I Swore I’d Never Build A Social Startup. This Is Why I Changed My Mind:
So much of our lives is directly linked to our friends and friends of friends (arguably, people that don’t matter nor match our interests). We pretty much have full-time access to what our friends are doing. Snapchat for the “in the moment”, Instagram for the “humble brag”, Facebook for the “family-focused updates”, and Twitter for …well I’m not quite sure “thought vomit” perhaps?
However, none of this helped me much when I moved from middle Missouri to Orlando, to NYC, to SF, and then to LA. There I was in these new cities with no friends or family. All the degrees of connectivity didn’t help. I had to find friends and people of interest the old-fashioned way. To walk up and say, “Hi, I’m Josh.”
This method didn’t fair too well in New York City. I was truly lonely in a city of 8.4 million people and none of my social networks could help me. The SF and LA community were a bit more receptive but most people I met didn’t share much in common, or maybe I’m just picky or maybe they didn’t like me… but that only sells my point more. It took time to develop any lasting relationships, lots of time… after 7 years of being in LA, I can finally say I have a good group of friends. That seems strange. I’m not that scary of a person and I rarely bite.
This is why we are building Pinguin. We believe there’s a gap in the social space the incumbents simply can’t afford to target that lets people socialize around their interests, rather than being tied to the people they know because what’s life without expanding into the unknown? That’s exactly what Pinguin is: An interest-based social network that enhances communities both geographical and topic based through relevant conversation.
Pinguin works for the same reason anything else works which is based on a theory dubbed the Unified Model of Aesthetics by Paul Hekkert: Humans seek familiarity because it makes them feel safe (which we provide via topic-based channels they explicitly join). However, humans are simultaneously charged by the thrill of something new, powered by a pioneer lust (which we provide via a community of unknown people that happen to simply share an interest).
We want people to connect on similar affinities. Too often we rely on our personal networks and if we don’t, we hide behind a layer of anonymity. With that we deny connections, relationships, and information that could be pertinent to our growth as an individual. Pinguin solves that with an elegant and familiar experience. I can’t wait for you to participate.