WVU student's site aids decision process
CHARLESTON, W.Va. - Corey Zinn has always been indecisive. He's whiled away many an evening with friends, struggling to decide what to do.
"I've always had these situations where I have a list of things that I would like to do or eat or whatever, and I don't even care what I do or pick, but for some reason in my head I just can't make a decision," he said.
"I always thought, I wish I could just put it all on a wheel and spin it and let that decide for me."
Zinn, a student at West Virginia University and a Charleston native, has done just that with his new website, www.wheeldecide.com.
The site gives users a spinning wheel to use in case of indecision. It's up to the user to put in the options - up to 50 of them and anything from shoe colors to types of restaurant. But once the user does that and "spins" the wheel with a single click, all the work is done. The wheel makes the decision, landing on one of the options at random.
"Even if you don't end up doing what it actually lands on, it gets you talking and thinking about it differently," Zinn said.
Zinn built the site with his brother, Gareth Lewis. Lewis is the tech-savvy one - he's a software developer in the Detroit area. Zinn, a marketing major at WVU, is more into ideas and figuring out how to bring the site to the masses.
"I think a lot in terms of an entrepreneur," Zinn said. "I've always wanted to just come up with one thing, and it's a great, simple idea and you become successful off that one thing. I guess I'm always subconsciously thinking of things like that."
The quest for success has been a slow but steady process. Wheel Decide launched in October and has expanded ever since. It had more than 800 page visits in January alone, a modest but not insignificant achievement for such a young site.
"It's not too shabby," Zinn said. "Considering the size of the Internet, it's a small portion, but we're obviously getting somewhere."
They've seen people using the wheel in all kinds of different ways. A lot of people use it for restaurants, but someone put clothing choices on it. One person filled it with Japanese characters, and while they don't know what it means, Zinn and Lewis are thrilled that it found its way to someone using another language.
Lewis has also built in features that tie the wheel to other interfaces, like a Google search for local restaurants, Flixter for movie show times or top rentals, and Eventful for local concerts. And the brothers have started building a bunch of wheels that they think could have mass appeal. Right now, the featured wheels include the "Lunch Wheel," "Wheel of Dinner," "Who Goes First?" and one that simulates a Magic 8 Ball.
They're promoting those wheels, and the site in general, on social media (Wheel Decide has Facebook and Twitter accounts). They also recently built a version that can be embedded on another website and are trying to get other sites involved. They'd love to see businesses incorporate the wheel on their own websites to help nudge their customers toward a decision.
And they'd like to make money from it eventually. They haven't put advertising on the website yet - they're trying to build their audience before they do.
"We're more trying to add value than make money at this point," Zinn said. "We want it to be good first."
Contact writer Shay Maunz at firstname.lastname@example.org or 304-348-4886.