Andrea Mignolo, founder of Happster, is on a mission to create a happier world. She’s using social media to do just that. Here’s what she has to say about how you can find your happy place…
Me: What is Happstr all about? What are you trying to accomplish?
Andrea: Happstr is fundamentally about tracking your happiness to gain contextual insight into what makes you happy and what doesn’t. By tracking the when, where, and what, Happstr helps people identify patterns, both positive and negative, and take appropriate action.
The app also tracks and aggregates when, where, and why others are happy with the idea that if there are happy people near you, going and hanging out with them will boost your happiness simply by proximity and being in their network.
What we are trying to accomplish, other than making ourselves happier just by working on the project, is to increase global happiness! It may sounds silly to some, but there are a lot studies that support what we are doing, and there is a very proven network-effect to happiness.
Me: What role does social sharing have in accomplishing your goals?
Andrea: Social sharing is huge! In order to benefit the most from happiness, you have to share it. Without sharing, we couldn’t boost the signal and amplify happiness. We encourage everyone to share through the app, whether its simply with our own community, or through social networks such as Twitter and Facebook.
Just knowing the reasons why people are happy makes us happier: try doing a Twitter search for #happiness or see a large list of reasons. Guaranteed at least one of them will make you smile and feel happier just knowing what makes other people happy.
Me: What stage of development are you in now? How can people start using your site?
Andrea: We are currently in the prototype phase–essentially proving out the idea–after an intense period of development over three days on the Startupbus. People can use our site by going to Happstr and signing up–once you sign up instructions will be sent to you on how to access the prototype and start tracking your happiness.
Now that the competition is over, we are looking into next steps, building out an actual app, and hooking up with people and projects that are also interested in happiness. There is no shortage of people and organizations interested in happiness, and that keeps us going.
Me: What has been your happiest experience launching Happstr?
Andrea: The happiest experience has been the process itself. Happstr brought together a group of talented, smart, and caring people and I’m so happy I was able to be a part of it. Second to that is how happy the project has made us–hearing from people, seeing tap-ins all over the globe, understanding what makes people happy–it really resonates and has been an incredible experience so far.
Me: What are your future plans for Happstr? What can users expect?
Andrea: We want more people to work on Happstr! We are still working out the details, but we’ve discussed native applications for mobile devices, physical buttons that you can wear and simply tap to track, partnerships, and anything else we think we can conquer. If you are interested in helping out, by all means get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Andrea is an interaction and interface designer based in New York. She’s passionate about the intersection of design and technology, and interested in urbanism, systems, and beer. As a participant of the 2012 Startupbus competition, she and Happstr made it to the finals where they pitched a panel of venture capitalists about the network effects of happiness!