Jake Banks woke up one morning in California and must have had a nice, cold glass of haterade before he decided he had to make a mobile app for all the things he disliked in the world. Republicans, traffic, duck faces: You name it, he’ll hate on it. That’s why he unveiled the Hater app at SXSW – so everyone can find a common place to do the one guilty pleasure we all hate to love.
“There was a lack of a place to voice that point of view in social network world,” Banks, CEO of Hater app, told us of his inspiration. “You pin something, like it on Facebook, favorite on Twitter… everyone has these pseudo alter-egos online that are semi-fake and real. Everyone is liking food and vacation photos like nothing’s wrong – like it’s this weird, surreal land that isn’t reflective of our society.”
Instead of the Like culture that Facebook has fostered, Hater is like “the Instagram for haters.” Users can download the iOS app and scroll through a pictures of things people hate, such as a screencap of a terrible movie or a photo of someone wearing polos with popped up collars. They can also browse through the most popularly-hated things or upload their submissions with their camera photo or a Google image search. Afterward, users can slap a photo filter, if they wish, then post it with a title and caption.
“It’s important to have a conversation about something you dislike. Hating something for change is a big thing,” Banks says. “Whether the hate is for gun control, traffic every morning on my way to work, or a factory from my corner dumping toxic waste… all your opinions help create a message. Besides, everyone has something they love to hate on.”
Banks, who personally says he uses the app to hate on celebrities and sports, showed me an example. By tapping the upload button, he can bring up a Google image search bar, find a photo of Mitt Romney, and upload it with the caption, “Blah.” Tags are currently not integrated in the preliminary version of the app, but he says bug fixes, new features, and a neater UI will come in the next month and a half. Banks also hope to have Android and Windows Phone versions down the line, but aims to keep the app mobile so posts can feel more instantaneous and impulsive.
Still, let’s face it: It’s fun to hate on the likes of, oh, say Nickelback and Anne Hathaway. But what about the hate the app could create when people use it to exploit their ex-lovers or local businesses? The way Banks sees it, it’s no different than people hate-posting on Yelp or blasting people on Tumblr. “Why can’t you have an app where you take a horrible service experience and broadcast that? [Hater] is everything wrapped into one mobile weapon.”
As for Banks, aside from walking out of an Elon Musk panel to come speak with me about his hate-tastic app, he’s got several other opinions to share about SXSW. “I’m hating on a lot these sessions that are pretty much badly planned. I think they’re underestimating the audience – we’re very smart and the level of sophistication in these talks miscalculates that. Some of the stuff here, I’ve already heard of before.”
But it’s not all negative for Banks. “[Despite the lackluster talks,] there’s nothing like SXSW where people get this excited about tech and geeks can be geeks and not worry about being cool,” he says. “I love that it’s tied in with movie and music. Tech guys can be creative and creative can be tech – it’s a great mix.”