“Who you are and who you want to be”
I had spent several weeks trawling through gift shops, amazon and bookstores trying to find a notebook that was just right for writing down ideas. I picked up, flicked through and discarded so many notebooks Jo was beginning to lose her mind. I admit even I felt a bit like Goldilocks… “This one is too big”, “too small”, “too thin”, “the lines are too narrow”, “it’s too heavy”. I eventually settled on the one below after darting into TK Maxx after work. I thought at the time that it was uncluttered (therefore a good option for an ideas book) and aspirational thanks to the golden palm tree.
That last part, “aspirational”, drifted away in the subconscious and didn’t come back until a few weeks later – but perhaps that little palm tree played a bigger role than my conscious mind gives it credit.
The more obvious trigger for the app idea itself came during some research I was doing for some client IT work. While investigating different ways of displaying corporate collaboration data, word clouds came up a few times. Word clouds aren’t new and they aren’t particularly sophisticated – but they can be effective. They are particularly good at exposing the DNA behind something that is complex, lengthy and meaningful. At a glance, they can simultaneously show the core subject of a passage as well as some hidden details or secrets that are potentially not so well known. Take a look at this analysis of US presidential inauguration speeches to see what I mean: Blue Virginia Blog: Inaugural Speeches in Word Clouds
So when I was reading up on word clouds, I thought about where else they might be applied. What is complex, lengthy and full of hidden secrets that might benefit from this “assistance”? Aspirations! That is what makes it so perfect for our app.
Aspirations are sometimes the core of who we are and might be very obvious to ourselves and the people around us. They might manifest in our hobbies, our career choices or even just the things we double tap on Instagram.
But aspirations aren’t always so visible. Not only that, but sometimes we don’t even know we have them, let alone share them with the people around us. We might not realise they are there until we reach a point in life and force ourselves into self-reflection. Sometimes they only come to the surface when we stumble upon something in our environment that demands a reaction. The kind of thing that catches you by surprise; like letting out an unexpected, uncontrollable “whoop” at the moment Hugh Grant finally wins over Julia Roberts in Notting Hill. Instagram photos, a news story or a passing comment might generate a similar, uncontrollable emotional response – helping you discover aspirations you didn’t know you had.
So was born the “dream cloud” idea as I first noted it down in my notebook. The idea started with how to display and share something about ourselves, the other half of it is how to extract the aspirations. I’ve been told to keep these posts short and sweet, so I’ll have to cover the second half of the idea another time! Thanks for reading!