Voices of AnyCreek • Updated Fri, Nov 3, 2023
Truly wild experiences distance us from technology, but getting outside shouldn’t be difficult.
Interview by Liam Thropp.
Technology connects us, enhances our lived experience, and guides us through unknown frontiers of all sorts. As in society more broadly, technology in the outdoor space has quickly formed the backbone of how we research, recreate, and shop. The advent of outdoor tech has redefined “the road less traveled,” revolutionized the gear we use, and unearthed countless opportunities for adventure that did not exist thirty years ago. Like it or not, technological advancement is a driving force in the outdoors, and it’s here to stay. In fact, some may say it always has been here. More on that in this article.
While hard goods manufacturers and craftsmen are seemingly wed to the cutting edge of technology — in rods and reels, flies and lures, guns and ammunition, bows and arrows, clothing and gear — the modern adventure seeker is evolving as well. Hunters and anglers seeking unique experiences want faster, safer, more efficient ways to find their next hunt or fishing trip.
New platforms and advancements by software companies like AnyCreek have eliminated many of the pain points experienced by both outdoorsmen and guides alike. Much like how Airbnb revolutionized the lodging search for travelers and homeowners, AnyCreek has changed the game by increasing the visibility of quality guided experiences for outdoorsmen — while giving busy guides an easier way to manage their business and find new clients. Guides are notoriously difficult to get in touch with, and this is partially by design. The best outdoor guides spend much of their time in the field, often from dawn til dusk, perfecting their craft so as to provide clients with an unforgettable experience. After all, cellular service is not a parameter for finding new lies for trophy trout, productive flats for fishing, or the best cover for upland bird hunting.
In this article, we sit down with our own co-founder and CEO, Benjamin Lazarov, to dig deeper into his mission to create the best technology for finding and booking incredible outdoor experiences.
When was it that you realized the importance of a system like AnyCreek to facilitate the process of booking a guided trip?
It first came to me when I was on a trip to Manchester, Vermont for a wedding. I was alone and had given myself an extra day because I wanted to go fishing. I’d heard so much about the history of the rivers around that region, but had never had the opportunity to visit. When I arrived, I thought, surely I can just go to the front desk of the Orvis flagship store and book a guide. But when I asked the lady for guide recommendations, she looked at me like I was crazy. She disappeared into the back office and five minutes later came back with a piece of printer paper where she had printed out seven guides, phone numbers, and emails. “Here, go for it,” she said. This was her solution. I spent the next 10 minutes calling down the list, and of course, nobody answered, because they were all out on the water. I kept thinking to myself “this system is ripe for improvement. I'm in this beautiful area. I've got a full day tomorrow. There’s got to be somebody that can take me fishing, but I can't find them.” There was no availability, no marketplace, and nobody called me back until the next day only to tell me that they were booked! At that point, I really started to research and dig into why a cohesive resource for guides and their businesses doesn't exist.
Especially as someone looking for a guide, it’s hard when you have little to start with. Do you think there are any problems with the outdoor industry today?
The best parts about this industry are also fundamental problems with this industry. The guiding space is both incredibly diverse and incredibly fragmented. By design, the outdoor industry is both localized and intentionally offline. This can make it really difficult to understand much about a guided experience you want to go on. There’s been no real understanding of what a great guided operation looks like digitally — other than on social media — until now.
Some folks view the outdoors and tech as inherently separate. How is AnyCreek avoiding the pitfalls of tech companies in other sectors?
AnyCreek is very different from a lot of other tech companies in that we're actually trying to limit your time online and maximize your time outside. Our goal is to minimize screen time and keystrokes while running an outdoor business or looking for your next adventure. Tech companies are now built to keep the user on the platform and keep them engaged. Instagram wants you to keep scrolling, Amazon wants you to keep shopping. Tech companies are investing right now to maximize the time you spend on their platform and pull you deeper into their virtual ecosystem. Why do that when you can go experience the most beautiful places on earth? Tech’s biggest value will always lie in facilitating connections that transcend the digital world and form meaningful connections between real people. This is how AnyCreek operates.
What has helped AnyCreek the most in striving to be best in class?
This business is fueled by passion. Each member of the team in some respect is active in the outdoors, wanting to showcase great experiences and make them accessible to all. Professionally, they come with expertise from some of the largest and most successful fast-paced businesses of all time like Dropbox, Uber, DoorDash, Costa Sunglasses, and Compass. This shows in the work and I’m thrilled to work alongside them. And that's not to mention our world-class guides and outfitter partners. These are some outstanding humans who trust us to help streamline their businesses, and provide constant feedback to help us improve our product each and every day.
How do you believe AnyCreek best limits time spent searching for guided experiences?
The process of finding and booking a hunting or fishing trip is so cumbersome that without a platform, you waste time searching, calling, texting, and waiting for responses. Without a marketplace, you spend more time on the screen, more time researching, and more time figuring out what place looks good and where you should go. You have to independently address the questions: “is it the right time of year to fish? Can I take multiple people on the boat or should I book two boats? Is this price the best? What about the reviews?” The answers to all of these questions have lived in different places until now.
AnyCreek makes it as easy as possible to find a worthy guided experience for whatever pursuit, locale, and price point fits the bill. Whether you’re a novice or veteran angler or hunter, you deserve to spend less time on your devices and more time afield.
To learn more about guided experiences and life in the outdoors, explore the AnyCreek Outdoor Academy, or browse our selection of guided fishing and hunting trips.
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.