If you could choose five traits that most accurately describe each of your friends, which would they be: go-getter, spiritual, strong, creative, sexy, honest, funny?
Well, now you’ve got all these and 32 more positive characteristics to choose from, thanks to Jerusalem-based VI, a mobile app for iOS and Android that enables your friends to rank your personality from a list of descriptive terms.
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This is going way beyond “likes,” says co-CEO Racheli Arieli.
“The idea came from the world of Facebook,” the young serial entrepreneur tells ISRAEL21c. “Today you have all of your life on your wall, but even if you have 5,000 friends and 200 likes, and put up vacation pictures, people cannot know the personality behind this profile, whether you’re friendly, creative or a hard worker. That’s the next level the world is going to.”
VI is not the first app dealing with personality profiling, and likely won’t be the last.
“I think in a few years it will be all over the Internet,” says Arieli. “But we did it in a very fun way — and a very private way — because only your friends can see it and choose your best five traits. I think everyone wants to know what their best five traits are. If 300 people think you’re smart, I guess you’re smart.”
Creating a worldwide buzz
VI, available through App Store and Google Play, launched in January this year and is mainly targeting the 13- to 18-year-old segment.
“They really want to know what their friends think of them — who’s the most creative, the sexiest. The ranking is done anonymously, so nobody has to hide their feelings – and anyway no negative traits are included in the list,” Arieli assures.
Once the app is installed, it imports the user’s Facebook friends list and then lets the user choose five terms to describe each friend. VI even lets people rank their favorite celebs and then compare them against each other and against their personal friends.
VI created quite a buzz when Arieli, along with co-CEO Meir Samson and CTO Eliyahu Lev, presented it to attendees at the September TechCrunch Disrupt in San Francisco and at February’s Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.
About 1,000 people had already downloaded the app a month after its launch, and the number grows daily.
In the future, Arieli foresees more serious uses for VI. “The next step is to go to professionals and show them how this app can be helpful for job interview purposes.” It can also function as a self-improvement tool, she adds.
Based on psychology theory
The VI app was developed on the foundation of the Maslow Pyramid, a well-known psychology theory about human motivation and its effect on personality.
Maslow posits that people generally move through motivational stages beginning with physical needs and moving up through safety, belongingness/love, esteem and finally self-actualization. According to this theory, understanding your own motivations and personality helps you to achieve the greatest possible personal fulfillment.
Samson thought of the idea for the app while he was working as the creative manager for an Israeli advertising agency. He approached Arieli to help him turn the concept into reality, and they added Lev to the team for his technical expertise.
“None of us had experience before in apps,” says Arieli. “Eli [Lev] was in charge of all the tech, and he did the coding very quickly.”
Financing originally came out of their own pockets and then a private angel investor stepped forward. “Now we are going for another financing round to raise $1 million to do marketing, PR and further development. Today we are only on mobile, and want to go on the Web,” says Arieli.
She is confident that VI will become an integral part of the Facebook experience.
“For more than a decade, the Web has taken more and more steps to expose the identity behind the user. Facebook has given people a profile, and now VI exposes people’s true personality on the Web.”