Liz Gannes

Recent Posts by Liz Gannes

Snapguide App Lets Users Create How-To Guides on the Go

Snapguide today launches to the public a mobile service for creating and consuming step-by-step guides. The app helps users contribute how-tos on topics like cooking, gardening and repairs, by using a template that allows for photos, videos and supply lists.

For now, Snapguide’s main offering is an iOS app, though it also works for the Web and mobile Web. Some sample guides I found while perusing included “how to make tofu,” “how to catch Dungeness crabs” and “how to make French macarons.”

(That last one consists of 29 intricate steps, resulting in delicious and perfect-looking cookies that I’m sure I could never equal.)

Despite how intimidating some of the individual lessons may seem, Snapguide is one of those apps that feels good in the palm of your hand. It is nice-looking, functional and snappy.

San Francisco-based Snapguide, which raised $2 million in seed funding last year, is far from the first company of its kind. For instance, there are structured competitors like Mightybell and Instructables, plus all sorts of free-form recipe and DIY communities. Perhaps the biggest differentiator is that Snapguide is mobile-first.

“Creating on a device that is always on you simplifies creation and encourages real-time documentation, which is very different than coming back to something later,” Snapguide co-founder and CEO Daniel Raffel told me.

Despite the polish of their first release, Raffel and his co-founder, Steve Krulewitz, weren’t previously known for their mobile work; Raffel formerly worked on Yahoo Pipes, while Krulewitz worked on Google Chrome.

Another thing: Snapguide’s highly structured format asks a lot from its guide creators — versus something like Pinterest, where users can contribute content without doing much work.

“We’ve simplified it as much as is possible,” Raffel said. “I think people enjoy sharing the things they do. This is a visual way to do that, and it’s easy to broadcast to other social networks.”

Raffel said his goal is to make Snapguide a community “where people are learning together.”

If only I could find the time and patience to make those macarons.


Latest Video

View all videos »

Search »

The problem with the Billionaire Savior phase of the newspaper collapse has always been that billionaires don’t tend to like the kind of authority-questioning journalism that upsets the status quo.

— Ryan Chittum, writing in the Columbia Journalism Review about the promise of Pierre Omidyar’s new media venture with Glenn Greenwald