MBA student: ‘I saw an opportunity to make game nights more meaningful’

  • October 1, 2021
  • By Jill Young Miller
  • 3 minute read

Justin Matthews, Olin MBA ’23 candidate, has loved game nights since he was a child. Now he has created a guessing game called Utter that draws from friends’ tweets. Already, people have played nearly 500 games nationwide. Said Matthews, “Our goal is to make social media actually ‘social.’”

“I’ve always been a fan of game nights. I can remember vividly beating my parents at Scrabble for the first time or playing Heads Up with college friends. Games are a great way to bond, and I saw an opportunity to make game nights more meaningful if we added our personal stories to it by using Twitter.

“Twitter is basically someone’s diary, and every tweet has a story. I learned I could pull tweets with Twitter’s APIs and thought it would be fun to guess which of my friends tweeted it. So far, the response has been very positive. Almost 500 games have been played nationwide, and I’ve hosted over a dozen games that had a lot of laughs, great stories and more connecting in this virtual new world.”   

What are the next steps?

“Our goal is to make social media actually “social,” so we want to give you more game modes that fit your interests and allow more players to get in on the action. Currently we have two versions of the game.

“‘Team’ mode allows you to enter in your own Twitter account, and ‘Categories’ mode is preset with Twitter accounts that match the theme. We have themes like Sports and Movies, but I plan to have a whole library of additional categories in the future.

Click here to play Utter

“Right now, you can only play on one device, but we are hoping to expand so that each player can use their own device. Once we have that multiplayer functionality, the sky is the limit. Can you imagine Utter on the jumbotron at St. Louis Cardinals game and guessing which player tweeted what for a free hot dog at the game?”

Does this game dovetail with your career goals?  

“Absolutely. The goal is to become a product manager at a business to consumer-focused tech company. This project is helping me hone my craft of collecting customer feedback, working with developers and marketing my product. I like to think it has helped me in a couple of interviews already because I can speak about how I’m growing my skill set in my free time.”   

Is this a side hustle, or do you have more in mind for Utter?  

“I would consider this a hobby right now because I haven’t monetized it yet. My definition of side hustle is something that is generating some type of revenue. Right now, I just want to build the best experience possible for users.”  

Why did you decide to come to WashU Olin to get your MBA?  

“I decided to come to WashU Olin when I saw the need to grow my toolkit as a product manager. I had always worked on business-to-business products but wanted to work with more consumer-facing brands. I applied for graduate school through the Consortium, and WashU is the founding member school and had a curriculum that fit my entrepreneurial interests. Prior to applying, I had never been in person. But he relationships I made during Diversity Weekend stuck with me, and they made the decision that much easier to uproot me and my wife from Atlanta.”   

Any idea how many people have played Utter at this point?  

“We’ve had almost 500 games played since we first launched last year! That’s has mostly come from word of mouth; I haven’t paid for any advertisement. Most players are from the USA, but some people have played as far away as the UK and India. We definitely have a lot of room for growth, but this is just the beginning and I’m excited about what’s next.”

About the Author

Jill Young Miller

Jill Young Miller

As research translator for WashU Olin Business School, my job is to highlight professors’ research by “translating” their work into stories. Before coming to Olin, I was a communications specialist at WashU’s Brown School. My background is mostly in newspapers including as a journalist for Missouri Lawyers Media, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, The Washington Post and the Sun-Sentinel in South Florida.

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