companies and this is definitely true with the TripAdvisor Media Group. The resources and customers that TripAdvisor provides are an excellent starting point for any startup. TripAdvisor has also been snatching up several companies in exciting spaces such as Jetsetter, GateGuru, and TinyPost, which shows they are very interested in mobile. I hope innovation can thrive throughout the TripAdvisor Media Group, and I can be a small part of it at VirtualTourist.

If anyone is reading this, I would love to get some feedback on what you think needs to change in the hotel/flights/vacation research process on web and mobile or any general ideas regarding VirtualTourist, TripAdvisor, or travel in general. Hit me up @iAmChrisTruman

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