For Guides

Engineering Guide Friendly Solutions: Nick Larson, AnyCreek Co-Founder and CTO

Innovative solutions for the guiding community should be streamlined and simple.

Interview by Chris Collins

The interconnectedness between our lives with technology is ever present, and important to address with purpose. For guides who spend their days outdoors — and for the adventure seekers who wish to join them — digital technology should be nothing more than an easy to use toolset to get those adventures underway. In building that perfect platform, AnyCreek strives for simplicity.

In this article, we spotlight an important face behind building our platform. AnyCreek’s CTO and co-founder, Nick Larson, loves highlighting the “why” while building this platform. Behind each feature lies careful analysis of pain points, and a deep understanding of what can make the lives of guides and adventure seekers easier.

What drew you to AnyCreek after working in software engineering for the past twenty years?

The companies I’ve worked at have primarily been tech to tech, as I call it. A large majority of the userbase was already pretty familiar with technology to some degree. Many were even in the tech space themselves. I can’t stress how much I learned from these experiences, using the latest technologies and working with some of the best minds. However, I was interested in the challenge of guiding individuals less familiar with technology into the online realm to modernize their business practices. Seeing this outdoor community and seeing — from my experience — the way an updated online platform could be the solution, I immediately knew there and then that AnyCreek needed to be built. For the guides whose lives could be easier, and for the customers who get more from their guided trip once their guides can focus all their time and attention on the experience. At the end of the day, I wanted to take what I love doing, and have been doing since I was a kid — writing code — and use it to create a tool to help people get outdoors and do what they love.

What are some of the main problems you set out to solve with AnyCreek?

Time wasted, miscommunication, lost communication, scheduling difficulties, organizational issues, how guide’s get paid… There were a lot of things that I saw that could be improved — solved really — by housing all the information for booking guided trips under one convenient, easy-to-use domain: AnyCreek. I’ve heard horror stories about guides not getting paid, trips getting canceled, and getting all this feedback from the guide community about what could be better. I started out by asking guides and listening to what was going wrong. But beyond seeing what’s wrong or not working and fixing it, we’re being proactive. We’re thinking about what isn’t a problem now, but what could make a guide’s life easier down the road, as they scale. We’re trying to remove anything that might get in the way of getting outdoors. We’re creating a network of guides right at your fingertips and providing both the adventure seeker and the guide with the most up-to-date features possible to do what they love.

How do you know when you’ve improved functionality or simplified the booking process — for guides and adventure seekers?

We’re testing everything all the time. Dogfooding — funny word — but great practice. Essentially, everything we put out we put through the ringer ourselves to see if it has the desired effect of making things easier. If there are bugs, hold-ups, or things aren’t as smooth as we imagined, we know because we feel it when we test it ourselves. Additionally, we know by having an open relationship with the guides on our platform. We want all the feedback we can get. We want to know what the experience is like using these tools to help earn their livelihood. Before, during, and after the process of implementing a new feature, we’re constantly having conversations with guides and users, getting constant feedback. We hear directly what works, what doesn’t work, and collect this understanding not just for what we’re implementing now, but to apply to future projects. Our goal is to stay in this loop of solving and improving, and it’s only made possible by having the open relationships that we do with the customers and guides who rely on AnyCreek.

What tools are there in place now that make guides’ and customers' lives easier?

We’ve put in a lot of work across all of the features on our platform, from an easy-to-navigate home page for users, to a robust referral network for guides and outfitters, but the two that I’m most proud of are the calendar and Inbox features. With the calendar, guides can see all their trips for any given month at the click of a button, as well as integrate directly with their existing calendars. It makes scheduling easier, seeing how many trips you have, and how much you can expect to earn in a month; all the essentials as a guide right in front of you. When we make things streamlined for the guides, the clients can feel the results too. Guides can take more trips, spend the necessary time communicating with you, and prepare for upcoming trips without worrying about things getting lost in the shuffle and minutiae of small business management. With the Inbox feature, clients can get in touch with a guide before booking their trip, which is an absolute game changer. You can discuss any and all details, and get comfortable before committing to a trip. It’s this loop where, now, booking becomes really clear and streamlined for both parties.

When you imagine a “completed” AnyCreek, what does it look like?

I don't think there will ever be a completed AnyCreek. We are and always will be building, coming up with new ideas, and improving existing ones. The goal is to keep things simple as we grow, and as our guides grow with us. Whether you’re an independent guide, outfitter, or full-service fly shop, we strive to keep scaling our product to make things as simple as possible at all stages of the trip experience. We have a team here at AnyCreek that I’m incredibly proud of and confident in. We are never satisfied with where we are. The whole purpose of this platform is where you can go with it, and that’s something we’re even more passionate about.

Have an idea about what we could be doing better, don’t hesitate to reach out using the “Contact” feature on our website.

What is AnyCreek?

AnyCreek is the leading online resource and marketplace for outdoor guided experiences. Trusted by world-class guides, AnyCreek streamlines their back office to help them focus on their craft. Discover and book your next adventure with confidence.

© 2024 AnyCreek. Made in USA. 🇺🇸

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