MHS grad develops iPhone app

Posted October 16, 2013 at 1:25 pm

Hopes to make the world a Kindr place

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PHOTO: Josh Beal (left) and Matt Ivester, both students at Stanford University, co-created the Kindr app for iPhones as a way to promote anti-cyber bullying practices. (Photo submitted)

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PHOTO: This sample message page from the Kindr app shows how you compose and send a kind message to anyone on your contact list. It’s as simple as that!

By Kim Brooks, Express Editor

He graduated from Monticello High School in 2012 and is already well on his way to making it big in the real world.

Josh Beal is a sophomore at Stanford University in California. Recently, along with his co-founder Matt Ivester, the two started a technology company called Kindr and implemented their first project, an iPhone app! (Kindr is play on the word “kinder.”)

According to the company’s press release, their goal is to make the world a better place. The company was founded “based on a core belief that technology should be used for good.

“Kindr is turning social media inside out – creating a new model that emphasizes a focus on others rather than self.”

Beal said they started the company to use technology for good.

“With all the research in positive psychology pointing to the benefits of gratitude and its impact on our everyday lives, we saw Kindr as a unique opportunity to create a mobile platform centered around shared happiness,” explained Beal.

On Oct. 2, Kindr released their new app (also appropriately called Kindr). This iPhone app allows users to easily send electronic compliments to friends and family. October is National Bullying Prevention Month, and Kindr is giving people a powerful way to brighten someone’s day.

“Cyberbullying has been increasingly common online, and is an issue we care a lot about, so we asked, ‘What’s the opposite of cyberbullying?’” explained Beal. The answer is Kindness.

The idea behind the app is to send and receive positive compliments. Once you have downloaded the app and it’s been synced to your iPhone’s contacts, you can choose from over a hundred pre-crafted compliments “that range from hilarious to light-hearted to sentimental.” Once the recipient has received your compliment, they can respond accordingly as well.

“By signing in with Facebook and earning 300 points, members of the Kindr community can send their own original compliments, which allows for an unlimited number of messages,” Beal stated. Users can write their own positive comment and send it out.

As of now, Kindr is only available for iPhone users. Beal explained a lot of Silicon Valley start-up companies, like his, “have adopted an iOs-first strategy due to the strong Apple ecosystem and developer familiarity with the platform. We’re a small team, but we see Android as a huge opportunity and are working to bring our product to that platform. For now Android users can still view any compliments sent to them by following the link and reading the compliment on our website (www.kindr.me).”

Since the app was launched just a few weeks ago, it’s already received a huge amount of support. So much so that Kindr has partnered with the Huffington Post for their “good news” feed. Users can receive positive news updates daily via the Post, news from around the world.

“We were really excited about the Huffington Post,” said Beal. “We approached them with the idea and they were incredibly supportive.”

The company and app have received overwhelming feedback already. After a Tweet Kindr sent out, they were retweeted by actor Rainn Wilson, who played Dwight on the TV show “The Office.” “Thousands of compliments have already been sent using Kindr, and we’re gaining more and more users every day.” By the end of this month, Beal said they plan to make the app available worldwide!

“I love working on projects that can have a real impact in people’s lives. I look forward to seeing how people use our product,” Beal offered.

Beal said Kindr doesn’t have any immediate project plans in the works, but just wants to “keep coming up with new ways for people to be kind online.”

Beal is majoring in Computer Science at Stanford. He said he’s also pursuing robotics research on campus “that aims to use autonomous aerial vehicles to reshape our transportation system.” Beal definitely dreams big!

He credits the City of Monticello, where he grew up and attended school, for its values. “The active spirit of kindness in our small town has been a major source of inspiration for this project.”

As for his future goals, Beal said, “I believe we’re at a special moment in history where there are thousands of crazy ideas just waiting for someone to make them a reality. I hope to use my skills in technology to make some of them happen. Stay tuned…”

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