InFlow app teaches users to be happy

Bairam Annakov, CEO of InFlow: "Logging your mood should be simple, quick and easy. No diaries or pens, and no procrastination." Source: InFlow

Bairam Annakov, CEO of InFlow: "Logging your mood should be simple, quick and easy. No diaries or pens, and no procrastination." Source: InFlow

The InFlow app analyzes users’ locations, environments, activities and feelings to come up with advice on how to make the most of their day. The startup’s CEO, Bayram Annakov, began logging his moods years ago. When he discovered that the practice made him happier, he had an idea of sharing his secret with others.

Logging your mood, location or the people you are with several times a day might seem like a ridiculous idea at first. But Bayram Annakov, CEO of InFlow, maintains that he has learned a lot of interesting things about himself since he started doing it.

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“Several years ago, I read Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s‘Finding Flow: The Psychology of Engagement with Everyday Life.’ It discusses a methodology of self-awareness through regular logging of one’s state of mind and location. I wasn’t sure I would be able to do this on a regular basis, so I asked my friend to take part in an experiment with me. We would text each other the words ‘piu-piu’ several times a day to signal the need for logging our mood,” says Bayram.

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The results were impressive. Bayram quit his job as a lecturer at Moscow State University once he realized that he only liked teaching the students that were genuinely interested. In the crisis year of 2008, he left a company he was working for and started his own business. The changes he had made to his life as a result of this practice of self-observation were making him happier, and he soon wanted to share his discovery with others.

“Logging your mood should be simple, quick and easy. No diaries or pens, and no procrastination. That’s how we came up with the InFlow app for the iPhone, which soon rose to second place in the Lifestyle category of the Russian AppStore,” Bayram says.

“As a rule, we are the least aware of our own emotions,” says Denis, a psychologist and a developer for the app. “Of course, emotions often take over from rational thinking and determine a lot. But once we become aware of them, we can be in control of ourselves. InFlow helps people log emotions and view their mood statistics. InFlow won’t serve as a life coach, of course, but it will give you a reason to think about the interconnection between your daily routine and your mood.”

The app’s home screen is divided into two parts. The user’s avatar, with an indicator of the latest logged mood, sits in the upper-left corner. On the right side, there is a chart tracking mood and energy, each on a scale from 3 to -3.

Bayram explains: “The mood chart shows the five most recent check-ins. We added it a couple of months ago, as a test to see if there would be demand for this service and what the response would be. Many users are now asking to view the mood chart for a longer period of time.”

Below are four blocks labeled “Friends,” “My Predictions,” “Get a Tip,” and “Best & Worst.”

“Friends” is a timeline showing friends’ moods, with the possibility of viewing a list of actual and potential friends. “Best & Worst” shows ratings of friends, places and activities. “Get a Tip” shows nearby places users can visit to improve their mood. “My Predictions” is the most controversial function: it is supposed to generate mood projections based on check-in statistics.

In Flow app
InFlow app. Source: inflow.mobi

“The idea is very simple. As you use the app, you answer questions about where you would rather be and who you would rather be with; this is your personal opinion. This section will contain stats and comparisons of what you’re thinking about and how you’re feeling based on your check-ins. This provides an insight into thought and reality,” says Bayram.

The team’s priority task now is to implement registration via email. Many users do not wish to register via their Facebook accounts, and some do not have a Facebook account at all.

“We are losing users because of the rigid link to Facebook. Only 22 percent of our users have friends who use the app and share their mood statuses with friends and family, while most prefer to use InFlow only for themselves. So we are implementing a registration system and will soon start adding more detailed statistics, as well as weekly and monthly user and friends’ mood reports, highlighting the brightest moments,” Bayram says.

“An app like this has the potential to become extremely interesting. It just needs a more sophisticated system for displaying a person’s mood, as well as more detailed mood charts that can go back a month, for example. Personally, I was excited about the app when the developer first told me about it. After using it for a couple of days, I lost interest, because I didn’t see any practical value for myself. The idea is nice, but it should be implemented properly,” said Antonina, a psychologist and a user.

The startup is planning to make money from additional services, such as detailed statistics and mood-lifting gifts for friends. Another possibility involves b2b research of employees’ moods.

In Flow team. Source: InFlow screenshot

In Flow team. Source: InFlow screenshot. Click to enlarge the image

Top Russian start-ups.


The Essentials
Name: In Flow
Website: inflow.mobi
Concept:
InFlow helps you to better understand yourself and your ever-changing mood, keeping your friendships healthy and happy along the way. Even though we know what makes us feel good, we tend to spend our time doing absolutely different things.
Unique selling point:

InFlow team believes that tracking your emotions and habits is the first step to feeling like your best YOU. InFlow makes it easy to track this emotional pattern and be your guide to happiness.

  • Keep track of your mood daily with automatic reminders
  • Weigh and compare what makes you happy with the things you spend most time doing
  • Follow your friend's moods, cheer them up and support one another!
Start date:
August, 2011; launched September, 2012
Development plans:

Our primary focus for this year is to become profitable, so the whole focus is on finding the best monetization scheme. What we would like to achieve overall is to give people awareness of their mood changes, because awareness leads to understanding and actions! And eventually to living a happier life. 121 million people worldwide experience depression from time to time and mood tracking is one of the best ways to avoid depression according to researchers.

We believe that paying attention to what you feel helps one get most of their life and live happier.

Because as Dalai Lama said: “In order to be happy you need to do what makes you happy and avoid doing what makes you unhappy” – In Flow helps one understand this and improve one’s life.

SWOT:
Strengths:
1.Unique methodology to track mood and analyze mood changes over time;
2.appealing and intuitive interface;
3.ability to share mood changes with close friends or counseling psychologist.
Weaknesses:

The In flow team needs to focus on finding the best business model and check two hypothesis: 1.providing detailed statistics; 2.B2B: giving companies the ability to track employees mood and understand its impact on productivity.

Opportunities:
69 percent of U.S. adults (175 million) track a health indicator for themselves or a loved one but 49 percent of trackers  do this «in their own heads», according to Pew Internet Research. Tracking requires discipline. Yet smartphones and mobile apps may help people with this.
Threats:
There are gadgets (wristbands and more) being produced to help people track their mental and physiological helath. The In Flow team monitors them to find ways to cooperate and integrate with such gadgets. 
Contacts:

Bayram Annakov,

e-mail: bayram.annakov@gmail.com,

tel.: +7-926-550-5500

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