Friends Catching Up
Carlos Willis and Rasaan Hollis met at Arts Impact Middle School in Columbus, Ohio at the age of 13. The two became good friends and kept in touch even after they went to different high schools. Fast forward to Fall of 2015 and it has now been almost a year since the two last spoke. Rasaan had moved to New Orleans pursuing his undergraduate degree in Finance while Carlos remained in Columbus working at ZenGenius, a visual merchandising company. Rasaan decides to give Carlos a call to catch up on how things are going.
Identifying the Problems
It’s nearing the end of a 45-minute phone conversation between the two friends filled with a mix of topics including intelligence, philosophy, quantum mechanics, and ethics. After a bit of laughter and noticing the conversation was nearing its end, Carlos says “You don’t know how rare it is for me to be able to have good conversations like these.” Recalling how popular Carlos was in school and his 1000+ friends on Facebook Rasaan replies, “Why don’t you just use social media like Facebook or Twitter?” Carlos responds, “I can have tons of conversations about basketball or football, but not about Kantian ethics or quantum uncertainty. Social media allows me to connect and speak with people I already know, but It’s hard to find people who share our interests and are available to engage in a conversation. Facebook isn’t really even that social. People just snoop on other people’s pictures and watch videos in their feed like YouTube. Most of it is really just a waste of time.”
Carlos’ Light Bulb
A light bulb appeared in Carlos’ head. “What if there was a social media app that helped you meet new friends instead of just connecting with people you already know? And what if it was actually social and encouraged having live conversations like we’re having now, not just posting and looking back for responses tomorrow?” Rasaan knew Carlos was onto something with potential. Carlos asked Rasaan “You don’t spend much time on social media do you?” “No” Rasaan replied. “Me Neither” said Carlos, “It’s just not productive.”
The Birth of Resolve
Rasaan paused for a moment, “So you want a social media platform that feels like an actual social experience with live conversations, and you want it to be productive?” “Yeah” Carlos replied, “A place that’s not just about viewing content, but about resolving problems. A place where the value is not just eyes on advertisements but minds on issues, people helping each other. It could be called Resolve.” Rasaan imagined the potential good that could arise from Resolve. The evolution of social media that could guide millions of people to work together from all over the world, learning from each other and making real social connections.
Defining Resolve: Interests
“So let’s think specifics of how this would work” said Rasaan. Carlos responded “People should be able to make Question posts that call upon others to help them figure something out.” “That's a good idea” said Rasaan, “But what if you don’t know anyone who can help you? If we allow users to tag their Question with interests and users could follow those interests, your question could be delivered to the right people.” Carlos knew exactly where Rasaan was going, “So if I follow #quantum and #basketball, I’ll see question posts in my feed about them, even if I don’t know the person that posted it.” “Exactly” said Rasaan, “and that also helps you meet new people that share your interests.
Defining Resolve: Chat Circles
“So Carlos, if we want Resolve to feel like a real social experience we need to have a feature for live conversation. What if we allowed people to create a live conversation post and tag it with interests too?” Carlos was surprised how well this impromptu brainstorm session was going. “So if I want to talk about the most recent Avengers movie I could make a conversation post and tag it with #Avengers? What should we call this conversation post?” Rasaan paused and then replied, “What if we called it ‘Chat Circles’ and it could have multiple participants, not just two people? It could start like a simple text chat room, but later we could make it like a phone call or a Skype video call.” Carlos thought this was a great idea. “So one day in the future I could have a live video discussion with a Syrian refugee, a conservative, and a liberal about their opinions of U.S foreign policy? That’s amazing.”
Defining Resolve: Bounties
“It would probably be tough to start a social media website from scratch and grow users” said Carlos, “And before Resolve has a lot of users people may not get their questions answered quickly or could be waiting in those conversation posts for a long time.” Rasaan thought for a moment, “That’s right.” “People may need an incentive to engage with you if you have unpopular interests before Resolve grows large. We should allow users to attach monetary incentives to their posts, encouraging others to thoughtfully engage.” Carlos loved the idea. “That means Resolve could be a place where people can help each other and potentially make money at the same time! Also, it doesn’t have to be just for questions, it could be for challenges as well.” Rasaan thought challenges were a great idea. “Challenges give Resolve the fun element it needs as a social media platform. The possibilities for challenges are endless, someone could be challenged to build a custom snowman, make a Youtube video, record a private comedy session, anything!” Carlos didn’t have much left to say but “Wow, this has been a really good conversation.”