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Charmer CEO Ryan Rucker: Why I'm Building An App To Streamline How Friends Communicate

Estimated reading time ~ 3 min
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My name is... Ryan Rucker.

My company is… Charmer, a mobile app that allows you to rate your friends and experiences in three words. We're making reviews more simple and social for millennials and Gen Xers.

It launched in... October 2016, but we’re doing a phased rollout.

My career in a past life was… large client services intern at Google, business technology consultant at Deloitte.

My first career aspiration was… I’ve had many, but reading Steve Jobs many times in college inspired me to consider consumer tech as a career choice.

I made my very first dollar… through an online music contest site a friend and I built together where artists could submit their songs and then be matched up against each other in a timed contest to rally votes. A friend and I built it together, and while we knew were never going to become MCs, it was cool to add something special to the music scene in Chicago, where I grew up.

My ideal day is… spent thinking about Charmer’s product and how we can make it better for our users.

My typical day is… incredibly unpredictable but always fun, new, and worthwhile.

Right when I wake up… I usually check with the man upstairs, look at my email and Twitter, and then do some reading.

Right before I go to bed… I don't think I do anything in particular.

Charmer Ad, Ryan Rucker


It brings out my best... to work out problems with my cofounder, Tre’von. Pressure and scarcity both increase my productivity and activate my problem-solving skills. Also, the love I have for my family and community.

I’m motivated by… the love I have for my work, our team, and the product we’re building.

My career heroes are... single mothers and teachers. Raising and teaching the next generation is vital and needs to be better appreciated — these are the people spending the most critical and foundational years with our future leaders. As far as individuals, Steve Jobs, Beyoncé, and Shonda Rhimes, all of whom have truly crafted unique and creative products and experiences for their respective audiences.

I’m worst at... eating breakfast every morning — it just never gets accomplished.

I’m currently excited about... Beyoncé’s twins, seeing Lonzo Ball play on the Lakers, and our latest product update.


My biggest entrepreneurial leap of faith was... moving across the country to San Francisco after leaving my job in consulting.

My rock bottom moment was... the moment I started to think that leaving consulting was the wrong decision. I was afraid I made the decision too quickly, and I couldn’t rewrite history. I think everyone has those thoughts, but not everyone is transparent about them.

My biggest triumph is... seeing people genuinely excited about our product on the App Store and getting emails and texts saying they love it.

The biggest question I haven’t yet answered is... Why are there so few African American and Latino billionaires, and what can we do to change that? What is the best and most efficient way to educate the next generation? In the end, though, I’d rather have questions that can't be answered than answers that can't be questioned.

I define success as… doing what you love, being true to yourself, and adding value to the world in the best way you see fit.


If you’re thinking about starting your own company, I dare you to remember… that each and every one of us is uniquely valuable and can offer the world something that hasn’t yet been discovered. Every company and product that exists today started as a small idea with only a few people who had a lot of courage and a little genius.

I dare you to forget… all the naysayers. There will be a ton of them, and they usually increase and intensify as you progress. Also, be very wary of the advice you decide to accept. A phrase I always think about regarding this is, “If you accept a person’s advice, you must be willing to accept their lifestyle.”

My best advice is… to have fun and take risks, because life is short.

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