It All Starts With a Woof
“Even people who are entirely strange and indifferent to one another will exchange confidences if they live together for a while, and a certain intimacy is bound to develop.”
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
We’d like to introduce you to the newest member of our family: Collie, the roommate app. Soon, you and your roommates will be able to adopt your own personal pup that’ll make living together seamless.
There it is.
Our puppy’s first bark.
Some of you may have already heard it through our Instagram, or through talking to Chris or I in person.
For those of you that have not, I’d like to introduce you to the newest member of our family (and hopefully future member of yours): Collie, the roommate app.
What is Collie?
Collie is a roommate coordination platform.
We’ve learned tons through our exploration of the problem that co-living groups face, and we believe we’re on track to building a comprehensive solution.
Of course, as anyone in the startup world will tell you, this is a long and iterative process.
We began by mocking up screens on paper, before testing out more formal wireframes and clickable prototypes.
All throughout we’ve paid special attention to the feedback that we received from our helpful testers, while also guiding our development through our personal broader and bolder insights about group behavior.
Through using our product, we believe roommates will find it easier to communicate, plan, and execute their shared activities (payments, chores, events, etc.).
Harkening back to the 3C’s I brought up in my last post, we made sure to build Collie to be as clear-cut and easy to use as possible.
After all, our goal is not to add one more app you have to worry about—but to consolidate all the other roommate solutions you might be using.
I’ll save further product details and screenshots for a future post, as we get closer to launching our beta.
The Dog Collar
When it came time to pick the name and to design the logo, we knew we had to be very deliberate. After all, these two elements are some of the most important in building a brand.
The story of the Collie name could not be more fitting.
In the summer of 2018, I spent a few weeks in New York before heading to D.C. in order to start my internship at Twitter.
While I was there, I took over a good friend’s lease and moved into the four bedroom apartment him and his roommates lived in in the East Village.
He had warned me before that his roommates weren’t the cleanest, and that there was a great deal of passive aggressiveness as a result.
It took walking in to realize that my friend had set the bar too high.
Dishes piled in the sink. A sofa covered with dirty laundry. Half eaten food everywhere. A bathroom that looked like a science experiment.
I did a bit of cleaning myself at first, and tried my best to recruit the other roommates (who were all actually nice people, just careless), but to no avail.
I resigned myself to living in this pig sty, primarily because I was usually only in there to sleep, and because I knew I only had to put up with it for about 20 more days.
Two weeks in, one of the roommates brought home a rescue dog.
You might be able to guess his breed…
At first, the rest of us were a bit upset that he would buy a dog without asking—and adopt one when he knew that he was at work most of the time.
This left the majority of the responsibility to all the other roommates to feed and walk Sam.
You can leave dishes unwashed, and smelly t-shirts on the floor—but you just can’t neglect such a cute slobbery face.
After the first day we met Sam, you never heard any complaining about taking care of him.
And soon after, everyone started slowly coming together to take care of the rest of our home.
To this day, I’m not entirely sure what that furry friend sparked in all of us—a sense of shared responsibility, a communal goal, or some sort of second hand embarrassment that our apartment dog had to live in such deplorable conditions.
For the logo, we knew we wanted something that represented the emotions we wanted Collie the company and product to evoke: Family, Friends, Home, Trust, Companionship, Comfort, Sharing, and Coming Together.
After a few drafts, we landed on the friendly face you see today.
My favorite part is the bold red tongue, because it always reminds me that the product should never lose sight of being fun and playful (along with having dependable utility).
So what’s next for Collie?
We’re planning a beta release of a web app this summer—sign up here (www.meetcollie.com) if you’d like to play around with the first littler of puppies (don’t worry, we’re really dogfooding before you get your paws on it).
Lots of training is going in to making sure that every roommate group’s personal Collie will be a helpful pup from day one. The hope is that one day you won’t need to use a leash.
We’re also focusing on building out our community, concurrently with building the product.
I couldn’t be more excited to share the journey of building a roommate’s best friend, and I’d love it if you joined me.
Until then, look out for my next article, where we’ll let Collie out of the dog house, and running freely around the neighborhood.