Here is the somewhat embarrassing backstory of WeGrowMe. Embarrassing, but probably not all that uncommon. Our story illustrates a key challenge of relationships ... getting outside our own heads and understanding the perspective of our partners.
When we (Lihong and Joseph) first got married we had trouble properly expressing our love for each other. We had totally different love languages, personality types, and communication styles. We even came from different sides of the planet with totally different cultures.
Joseph: "I've always been very direct. I told Lihong every day how much I love and appreciated her. My family is like that so I guess I inherited it. But Lihong's family is definitely not like that. It took years for her to realize how powerful a simple hug and 'thank you for working so hard for the family' means to me. She preferred to show me through her actions how much she loved me. Right after we got married she made me dinner almost every day, and would often clean the house by herself. I know a lot of women that can relate. Many young men are oblivious to how clean the house and seem to have a higher tolerance for disorganization."
Lihong: "I waited several months for Joseph to return the favor. Joseph would say "thanks for dinner" every day and I'd be saying to myself, 'You can thank me by making breakfast'. He appreciated it, but most of the time he just wasn't even paying attention to all the little (and big) things I was doing. In his mind, dirty socks and dishes just magically got washed. It was a lot of work. A few months into marriage I just stopped to see what he would do. It was almost like a science experiment...to see if men are capable of seeing laundry."
It took a lot of thinking and figuring as Momow used to say. We learned about the five love languages, our personality types, our communication styles, and little things we could do to make each other feel appreciated. We re-read our favorite books on marriage including,"Men are from Mars", "Laugh your way to a better marriage", and everything by John Gottman. We even wrote out a summary.
But we kept having the same arguments and making the same mistakes. We knew the answers but sometimes had trouble putting it into practice. We also had trouble making time for fun and each other. We both always worked full time ... even when the kids were little. It was hard making the time to come up with fun date ideas, find thoughtful gifts, and do all those little things that make a relationship grow.
While reading everything we could find about relationships we were also learning about advances in machine learning (ML) models, a branch of artificial intelligence (AI). We both studied economics but developed our careers as applied statisticians. We both build models for research and forecasting and had been using more advanced ML tools using Python both at work and for fun.
Then one night our two passions collided in a single question:
What if we could use AI to improve relationships?
All the knowledge is out there. The technology to put it into action is out there. And that is how we came up with the idea for WeGrowMe.
How it Works
WeGrowMe uses data gathered through the app to learn about your partner. Some of this data is provided up front, but most is gathered from simply using the app.
Users create a profile for just one romantic relationship. Our machine learning algorithms then select a single Love Action to perform each day. Love Actions can be performed for free in less than 10 minutes. No boring recommendations to "buy flowers" ... we provide unique actions that you wouldn't think of yourself. The best part is that our Love Actions should get better over time as you indicate whether the action was successful in communicating your appreciation for your significant other.
Users also receive weekly Date Actions. We are partnering with many businesses in the Washington DC metro area to get discounts on underrated and creative dating experiences. These recommendations should improve as well, as you give feedback to the app.
Now...obviously the nature of relationships is personal. We will not require real names or sensitive information. Each account will be protected using tokenized encryption which is the same level of security available for other social platforms such as Facebook.
Starting with Romance
WeGrowMe is starting with romantic relationships because we believe this is where the power of AI can be leveraged to greatest effect.
Romantic relationships hold the potential for the best of times, and the worst of times. All people are deeply flawed relative to potential, and so it should come as no surprise that living with someone, growing a family, and paying the bills brings challenges.
But romantic relationships also bring unique opportunities for collaboration and growth.
We learn through compromises to let go of what’s not important.
We learn from mistakes faster because we can’t hide them.
We learn patience from developing a deep understanding of someone else.
We have the potential of developing a friendship with someone whose interests align completely with our own.
It’s no wonder that in the long run...those who spend their lives dedicated to one romantic partner tend to live longer, experience lower levels of depression, and have fewer regrets.
Why use AI?
Our brains are amazing computational marvels that until recently were accepted as unmatched on earth. But advances in machine learning and the ability to automate are making traditional decision making obsolete. Brains can't perfectly store and compute all the data available to optimally express our love, avoid making the same mistakes, enhance our love life, and create great dating experiences.
You may find this incredible, but we think it’s inevitable.
Why would we not use artificial and crowd sourced intelligence to improve our relationships? We already do. We just do it manually, using our limited networks of friends and individual experiences. Maybe we read a good self-help book that seems to have all the right answers.
Why limit ourselves to our own networks, experiences, and research? We have the technology to leverage the entire internet!
WeGrowMe is our answer these questions.
We ... crowd sourced intelligence
Grow ... improve relationships through better decisions
Me ... delivered to you through your smart phone
Thank you for your interest and don't forget to test our Beta version coming out this October.