Recently I was thrilled to be able to ask Matt Ivester, the creator of Kindr, this amazing app, a few questions about this latest creation:
1. What is Kindr, and what inspired its creation?
Kindr is an iPhone app that makes it fun and easy to send compliments to friends and family. The compliments range from range from hilarious to light-hearted to sentimental. “You’d have a real shot at winning America’s Next Top Instagrammer, if that were a thing,” and “You always pick the best songs when riding shotgun” are two of my personal favorites.
Also, through a partnership with the Huffington Post, the app also provides a “Good News” feed featuring the inspiring acts of kindness that take place all over the world.
The inspiration for Kindr really came from thinking about cyberbullying, and asking ourselves “What’s the opposite of cyberbullying?”
We think the answer is kindness, and we’re excited about using the same technology that has enabled cyberbullying to become so pervasive to now make kindness go viral.
2. Your press release describes Kindr as “a technology company dedicated to making the world a kinder place.” Creating a kinder world is a very ambitious goal. Aside from creating the app, how do you envision making that happen?
At this point, we’re not sure what will come after the app. But our work with the app is far from over. Building version one was the easy part. In order to actually achieve our goal of making the world a kinder place, we’ve got to get a lot of people using the app. We’ve got to get feedback from our users about what aspects they like and which could be better. We’ve got to make it work outside the US. And we’ve got to make it super viral. We’ve had tens of thousands of compliments sent in just the first couple weeks here, but we want millions. So for now we’re going to keep fine tuning it, listening to our users, and thinking up new ways to facilitate kindness through the app.
3. Increasing kindness online is obviously important to you. Some would say that compassion is even more important. Do kindness and compassion mean the same thing to you?
Kindness and compassion are certainly closely related, but to me they aren’t the same. Compassion is the ability to empathize with others, understand that we all fall short sometimes, and that bad things can happen to good people. Compassion is the emotion we feel when we see someone who needs our help. Kindness is the action part that follows compassion – it’s what we do in reaction to that emotion.
That said, I’m a big believer in everyday kindness. We don’t need a reason to be kind. Sometimes the best kindness is kindness for its own sake. There’s a great video called This is Water, which is derived from a commencement speech by David Foster Wallace. You’d have to watch it to really understand, but basically, it likens fish swimming in water to us living our lives. It points out that our “water” is made up of all the everyday situations we encounter like grocery shopping, waiting in line, driving in traffic, etc. Kindr isn’t about any particular event, group of people, or period of time, that triggers compassion in us and leads to kindness. Instead, it’s about making every day better – to make the water a little more enjoyable to swim in.
4. Kindr is currently an iPhone app. Will you be creating a version for other platforms as well?
We would love to have an Android app (and Blackberry and Windows apps, too). But with such a small team it just wasn’t feasible for launch. It would be great if some big company heard about Kindr and offered some help to get us up on those platforms. Barring that though, it will probably be a few months before we are available on any other platforms. It’s definitely a high priority for us, and in the meantime, everyone can always read the compliments sent to them, regardless of platform.
Matt Ivester is also the author of lol...OMG: What EveryStudent Needs to Know About Online Reputation Management, Digital Citizenship and Cyberbullying