On January 24-25, 2015 we participated in the second edition of Staticshowdown hackathon. We won first ever competition in 2014, we generally liked idea behind building static web apps, we also had some good idea this year so there was no reason for us no to take part in the event this time.
I came with the initial idea at the end of 2013. I spent 3 months in New York City and was reflecting on my experiences there while flying back to Ukraine. After spending a lot of time with young Americans and Western Europeans, I came up to the conclusion that finding the person to date and build lasting relationship in the modern big Western cities is just struggle. New York is just a huge city that always offers a lot of different options for every possible desire. At every particular moment there are multiple options for you: whether you are deciding where to grab your launch or spend your evening or what to do on a Friday night. There is a general feeling that whatever you currently doing is not the best option and you can do something better. I didn't know about FoMo at that time but I definitely felt it and saw it in the city.
The interesting thing is that this fear transcends any particular part of your life. It touches not only decisions for your next launch place but also your attitude to the relationship. It's very easy to stop your relationship after first, second or third date in New York City. "There are more than 8 million people living in NYC, surely I can find someone better than my current date", - would be the typical thought.
When you have endless possibilities it's very difficult to commit to your current option. If you have endless possibilities it's very hard to not compare your current option with all other possibilities (and find some disadvantages in your current option). I think Barry Schwartz made a great TED talk on the paradox of choices, there were also several interesting studies in the behavioral economics that describe the same problems.
Maryna and I started thinking about dating problem in the modern Western world. I don't think we came up with the solution to the problem, but it's still nice idea that you can mingle with.
So we came up with the idea that later become Me Goosta. It has two main pillars:
I think serendipity matters because it's just fun. That is how people used to find their partners in Western society at least during the 20th century. I don't think there is nothing wrong with that and I personally liked that experience myself.
Time commitment is important. I don't think dismissing a person or finding new date should be one swipe away. I also think that judging a person only by one photo is not the best way to find your life partner in the long term. I liked to put emphasis on the idea that any relationship take commitment, time and work. Building relationship is the journey of discovery and that is where the fun is. What is the fun in discovering just physical side of a person? Don't humans have more "components" to them?
Basically one year later after initial problem realization and first idea explorations Maryna and I were able to implement prototype during Staticshowdown hackathon.
You open web site, pick up your room based in your sex and your sexual orientation. Then we randomly find a pair for you and setup a private chat page for both people. On this page you can see very blurred video of the other person. The more time you spent exchanging messages and chatting the less unblurred video would become. The more time you commit to the chat the more you'd learn about another person. App forces you to invest your time. App also forces you to not rely just on your eyes.
You can find app running here. You need to use some modern browser like Chrome or Firefox.
But still it might not work in some cases because of browser version, operating system, some network problems etc. If it doesn't work you can see demo here:
Me Goosta is only prototype implementation of the idea that we felt was both interesting and important. We hope someone pick it up and does something good with it.
By the way, we won the second place Staticshowdown Hackathon 2015. As always we glad that judges liked our idea and implementation.