What Got Me Started

Back in the summer of 2005, a friend called me to ask if I would be interested in becoming her partner in a mixed paddle-tennis tournament. I readily accepted and was introduced to a group of people, each of whom had entered through someone already in the group. Playing paddle was just an excuse to meet and to bring into the group an equal number of boys and girls. This group kept in touch throughout the summer doing activities like playing sports, a cine forum, dinners, movies, excursions, etc. Suddenly my social calendar was overflowing — I was doing things I liked to do and with people I liked. This group widened my social options so much that I was able to select which activities I wanted to participate in as there was always something going on, and I couldn’t possibly take part in every event.

Today, two years later, at least 3 or 4 couples owe their relationship to the existence of this group, and one pair is getting married in a couple of months!

It was clear to me at that time that I was witnessing something special. I wondered if it would be possible to re-create this ‘magic’ by creating like-minded groups of people. I got obsessed with this question and with solving this pain. For quite some time I studied groups and object centered sociality, until it became clear to me that what I wanted to do was more like a feature than a stand-alone company — and it was much easier if it was based on an existing platform like a general social network. Hence my obsession with social networks… I like it to be an obsession because if it’s anything less than that, it just won’t get done, or not get done well enough.

This is how I got to the point where I am today. My initial motivation in this was not even financial. Although every business must make money, I believe that money should never be the reason for starting a business. I want to build this because I want one such service myself and it doesn’t exist in the marketplace the way I want it. I am my first customer. The customer and the designer, in this case, is the same person. The customer’s voice is reaching the designer’s mind uncorrupted. What better market research than that?

Here’s an interesting quote by Ferdinand Porsche: “In the beginning I looked around and, not finding the automobile of my dreams, decided to build it myself.”


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