What is a ‘venture’?
noun: a risky or daring journey or undertaking.
We’ve talked a lot about ‘ventures’ recently, so we thought it might be wise to explain what the hell we mean by that and maybe go some way to explaining what our first big one is.
As we’ve mentioned in previous blogs, after ‘successfully’ running Studio Something for a number of years Ian and I had always been dogged by the nagging thought that while we might be doing some of the ‘creative thinking’ for companies that sold beer or bands or flights or whatever we weren’t actually the ones selling the product, we sold our thoughts but we didn’t have a product. Our desire had always been that ‘maybe as well as helping other companies sell their product, we could sell something of our own?’
It’s all well telling someone else what to do, maybe we should put ourselves in the firing line of consumer apathy?
Great idea lads, but what kind of product?
While we stared at computer screens, stressing, hunched over, dehydrated from coffee, we thought…and thought.
While we kept this ambition in the back of our minds we carried on working with clients on various projects like these -
The Power of Okay
A spoken word poem that attempted to help people feel better in themselves and encourage open discussion about what gets us down and what can make us feel better, this was built on the simple premise that as people we rarely actually ask those closest to us how they feel, and that in fact we all have ‘mental health’, which is something that needs regularly tended to or it can become weak, just like our physical health.
The Positive Troll
This was an anonymous little personal motivator in your pocket who attempted to make strangers feel better by giving them personal pep talks in the form of tweets, The Positive Troll was built on one simple premise ‘be sound to people’. What we found was that a regular positive, if even anonymous, voice in someone’s ear or hand could actually encourage them to do as big a thing as go for a job or tell someone they loved them. Anonymous virtual encouragement making real world positive outcomes.
The brilliant/terrifying minds at Facebook, Instagram and elsewhere ‘hijack our minds’, they use every bit of behavioural psychology to keep us coming back to keep us pulling the virtual lever. #myunfilteredlife was an attempt to use one of these powerful social platform’s addictive elements for good rather than ‘bad’? This campaign encouraged users to share with those closets to them a photo of their ‘real life’ rather than their filtered, curated, Instagram one, to puncture the ‘everyone’s life is better than mine’ bubble that was so dangerous for many people’s mental wellbeing. Do the opposite of what Instagram wanted us to do to hopefully do some good.
We got back to thinking about this ‘thing’ we wanted to start.
A smarter person than us who ended up ‘designing’ the phone you are on right now once said ‘it’s easy to join the dots backwards’ and that’s something we’ve noticed recently.
We’d been working on projects about positivity, encouragement, motivation, mental and physical health.
What if we had been sitting on the product we were waiting to create this whole time?
The offices we sit in everyday for 8 hours at a time are terrible for us, sitting down is terrible for us, it’s terrible for our minds to be staring at screens too much, it’s terrible for our backs to be hunched over. We knew all this, but we weren’t really doing anything about it, we needed motivation, we needed a plan to stick to, we needed to know where to start.
Joining the dots backwards it kinda seems obvious.
What if we could build something that could make people feel better? What if we could encourage positive behaviour change? What if we could create something that personally encouraged any person to form tiny simple habits that would compound over time to be life-changing? What if we could create something that could make each of us feel better in our body and in our brains at work? What if we could create something that at least tried to do these things? What if we just kept asking ‘what if?’ until the end of time?
We know it’s no accident that when you log on to Twitter it takes a micro second before we find out that we have a notification, or that it feels like pulling a slot machine to refresh our Instagram. That little moment is the spin of the roulette wheel for our brain, releasing a little dopamine hit every time. It’s no accident that when we pull to refresh it feels so damn satisfying. Every element of behavioural psychology that draws us in and encourages us to waste hours on social media, what if that could be used instead for ‘good’? What if we used all these tactics to encourage the user to do something they wanted to do, feel better?
We also knew that it was entirely plausible that every single person using this made up product might be motivated in completely different ways, some of us are motivated by wanting to crush yesterdays ‘score’ some by wanting to crush the score of our best friend. Some are motivated by competition? fear? success? by beating the person that sits beside you or your best friend who lives at the other side of the world? Are you motivated to feel better or less worse? So could our product motivate you in the way that was best suited to you?
All these questions led us to create Welbot, what started as a pretotype in a WhatsApp group for 6 of us, quickly morphed into a chrome plug-in then to a janky little desktop app tested by 50 people has now become a fully fledged business with seed funding, a team of 7, the academic backing of some of the countries leading specialists in behavioural psychology and a BETA version of the product due to launch in April this year.
Welbot is going to be your personal wellness motivator, something that lives on your computer and in your smartphone that lives and breathes through your choices to help motivate you into feeling healthier, in a way that you best react to. Welbot will learn from your actions to continually modify and mould the frequency, content and tone of your very own programme and wellness journey to best motivate you to feel the best you can.
Can positivity change the world? Can tone of voice encourage change? Can tiny habits make giant leaps? Can we use the tips and tricks of the most addictive online tools for good?
Can a gang of ambitious misfits in a room in Leith change the way the world of work works?
We are on a mission to find out.
That for us is a venture.
This is the start of the journey to making this product and we need people to come with us, if you’re interested in self-improvement, fitness, mental health, wellbeing or just an open-minded person who is happy to help build a product and would like to come on this journey all we need right now is your email, we’ll keep you up to date with the progress and invite you to be one of our BETA users in April.
SIGN UP HERE
Studio Something is a creative agency on a mission, a mission to create one of the best companies in the world, by making things people genuinely like. This is a year of learning for us, If you would like to tell us why we are wrong, how we can improve, what we are doing right or if you too want to go on this mission. emailus. tweet us. Get on our mailing list. Whatever, just say hello.