By Abigail Weltman
For The Diamondback
Brian McMahon, a former tight end for the Maryland Terrapin football team, has left his sports days behind to co-found an anonymous polling app called Pickle Poll.
Pickle Poll allows people to post questions into the server to get feedback from specific groups. The app is designed to be more engaging than a typical survey and capture information on a personal and corporate level. Pickle Poll was born off McMahon’s daily friendly arguments amid quarantine and launched the app over the summer.
Whether it was sports, finances or other topics, he wished he could get more opinions outside his personal network. He wanted to ask people’s opinions who had knowledge on specific topics. This initiated his study of market research and coding of the platform.
McMahon, despite playing tight end for the Terps, always knew business was his true field. McMahon, who graduated from this university in 2015, studied information systems with a minor in business analytics. He said the lessons he learned as an undergraduate taught him entrepreneurial skills.
But when it came to life lessons, McMahon pointed to football.
“Football definitely shaped me into who I am today,” McMahon said. “I don’t think there’s a better place to learn about hard work, dedication and really pushing yourself than on the football field.”
He created the app with his co-founder Julia O’Mara. They initially worked together at Blackstone, an investment group.
O’Mara, who also serves as the head of growth at Pickle Poll, attributes a lot of her work ethic to collegiate athletics, similar to McMahon. O’Mara graduated from the University of Pennsylvania where she played lacrosse and studied material science engineering.
“I think we both have a lot in common there as far as our work ethic, and our work styles,” O’Mara said. “As collegiate athletes, we’re held to really high standards and everything and I think that has driven us forward.”
She works with McMahon on obtaining and retaining new users of the app. She said recently they have been focusing on the college age demographic because “college students are getting more involved in using social media in the professional world.”
Avery Thomas works as a user experience designer for Pickle Poll. She oversees how users interact with the app and then implements changes to the app with the development team, as well as helps with marketing.
She described working at Pickle Poll as very flexible and adaptive.
“It’s your classic startup culture, which is super fun and engaging to work with,” Thomas said.
The company is planning on expanding its social media presence. The company markets itself on TikTok and Instagram. In addition, it sponsors college tailgates and beach parties to grow its paid college ambassador program.
“I think what Pickle does is it helps people that are in new and uncomfortable situations better understand the world around them, which I think is very valuable obviously in college,” McMahon said. “I think everyone has all these questions that they’d love to ask people, but there’s just no way to do it right now so we’re hoping that Pickle’s able to fill that.”