While technology can certainly get on the way as well, it can be a powerful tool for the facilitation of enjoyable connections with humans nearby. An example of this arises when thinking of situations when after talking to a random stranger in a party, you discovered you have a mutual friend or acquaintance from somewhere far away, and bonded over this fact and were happy to have talked to each other. For every situation like this, there are likely orders of magnitude more that don't get discovered because you don't talk to the right stranger at the party. Thinking along these lines led to working for a while on the ambient social networking Highlight app, developed by Math Camp, Inc.

A big strand of the work there was analyzing data from the interactions users were having with the app, and improving the processes for collecting data, analyzing it, and using it during the design iteration process. A tool that proved really helpful to understand the situation was Mixpanel. Also involved were conventional spreadsheet tools, and some desktop statistical analysis software tools.

Main feed in Highlight app
Main feed in Highlight app

Another strand of the work was working on emails to users, corresponding to transactions in the app (another user interacted with them), regular updates on interesting activity nearby within the app, and information about new releases. The second of these cases of an user recommendation engine. Extensive use of email sending and (email) html testing tools was also involved, with emailonacid providing particularly useful results.

Some other areas of work were design and development of feed sorting algorithms, algorithms for push notifications when being nearby other interesting users, Android client work, some work on webviews for settings screens common to iOS and Android, publishing to Facebook open graph, and integration of location services with other applications. Also worked on some interesting hack day projects involving user discovery based on being in each other's proximity in the past, display of geo-related statistics through choropleth maps, and integration of text-based profile search tools. The last of these was the only project to beat a project from the CTO during a hack day competition in the time there : P

Also, previously in 2012 I worked for a few months at imo.im in Palo Alto, California. The purpose of this website with a very international user-base was at the time for you to chat with all your friends from different online messengers clients (MSN, Google Talk, Facebook Chat, etc...) while meeting people and discussing different topics in a serendipitous discovery system. This discovery system is mostly what I worked on in my time there.