The Problem + The Insight
We're more connected than ever before, but that doesn't mean we're really connecting.
Close connections don't just make life better — they have a serious impact on how long you'll live. But we get so fixated on the technology (messaging apps, video platforms, voice-only social networks) that we forget they're just tools — not the solution.
The research is clear: the solution isn't more, better, newer technology. The solution is finding a way to consistently spend quality time with the people we care about.
Our idea is to create a simple, SMS-based reminder that helps you really connect with someone you care about. Not by tagging, texting, or impersonal group video chats — but by spending time together in real ways, one-on-one.
Hey You is about quality face-to-FaceTime
Pick one person. We remind you to talk once a month — even when quarantine ends.
Do it if you can, don’t sweat it if you can’t.
But to keep you on track, every time you skip a call you’ll donate to combat COVID-related isolation.
Deepen your friendship, do some good. It’s a win/win proposition that can have a huge impact at scale.
One call, once a month can have an outsized benefit on your health.
And with a sizable user base, those $1 donations can make a real difference for our charitable partner — at no cost to them.
Potential partners working to combat loneliness during COVID:
Who It Serves
Hey You is for everyone — and that drove a lot of our design decisions. We wanted this to be simple and accessible, no matter how tech-savvy you are.
That's why it's SMS-based; we didn't want you to have to download or setup an app. It's also why we took advantage of Apple's little-known Facetime:// link, so people can get to chatting with a single click using native software. Similarly, that's why we use PayPal.Me for donations, since 89% of the US market has an account.
If you can text, you can use Hey You.
Meet The Team
- David & Johan — Friends and coworkers at a small ad agency with an idea and the good fortune to find people as talented as Jennifer + Ben. They're excited to use what they've learned doing creative work for brands like Facebook, Google, Delta, Dos Equis, and Nike to launch Hey You into the world.
- Jennifer — The first volunteer to join Hey You and the point-person running database development + liaising with our freelancer. She's an incoming freshman at Columbia who has already done a stint interning for Microsoft.
- Krishna — The unsung freelancer and Twilio vet who has been cranking to flesh out our chatbot's skeleton, allowing the team to stick to our ambitious timeline.
- Ben — The final piece of our puzzle: a frontend specialist with valuable fullstack experience. The fact he also knows Twiilio and is a hackathon veteran makes him a triple threat — and exactly what we needed to button everything up.
Post-Hackathon Vision + Challenges
Our team is committed to continuing the project and aiming to ship a production-ready version in August.
Fortunately the core team works together at a small creative agency and has access to design resources as we refine the user experience.
Our biggest challenge is a lack of technical resources — currently we're relying on two part-time volunteers, and an Upwork freelancer (who is building out the Twilio chatbot). To overcome that, we either need to find a volunteer with PHP (and ideally Twilio) experience, or find a way to pay the Upwork freelancer through the end of the project.
Frontend: 80% complete
- Refine animations
- Adding a PR section
- Building modals for the FAQ
- General debugging
Database: 70% complete
- Creating the logic to trigger reminders
- Linking to chatbot via API
- General debugging
Chatbot: 60% complete
- Revisions to copy
- Adding in GIFs to make the experience more engaging
- Making the data-entry options more robust (i.e. recognizing different phone # formats, etc.)
- Adding 'share contact' ability
- Automatically generating .ICS calendar invites
Branding: 50% complete
- Developing logo
- Choosing brand colors + fonts
Marketing + PR Strategy: 20% complete
- Outreach to relevant charitable partners
- Developing press resources
- Creating target list + pitching press outlets