shot in the arm.
We recently brought on an “intern” to help propel the bKindly message and brand while Debbie and I continue to work full time jobs and raise 2 amazing young kids. bKindly world - meet Chris! Chris is a rising junior at a great East Coast school and I’ve got to say while it’s only been a couple of weeks - he is crushing it!! I’m so impressed with his drive, maturity, willingness and ability to just do.
Where Deb and I get bogged down in over-thinking or concerns around the “right way” - Chris just does and learns from each interaction and engagement. It’s reinvigorating to have an enthused college kid with a true "learners mindset" on the team. Not to mention his genuine excitement and energy to help improve bKindly and support of the vision to bring more kindness into everyday communities is pretty amazing.
So thanks Chris for the “shot in the arm” and the great work you’re doing! - jl
I was recently in a meeting with new team members and it kicked off with our boss explaining we were going to play a “get to know you game”. It was one of those moments that sends adults into panic as we make mental notes of interesting facts and tidbits about ourselves. The game involved tossing a ball around the room that was covered in questions. If you caught the ball, you were to answer the question closest to your right thumb. Ok I thought, easy enough. The ball started bouncing around and the game got underway. The questions were much milder than expected – things like what was your favorite vacation, where was your first job and which season do you like best. One question struck me though as appearing simple yet deceptively complex: what would you like to be remembered for?
Other than stunning good looks (kidding!) and a witty personality (a la the stunning good looks statement), I stood thinking as the ball whizzed past me, how I would answer this. My mind cut, morbidly, to my funeral. What would people stand around saying about me? How would they look back on our relationship and our time together? As I thought about it, I was sort of struck with one common theme. I would love that people remembered me for giving them some kind of encouragement in a moment they needed it most. Whether through a simple “hello, how are you?”, in the form of a helping hand or even a good hug. I think I would be most at peace with knowing that little bit (or a lot) of encouragement helped someone continue moving forward when they felt they couldn’t take another step. This thought gets me so excited for bKindly and what an important vehicle of encouragement in our community it could be. Imagine being that one to send the Kindly to someone who needs that pick me up. What a way to pass it on, pay it forward and quite simply – what a way to be kind…
Now, in case you are wondering, when I caught the ball my question was “what is the most exotic food you’ve ever eaten?”. I panicked, asked if I could phone a friend (stalling tactic) and blurted out “probably some kind of fish”. Ugh, can I get a do over!?
xx - deb
inspired by a friend.
as we rounded second and we’re heading to third during the build phase of bKindly (forgive the baseball analogy) - Deb and I took a little pause and we pivoted slightly - and I’m really glad we did. with this pivot, we ended up building the element of bKindly that I’m most proud of, our special ‘Featured’ section.
the special ‘Featured’ section allows us to call attention to the people that need support, love, encouragement, and kindness the most. it might be because of illness, loss, or just a particularly hard time in their life right now. whatever the reason - we want them to feel supported by the community around them and that’s what this special ‘Featured’ does!
as admins of the app, Deb and I can turn this section on and off as needed and we work to customize the messages and emojis that get sent to these special folks.
truth be told though - this idea wasn’t really mine - it came from an old high school friend of mine. you see she was using social media to pull together messages of hope and strength for her amazing cousin who was very ill. seeing this - I was inspired and asked if I could help - so I set out to build this into bKindly.
i wish there was a storybook ending here - but that wasn’t in the stars. this amazing, strong, beautiful young girl is resting peacefully with the angels.
but what her strength and love from her family helped to inspire - we hope will go on to touch the lives and create hope for others that need it.
thank you both for showing so much love and touching my life with your strength and courage.
"Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle" - Ian Maclaren
I first heard this quote (or a version of it) while watching the film Wonder. Needless to say, it stuck.
At the time I was in a funk because of some things going on at work and in my personal life. While it was small stuff (in the grand scheme of things), they were still eating away at me. I heard this quote and it made me start to realize something - I was only focused on myself. How I was feeling, how I was frustrated, how I was overwhelmed. But what if those on the other side were feeling the same way? What if they were facing a hardship, a rough patch, a bad day?
Not all challenges we face are outwardly visible to others in a physical form. Nor, are they known as public knowledge. What a difference it could make if we started each meeting, each phone call, each day with reminding ourselves that we may have no idea what is going on with that person on the receiving end and what battle they may be fighting. This mindset has helped us to create the foundation of bKindly, which is sharing kindness with others, because a little kindness can go a long way...
scribbles to product
in the summer of 2016, I was struck with an idea to bring more kindness to people around me - all the people around me - not just people i knew. i wasn't sure how exactly - but i knew it'd involve a mobile app - after all we're living more of our lives through our devices - so why not create something focused solely on lifting people up. i'd already been working on some other app side projects so i had a bit of experience and a few folks who could help with design, ux and coding. i also had a name for the app, bKindly. my goal was to keep the app as simple as possible and just create a basic mvp (minimal viable product) - so i sketched out the 4ish screens that would inevitably become bKindly - albeit 3 years later.
Does it really take 3 years to launch a simple app mvp? No, it took us about 4 months to actually put it together and get it launched - but the idea "sat on a shelf" for about 2.5 years. why - you might ask? it's a bit of a long story - but the short version is that i was already committed to another app side project that i continued to work on for the next 2 years. after that went sour - i needed a bit of a break, but the whole time i had this nagging voice in my head and tug on my heart that it was time to get moving on bKindly. so, i recruited the best partner i know, my wife, and she and i along with our 2 young kids decided to make this a family project that focuses on and holds true to our mission, scaling kindness.
written by debbie and jon. we'll do our best to keep it short, helpful and fun.