I hope you’ve enjoyed reading my blog posts as much as I have writing them! Previously, we waded through some pretty heavy waters as we navigated the mental health challenges posed on our society and the current methods available for addressing such challenges. For the moment, let’s touch on a much lighter topic – the reasons behind a couple of conceptual design choices for Passionfruit. The first, and most pivotal, design choice was to make Passionfruit about common interests at the exclusion of all else. The second was to use words as a simple vehicle to convey these interests.
The things we care about are often a source of mystery and wonder that keep us engaged for a lifetime. The things we like, and even the things we don’t like, are strong tells about our personalities. But what exactly do these things say about us? Why do we gravitate towards something, or feel a sense of revulsion? It’s possible to try and grasp at the reasons, but there’s no guarantee of reaching an answer with unwavering conviction. That’s why entire industries have grown around assessing the merits of our favourite pastimes: reviews, critics, scholars, awards, and other institutions for judging good against bad. If we examined and started listing out all the possible reasons we like the things we do, we’d be bones and dust before we were done. Life is too short. So we look for shortcuts.
One available shortcut is to find other people who have similar preferences. Think of some things people tend to enjoy. Food. Travel. Fashion. Do we enjoy these things in private? I would argue that it is as much the activities themselves as the interaction with others that drives us to do these things. Imagine that some people have comparable taste in food, appreciate similar cultural experiences, gravitate to the same sightseeing spots, or have the same fashion sense. What can be said about the people in such a group? Maybe not much at all beyond the fact that they have a lot in common. But isn’t there some hidden information, somewhat subconscious, perhaps even transcendental, that just barely eludes description? We know there is some fundamental truth that can be appropriately ascribed to everyone in the group, but perhaps we can’t put our finger on what it is. This provides incentive for people to spend more time together as they swim through life, slowly peeling away the layers as they attempt to understand each other, which in turn helps them understand themselves.
Passionfruit works by connecting people through words. It’s not the perfect system (if such a thing is possible), but it’s the best we can do for now (rest assured, we’ll keep working relentlessly to find ways to improve your experience in the app). We believe that words are merely a tool to foster a deeper understanding that can hardly ever be verbalized. To give an example of this, have you ever been engaged in a riveting conversation with someone you knew really well? At some point, you felt like you were finishing each other’s sentences, or that you knew what they were going to say before the words came out. In this situation, did you really derive understanding from the words themselves, or rather something less definable? If you recorded the whole thing on video and played it for others, there’s no guarantee they’d understand it the way you did. Heck, you could explain to them over multiple different tries with new words each time, and they still might not tune in.
On Passionfruit, don’t be afraid to choose a word. Any word that resonates with you emotionally will do. Over time, play around and experiment with different words until you find one that finds you special connections. Bonne chance!
Look where you can’t see.