Anyone, a connective app building “a marketplace for advice,” functions off of a simple premise. “Imagine if you could call anyone in the world to ask for advice—and they would pick up.” The premise exists with the preexisting knowledge that advice has the power to carve out career paths, open doors, and even recreate industry norms. In the past year, Anyone has been named a world-changing idea by Fast Company, one of Europe’s hottest start-ups by Wired, and even been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize—big accolades for an app in its first few years. But with the promise of “getting further faster,” it’s easy to see why the app’s user base is growing by the day.

Those new users are often the result of invites from advisors already on the app. Instead of scheduling a time to connect, only to move the calendar invite four times before the meeting reaches the inevitable “I’ll see you when I see you,” Anyone offers an impromptu chance to connect when both parties are available. Recent interest in the app has come from an influx of team members from the distinguished online menswear retailer Mr Porter. Thanks to a recent partnership, many members of their leadership team are present on Anyone for career advice, learnings from e-commerce, and conversations on style.

Vjera Orbanic, Head of Community at Anyone, notes that though conversations on the app are widespread, a few topics have emerged as themes. “Career advice, creative feedback and entrepreneurship are very popular, with coaching and travel close behind,” she shares. Since Orbanic joined Anyone, almost two years ago, its core tent of creating direct access hasn’t changed. But the ways users have brought initiative and creativity to the app’s purpose has proven inspiring. “Some create a personal advisory board to support them in their ambitions, others use it for coaching and mentorship, many for peer support and networking,” Orbanic shares.

Clubhouse, an app with a shining moment of relevance peak-pandemic, taught us a simple truth about communicating in the digital age. Cameras don’t have to be on. “We all felt the Zoom fatigue during the pandemic, and how distractive and unproductive it was,” explains Orbanic. “There’s something very intimate and reassuring about hearing someone’s voice without being self-conscious of how you come across on a video call,” she continues. Audio communication cuts out the distraction of your own reflection and gets at an elemental sense of connection.

Unique to Anyone is a five-minute limit. Calls made in the app are separate from users’ phone numbers. After five minutes are up, a warning sounds with a minute to spare, after which the call ends automatically. No promises of follow-ups, no time for grandiose conclusions. The intentional choice of a constraint is what Orbanic credits to “ongoing research in conversation design.” The short-form format makes it easier to get to the point, stay on track, and leave with something actionable.

The future of connecting meaningfully involves radial accessibility. Anyone’s latest venture, The Cohort, offers talented individuals from marginalized backgrounds a $1,000 grant to get further, faster. The application consists of answering a single question: “What do you want to be when you grow up some more?” The gallery of answers curated as a response is a moving snapshot of what brings users to the app, what attracts fantastic advisors—ranging from beauty editors to Olympic athletes—and what keeps them both coming back for more. 

A user commented on their experience on the app: “I created an account on Anyone, and a minute later, I had a network that would take a lifetime to build.”

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