I've been following a couple of mobile discovery apps for some time. In 2011, we first covered Glancee, a new way to find Facebook friends who were nearby. Glancee was an eventual acqui-hire by Facebook in May 2012. At the time, I considered it a dating app with some novelty and potential, but skeptical about the ongoing use case.
Kismet also emerged from AngelPad and won a Vator Splash People's Choice Award in September 2012. Kismet, which has significant investors, such as Triple Point and NEA and a host of angels, was a mobile app to help you discover people around you. It then evolved to being an app to discover "friends" and not "strangers" around you. This past April, Kismet pivoted and became Blink, a group-messaging app that expires.
That either means, the implementations just haven't been quite right or there's no utility in discovering like-minded people around you.
1Mind is betting on the former. The Hampton, New Hampshire-based startup just formally launched Thursday. It was founded in March 2011 by Derek Dodge, the son of Don Dodge, a well-known figure among Silicon Valley entrepreneurs who travels for Google checking out cool startups. Dodge also writes frequently, and we enjoy posting his stories on Vator. You can read Dodge's posts here.
It also received $500,000 in seed funding and has friend-of-the-family MC Hammer supporting its efforts by helping to promote and market 1Mind through Hammer's fan base.
1Mind is basically a mobile app for Android and iPhone (though there's also a desktop version), for people to "express their interest and discover people like you," said Dodge. Sounds just like the aforementioned discovery apps, right? Well, yes. But often, it's all about the interface, and this one is pretty cool.
When I first logged on to 1Mind, I was asked 16 personality questions. It felt like I was either shaping my profile for an online dating site, or providing details for a psychotherapy session.
Questions asked were things like: Do you make up your mind quickly or over time.
As well as, whether common sense is reliable or questionable.
Then you get results. I'm 100% an introvert! That's a surprise. I'm usually 50/50. My personality test also didn't jive with my Myers-Briggs test, which at one point in my life was ENTJ. It also said that only 5% of the world population fit my personality type! It must be what happens when you have four kids.
Once you fill out your profile, you land on your 1Mind page, which is a smorgasboard of games to play to give 1Mind more information about your personality. The game are simple. You're asked a question and you choose between two options.
You can then toggle to the "discover" section to see who's like you and by what percentage.
Admittedly, the experience was quite fun. I learned I was a realist and I got to see who I was similar to. It's all about me. Who doesn't like services that focus on the self? At this point, the site has been in private beta so there are under 200 people that have joined. I feel very priviledged. The people you see is "everyone" and not just your friends, at least for now.
Then you can drill in on a person and see why your compatible. You can even message them or play the games they played to see if you're even more compatible.
The question was: What was the purpose? Dating? I asked.
"We're not really sure what the monetization avenue is [just yet]," Dodge explained. "We're trying to connect you with people who are [compatible]. You can find really cool friends you want to go surfing with." Dodge also hopes that people will be intrigued by their evolving personality since each time they log in and play a game, their profile changes. Hence the people who are most similar also changes.
At the moment, people closest to you do not bubble up to the top. So the compatibility weighting is less about discovering people close to you, but rather people with the closest personality trait.
No doubt it's fun to see who you're compatible with and unlike other discovery apps, there's an element of asynchronicity that's more appealing than the ambient awareness apps that ping you everytime someone "similar" or a "friend" is nearby. With Glancee, I was pinged so often by random folks, it was only intellectually interesting as someone testing the service. But it did get a bit downright creepy after a while, especially knowing that another person might be looking at my profile and know I'm nearby.
With an asychronous approach to exploring, there aren't alerts constantly telling someone to drop everything and check out someone. In other words, the annoyance factor isn't there.
"On an average day, I'm in my routine: working at the office, maybe heading to a few meetings. If a push notification tells me "Person X is nearby," Person X has to be pretty interesting to me before I'll break from that routine and suddenly arrange to meet them. But additionally, Person X has to find me pretty interesting to agree to meet, or even to agree to exchange messages. There's a lot of friction there," said Kevin Stephens, founder and CEO of Blink (formerly Kismet).
This is a positive thing for 1Mind, which isn't a location-based discovery app.
"Where we’re different is we give users more freedom and more choice," said Dodge. "We do look at hometown and school, but we’re not geo-locating you, like Highlight.
"The service is what you make of it."
Derek Dodge is the son of Don Dodge, a well-known figure among Silicon Valley entrepreneurs who travels the world on Google's dime checking out cool startups. Dodge also writes frequently, and we enjoy posting his stories on Vator. You can read Dodge's posts here. I didn't want to mention this up top since every time I'd refer to Dodge, readers might wonder which one I was referring to.