They say that as a startup you should fall in love with the problem, not the solution. I’ve had this vague idea of what problem we’re at here at Habitgrams for awhile, but oddly I haven’t been able to really define it. For some reason tonight as I was lying in bed, a description came to me, so I’m going to brain dump it here and we’ll see if it sticks. Here goes…

The Problem.

We have a lot of apps in our lives. We have calendars, reminder apps like habitgrams, word and code processors, email apps. All sorts of apps. The thing about these apps is that they all fill the space of basic tools.

A hammer is just a hammer. It will not tell you how to drive a nail or help you decide where to place a nail, or for that matter it will not suggest to you when you should use a screw. When I think about Habitgrams and what we can do, I know there is a possibility of breaking out of this mold.

The way Habitgrams exists today the app is just a tool much like those others I just mentioned. The same thing could be done with a calendar or an existing app, or maybe IFTTT. The unique offering here is really just made of two things.

First, the way it is framed suggests how you should use the tool. Framing is massively important. That alone is actually enough to support an app. For instance, everything that Facebook did could be done before it existed. We had email and blogs and myspace, but Facebook took those tools, streamlined them, and put them in a new frame. Voila, it created a massive new thing. Many many new apps don’t bring a technically unique offering, but instead offer a unique identity.

Second, simply adding SMS functionality is pretty big from a technical perspective. I don’t know of another app that let’s people do that in the same way. As far as features go, it is pretty expensive, and that probably has a lot to do with why it isn’t out there more. But why did we decide SMS was important to do? Well, that is where we start to get to the good stuff. Looking for ways to engage people that cut through the noise.

For what I’m talking about today, the what makes us different is less important than where do we go to get new ideas. What are we really doing here? The ideas for Habitgrams came from a deeper well. To build a thing that reaches out just a little further from the world of computers into real life. Then use that thing to improve lives and empower people. That is the core concept of Habitgrams. And it has a lot of room to grow.

Building an app that converses with people. Not in the traditional sense, but in a meaningful sense nonetheless. An app that gives feedback, engages responses from people, gathers results. An app paired with lots of data science to not just give people a tool, but to actually help guide them to success.

We need software that truly augments our brains and our lives. Software that learns about every user and behaves in a way that actually produces results.

That is a problem I’m ready to fall in love with.