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Interview With Stephen Foster, The Founder And CEO At The Social Technology Group

Below is our recent interview with Stephen Foster, the Founder and CEO at The Social Technology Group:

Q: Could you provide our readers with a brief introduction to your company?

A: The Social Technology Group has one simple mission; we want to get people together. I have always been the person that gets invited to things but is too uncomfortable to try to make plans. Being a strong introvert with some extrovert tendencies left my social life wanting. So I have always been fascinated by the idea of an app that can make plans for me. Everything fell into place about two years ago when I got tired of hours of trying to decide where to eat with my girlfriend because we had conflicting dietary restrictions. It started as a randomizer to pick a mutually liked restaurant for two people into what could potential be used at every touchpoint a diner has between deciding they want to go out all the way through to them getting home after their meal. And at the heart of it, it is a decision engine so it can be used in other applications as well.

Q: Any highlights on your recent announcement?

A: I would just like to highlight that this is version 1.0 and we left it pretty basic. We have a ton of ideas, but we want our users to tell us how they want to use social-eats. We want our community to be active in the development of social-eats. No one knows the users like the users. We can come up with some pretty creative solutions if our users have ideas. And that is the same reason we decided that we will be doing at least part of our fundraising via WeFunder. We want our users to benefit from our success. I guess you could say I am a sucker for democracy; I want to democratize dinner and fundraising. By the people, for the people is one of our core values.

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Q: Can you give us more insights into your offering?

A: Social-eats is the first of what we hope to be many applications of the platform. Users can explore the restaurants around you and we track what you like and what you don’t like. Or you can use the tinder style swipe left/right format. Then we connect to your contacts to see who else has an account. So if you and a friend have an account, you can add them to your friends list and send them meal invitations. We are focusing on bringing your existing network closer together.

To send an invitation all you have to do is pick a time and date, who you want to invite, then pick a few restaurants from a list that is generated from only the restaurants everyone on the invitation likes. Making sure that when we go out for pizza, I don’t have to sip awkwardly on my drink because they don’t have any gluten-free options.

Next, everyone votes for where they want to go. No one has to make the final decision, alleviating the need for back and forth texts or conversations that end up being everyone sitting on their phone Googling “best restaurants near me” and trying to find menus everyone can tolerate.

After everyone votes or declines, we give you the information to call the winner and make reservations. Or just show up and get on the waiting list.

Q: What can we expect from your company in next 6 months? What are your plans?

A: The next 6 months isn’t all that exciting. Lots of testing and refinement. We already have a lot of great suggestions for improvements, so we are implementing those. Within the next six months, we will implement the framework that will allow restaurants to customize their profile to add things like pictures, descriptions, menus, filter tags (so that way, if they have a good gluten-free crust they can add the gluten-free tag and they will show up when someone adds me to an invite, their restaurant will show up on the search for pizza), and we also want to add things like being able to advertise specials or events. And all of this information is right there in front of the users as they are deciding where to go. And I can’t think of a better time to reach a potential customer than as they are making their decision.

That’s just the start. We are planning to integrate calendar applications and reservation platforms so we can find what restaurants have reservations available for times that work for your group. Just to list a few others; bar hopping mode, influencer profiles(see what your favorite food influencer likes), and CRM integration so your sales team can book a business lunch without leaving the CRM system. Every time we talk to someone new, we get new ideas so this really is just the very tip of the iceberg.

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Q: What is the best thing about your company that people might not know about?

A: Both founders are Marine Corps veterans. Roger was briefly my Commanding General, then my manager at another company, and now partner. But it still is an adjustment. A couple of years ago, I would have been scrubbing toilets, raking gravel, repainting, and polishing everything that can be polished if he even had plans to potentially come visit our unit, and now I am asking him to do stuff.

I also have plans to be very active in the communities. I want to have local representatives all over the country that organize community events and really do what they can to support our customers. I am also planning a veteran training and career track, because you have to give back to the community that raised you.

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