On June 27th, 2007 I couldn't fall asleep.
My girlfriend at the time couldn't either, probably because restless energy can be a bit contagious.
After counting all the sheep that could be counted, I suggested that we start playing a word association game. You've probably played them before: someone says something, then the next person in line says the first thing that comes to mind when they hear that thing... and repeat.
20 minutes later I suddenly realized that I'd learned more about my partner in the last 20 minutes than I'd learned in the last 3 years.
An hour later I was even more restless than I'd been before, but it was a good restless.
In short order, I realized that 'first impression' word associations are beautiful, subtle data points, with incredible potential:
- They aren't information dense, but in large aggregates they can present a picture of values and character traits that's truly unparelled.
- They can inspire people to tell the truth about themselves.
- They can inspire people to share how they feel about the world around them.
In short, I realized that word associations have the potential
to connect people and describe the world in a beautiful way.
I imagined a dating website where filling out your profile was actually fun, easy, and implicitly honest.
I imagined an incredible knowledge base of information that people could tap into to discover exactly what people thought about things over time.
And then I decided to build it.
I worked up my first mockup that very night.
I'll probably have a functional prototype in 6 months, I told myself.
You can read How to make a website in only 5 years to discover exactly how wrong I was about that.
I was wrong about the timeline.
But I still believe in the incredible potential of word asssociations.
If you agree with me and want to help me build a site that leverages that potential,
maybe you should