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Detour is a San Francisco, CA based company that set out to offer “immersive, location-aware audio walks” and completely knocked it out of the park.


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I usually have a really bad attitude about tourist attractions, so when my wife and I were in San Francisco a couple weeks ago I was a little annoyed when she asked me if I wanted to do a self-guided audio tour at Fisherman’s Wharf. I would have said no, but it was through a new startup that her former boss founded, so I figured it was worth a shot. The company is called Detour, and the audio tour was absolutely amazing. I usually hate this kind of stuff, but it was probably the most enjoyable 90 minutes of the entire trip (and that’s including The Serpentarium!). The San Francisco, CA based company set out to offer “immersive, location-aware audio walks,” and they completely knocked it out of the park. They took the audio tour and turned it into something remarkable.

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Why did the Detour impress me so much? It just worked. Amy and I did the tour together, and we were automatically synched up. If she paused, I paused. If I paused, she paused. If we stopped to take a little bit longer at a point of interest, the audio paused. Multiple times I had to take out my earbuds to see if the sound was real or part of the tour. There was even a homeless person sleeping in the exact spot that it told us to expect one as we rounded a corner. Every detail of the experience was right–except for the boats that were out fishing instead of at the dock for us to observe, but the app has pictures for when the thing that’s supposed to be there isn’t there–but it was the quality of the content that blew me away. You get to know real characters and hear their stories–it’s not some docent reciting facts.

I could keep gushing about Detour, but you just have to try it. The app isn’t available to the public yet, but you can sign up to be notified when it comes out of beta. For now, you’ll have to take my word for it or find a way to get an invite. In the meantime, you will want to take a look at Detour’s Jobs page. Right now they’re looking for a Full Stack Engineer, a Senior iOS Engineer, a Composer, Detour Creators, an Editor, and a Sound Designer. Take a look and see if any of the positions might be a fit for you.

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