Commodifying Friendship

Caitlin Dewey:

Clay Kohut’s pitch for his new app, Ameego, is so absurd that it’s best to let him deliver it.

“With Uber, you rent a stranger’s car,” he begins.

“With Airbnb, you rent a stranger’s home.” Mhmm.

“With Ameego … you rent a stranger!” What?

“It’s a logical progression,” he reassures.

The Texas-born developer and entrepreneur is, as you may have suspected, a full-on millennial, just shy of 26 years old. He’s a member of a generation in which “progress” follows slightly different rules. Upon sensing a problem — such as, say, the glut of young people who find themselves in new cities, without their old friends — Kohut and his cohort hesitate but a moment before deploying apps to solve it.

In the past month, this class of fresh-faced entrepreneurs has launched the buzzy Hey! Vina, an app that “helps women find new friends,” Bro, an ambiguous social-network-slash-dating-app for “men interested in meeting other men,” and Rendezwho, which connects distant people through a series of “Buzzfeed-style questions.” They’ve pitched start-ups with self-explanatory and slightly pathetic names, like “LykeMe” and “Woez” and “Go Find Friends.” They’ve attempted a “Tinder for meeting people” and a “Meetup for spontaneous get-togethers.”

Those last two failed. Ameego won’t, Kohut insists.

“We’re the first ones to commodify friendship,” he says.

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About Scot McKnight

Scot McKnight is a recognized authority on the New Testament, early Christianity, and the historical Jesus. McKnight, author of more than fifty books, is the Professor of New Testament at Northern Seminary in Lombard, IL.