Very recently the insightful book “Age of Context” by Robert Scoble and Shel Israel was translated and published in Korea. If you haven’t heard about this book, read the backgrounder here. One day JiHoon Park – translator of this book, avid software experimenter and a friend of STEP Journal team visited our office to discuss the age of context, developments of STEP Journal app and Google glass. We had a great time (including a small photoshoot) and as JiHoon mentions STEP Journal in book’s Epilogue, we’ve took the challenge of translating that section to English and added an update on app developments since the day of the interview.
Excerpt from “Age of Context” Epilogue in Korean (p.323 – 325)
The age of context is a world where the devices – by using their five powers which are Mobile, Social Media, Data, Sensor, Location – eventually understand their owners better than the owners do understand themselves. As the relation between the owner and the device evolves, not only devices but also any type of service and business can be personalised.
In the days when the age of context hasn’t yet arrived how can a device learn one’s life pattern? The answer was found in beLaunch 2013 which I have attended in May 2013 as translator of ‘Age of Context’. I have discovered WePlanet’s smartphone application STEP Journal featuring a personalised icon input system. Simply put, while writing a daily journal, instead of laborious textual input in the small screen of a mobile device, the app provides an interface where daily moments are recorded by clicking keywords visualised as icons. Even though at the age of context all of the things about a human can be automatically grasped by the device, at the moment some involvement on the human side is still necessary. STEP Journal’s answer to this involvement on the mobile device are the ‘keyword icons’. While talking to STEP Journal’s co-founder Jay it’s easy to sense that icon-style journaling application is a result of deep consideration and philosophy of the co-founders. I met Jay at a cafe near company’s office in Gangnam around August, 2013. After a short small-talk, casually dressed Jay launched STEP Journal to leave the record of the happening. On the first screen of STEP Journal tiny icons for Coffee shop, Ice Coffee, Meeting, and Interview appeared. It turned out to be the coffeeshop which Jay often chooses for work, and the journal entries showed that he frequently has Ice coffee as it was a hot summer season. And as Jay’s Calendar entry said “interview” a related icon also popped up on the first screen for an easy journaling. After picking up Ice Americano he took a picture of it and added to the journal entry – as Jay has tagged me in his entry, the same entry automatically appeared in my app, too. Just several clicks and the moment was recorded.
Jay highlighted that “Even though people use smartphones for 24 hours, capturing a log of users’ behaviour and using it in a meaningful way to provide valuable service is still in a very early stage.” They created this startup believing that the next generation trend will be services, where the log of human behavior from smartphones – which will have a great understanding of humans – creatively combined will lead to new information and, thus, value. What makes STEP Journal’s team believe there’s a business opportunity in this field given that people are not yet used to keep a diary using their smartphones? Jay explained business opportunity based on 3 stages in Mobile usage trends. In the early first stage, the usage of mobile devices including smartphones was just sending out messages, reading news and sharing information with acquaintances using social network service. The second stage was to discover fun via consumption of games, commerce, music, etc. Currently the services of the second stage are very familiar to people and there are big players established in each category. The third stage which STEP Journal is focusing on is providing services which create value by helping people discover their true selves through the usage of mobile devices. This can be easily explained by Maslow’s theory of need hierarchy which is well known. STEP Journal facilitates import of data from diverse external sources – mobile trackers, fitness services and wearable devices to become part of journal entries.
— end of STEP Journal related part in the Epilogue —
Time does not stand still – especially in the world of mobile – thus quite a few things have changed since August 2013. Please find the recap on what STEP Journal is as of today.
About STEP Journal – ‘Your life in one place’
STEP Journal helps you merge all of your scattered digital life footprints into one place, thus empowering reflection and management of life without much hassle. Contrary to text-input intensive journal / diary apps, STEP Journal is automatic, and integrates diverse types of records – notes, places, friends tagged, photos, calendar events, activity data, sleeping patterns and so on – all visible in one timeline. By gathering logs into a meaningful totality, and visualising daily patterns STEP Journal helps you understand yourself better, while at the same time remaining completely private (no automatic sharing to social services).
Highlights of the app
1. STEP Journal creates journaling entries your behalf, based on and integrating data from internal & external sources.
2. STEP Journal presents intelligent keyword based icon interface – so you can easily add details to the entries.
3. STEP Journal visualises your days in a sleek and sexy Dashboard. More to come.
4. STEP Journal is 100% private and personal. If you decide to share – fine, but by default you are the only one who sees your life.