This article was originally intended for the upcoming mymind.com blog, but it feels so personal to me, I found it fitting to share here with you.
There's a great deal of thought that goes into building mymind. Every feature, or lack of one, has been carefully considered. To me, building opinionated software is the only way to build software. And every feature we add reinforces those opinions.
Software development is about foresight. A small feature released today might seem harmless, but could very well become a bottleneck a year from now. You have to see beyond the practicality of a new feature and also consider its meaning. Design is not just about appearance, but about how it works – and I'm not talking about usability. Every feature, or lack of one, is a signal to the person who uses it. (I could write an entire article around the hidden meanings of small and seemingly insignificant features, and I probably will another day.)
With mymind, the signals are strong. We set out with an unconventional opinion, and it resounds in every decision we make. I'll call our approach anti-social design.
Opening a social media app is like jumping into the sea in a raging storm. A wave of hot takes and political debates smacks you in the face. Notifications, requests and reminders blindside you from behind. The tide of negativity and sensationalism sweeps you under with a force too strong to resist. With quickly draining energy, you’re pulled to the shadowy depths.
It’s the one place on the internet where you can breathe. Nothing is required of you: You don’t have to share anything, engage with anyone, open notifications, respond to messages and comments, manage filters, report spam, mute or block. There's no need to swim through other people’s overshares, political opinions, monologues or recycled jokes. You don’t have to perform or curate your life for others. You don’t even have to curate for yourself.
We're often asked if we plan to release collaborative or social features for mymind. The lack of shared boards, feeds and public profiles is disorienting. They assume we just haven’t finished that feature yet. The reality is, we don’t support social features and we don’t plan to. Saying no to seemingly practical feature requests (or saying yes and doing them our own, unexpected way) makes our jobs harder. It would be much easier to go the traditional route and give people the options they expect. Those paths are clear because they've been taken again and again. Which is exactly we won't take them ourselves.
mymind is a private app for a reason, and it’s a simple one: Our real minds need a break. It's our opinion that the social, data-hungry nature of apps today is damaging our real minds, and sapping us of our energy and creativity. It’s time to get it back.
Every decision we make with this tool is made to support a more curious, introspective, inspired mind. It requires us to be extremely intentional about every new feature. We have to say no more often than yes. That might make our tool polarizing, because it's not straining to please everyone. It means we may grow more slowly than other apps do. But we’re OK with that, because the benefit (even if only for our own minds) is much greater.
Give your mymind.com a chance, and I feel confident you'll agree.