Recently a fascinating trend emerged. The rise of Pinterest and other interest-based social networks has suggested (or perhaps reminded us?) that there are in fact limitations to friends’ recommendations and, thus the Facebook Social Graph. All those ticker feeds about what terrible music your friends are listening to? Yeah, that.
Heavyweights like Max Levchin (Google/PayPal) and Bill Gurley (Benchmark Capital) have weighed in on this. Levchin has said: “Social graph signals have not been helpful in optimizing advertising that is related to search.” That is a powerful statement, and makes one wonder about Facebook’s future. For instance, I habitually ‘Like’ things not because I am interested in them but to sort of ‘reward‘ the person for posting something. It might be a dumb picture which is funny, but I don’t literally ‘Like’ it, I just think it’s funny and want my friend to know it. How many new baby pictures do you Like a month? You may not even actually like babies – you’re just being polite.
Now, colourDNA, (it’s a British startup so the spelling of colour is therefore British English), plans to capitalise on its deep technological approach to understanding what we really do like based on colour, and thus drawing on that interest graph to create value for the user, starting with an iPhone app (iTunes link). It’s a little smarter than it first sounds.
colourDNA is social discovery tool that makes it easy to find new things to enjoy. Core to this will be its iPhone app (which launches today, check back for link) which contains a proprietary algorithm for social discovery covering everything from books to bars.
Colour psychology suggests your preference for given colours reflect innate personality traits within an individual. ColourDNA uses your colour preferences to form part of its recommendation system.
The app itself has an elegant feel to it and contains a gamification element. The more you declare you like something, the more it rewards you with Leaderboard points and tailors content to your location.
The colourDNA app first asks you what your favourite colours are to gain insight into your personality and build a visual representation of your taste graph – your “colour DNA”.
The app is geo-location aware, a mobile extension of the colourDNA web experience (creating “Loves,” discovering from others, and viewing/sharing activity through feeds, but also has the features “Loving Now” and “Near Me”. Through these features you can check-in to places to help others discover and see what’s going on around you. Clicking Near Me brings up a map with other user’s markings. But “Loving Now” can also be a prompt to look beyond what is close to you on the map.
Ben Poynter, Co-founder and CEO of colourDNA says “We are all about discovery new things to enjoy in life based on your interests.. and a few other factors like your favourite colours. We think the interest graph should be about making it easy to discover new things that you’ll love through personalisation, much like Facebook has made it easier for you to re-connecting with your friends.
“I think Pinterest has done a great job as a beautiful and intuitively designed curation tool. We are less a curation tool, and much more a discovery tool… A key feature for us is that a user doesn’t need to know anyone to get an immediately rewarding experience from their unique actions. We push you personalised recommendations by unlocking how your interest graph overlaps with other users, so that you can discover great new things that you would struggle to elsewhere without having to spend a considerable amount of time endlessly browsing.”