Simili grew out of another idea I had — one which I still believe has merit — but that may just be my stubbornness talking.

It began as a “tastes and preferences profile” inspired by a situation I sometimes found myself in: wanting to do something nice for someone, like bring them a coffee, but not knowing exactly what KIND of coffee would make them the most happy. I think of it like the “love language” of food – I want to know that the bottle of wine I’m bringing you is actually something you’d like to drink, or that the multigrain bagel I’m bringing you is going to make you happier than a donut would.

I realized that this tastes and preferences profile could be leveraged in other ways – for example, when choosing restaurants. This, too, was a point of pain for me. As a vegetarian who doesn’t like to be “difficult,” I had found myself on more than one occasion either quietly eating overpriced iceberg lettuce for lunch, or else in the uncomfortable position of having the group turn to ME to make a decision about where all of US were going to eat. I didn’t like that one bit.

I’d also been part of more than one circular conversation with friends, of the “I don’t know… where do you want to go?” and “I don’t care – anywhere” variety. That, too, seemed suboptimal. I realized that if everyone just spoke up and shared what they really wanted to eat, we’d all be better off and we’d actually get to a decision more quickly… and yet I, too, was totally guilty of standing there on the sidewalk, half starving, saying “I don’t care,” even when I really did.

I just kept thinking “there’s gotta be a better way.”

And so began the adventure.

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