Hey Willow friends,
As you may have seen, Willow received quite a bit of press coverage around our launch out of 'beta.' It's nothing short of amazing seeing so many people write about something you've worked really hard on. Given the attention we're receiving now, I'd like to take the time to talk a little bit about what Willow is and isn't, and touch on how we got to where we are today.
In early 2014, I started working on what was then an unnamed, question and answer-based social discovery app. Though I wasn't completely sure what it was going to become or where it would go, I knew that I wanted to build a platform that used questions to start conversations between strangers with the goal of fostering more open, empathetic, and honest communication. Fast forward one year later and the app has received far more press and attention than I ever thought possible.
The app is now known as Willow, and we have recently become recognized by the press as the “anti-Tinder.” While Willow is, in many ways, antithetical to Tinder as a communications platform, proclaiming it the “anti - Tinder” implies that it is exclusively a dating app - user data overwhelmingly shows that this is not the case!
Roughly 70% of users search for both men and women to talk to. The willingness that so many users have to talk with people of both sexes, despite the majority identifying themselves as straight, shows that people are open to making a variety of connections through Willow. While there are a lot of people using Willow to make romantic connections, there are just as many people using Willow to find new friends, make pen pals halfway across the world, or just have fun conversations with strangers. Not everyone on Willow is single. As a platform, it's clear that Willow is conducive to helping people make all different kinds of connections.
Willow's strength lies in building fun, meaningful conversations between strangers who otherwise might never have the opportunity to talk with one another. I created Willow to help facilitate positive, honest communication on an interpersonal level. While it's true that Willow helps spark more sincere romantic connections in an age of oversexualized social media, it’s important not to forget the variety of other connections we help make as well.
Willow 1.4 - Introducing Discovery!
We are happy announce our official launch out of beta with the release of version 1.4. Willow has grown so much over the past couple of months - its been truly unbelievable. With version 1.4, the team felt confidant that this was the version of Willow we wanted to share with the world.
There are a ton of new features included in Willow 1.4. You can now select character traits to describe yourself, choose schools, and tag questions to make then searchable via our new discovery feature. You can either choose from our pre-made tags or create your own. Want to talk about something specific? Simply use our discover feature to search through various tags that people have selected.
We are so excited for what the future holds, and want to thank everyone that has been along for the journey so far. This is only the beginning.
The Willow Team
We are proud to introduce our newest version of Willow, version 1.3. Over the past couple of months, we have noticed that people use Willow for a variety of reasons. Some people use Willow because they want to meet a romantic interest. Others because they want to meet new friends in their area. Additionally, people half way across the world are communicating with one another just for the sake of communication, even though they may never get to meet in person. It is truly incredible seeing how Willow has grown and expanded in so many different ways, and our newest changes reflect this growth.
Our new "looking for" feature lets users explicitly state what kinds of connections they are looking for. People are now able to tell other whether they are looking for "friendship," "romantic interests," or "casual conversation," or all of the above.
Though simple, we believe these changes really solidify Willow as an inclusive social networking app everyone can use to meet someone new. As always, we look forward to your feedback and hope to hear from all of you.
The Willow Team
Some great news to share with you guys!
Willow was recently "highly commended" at the UK Dating Awards in London. Long story short, the judges thought we were awesome ;) As a new app, these kinds of compliments mean a lot. It inspires us to keep pushing forward to make Willow the best it can be. A huge thank you to Charly and the UKDA team - you guys are awesome (www.ukdatingawards.com)
Whether building romances or friendships, Willow is here to help get the conversation started and get *you* talking to and meeting new people. Nothing is better than seeing people recognize and appreciate what we are doing.
- The Willow Team
Today, we are proud to kick off our 'More Than Meets The Eye' video series. This video showcases will be showcasing the stories of talented and creative Willow supporters who defy conventions, challenge stereotypes, and help make the world a better place.
Featured first in our 'More Than Meets The Eye' series is Alejandro Zea, a 27 year old professional MMA fighter from Wheaton, MD. Alejandro doesn't exactly fit the mold of a stereotypical MMA fighter. At first glance he might seem like a tough, intimidating guy, but talk to him for five minutes and you realize outside of the ring, he is everything but. Father, firefighter, trivia whiz, craft beer aficionado, and professional MMA fighter - meet Alejandro Zea.
More Than Meets The Eye - Alejandro Zea from Willow on Vimeo.
Friends of Willow,
We want to thank you all for being patient with us the past month. We've been promising this update for a while now, and at long last we can finally say Willow 1.2 is available to all of you. A lot of work went into perfecting 1.2, so we really hope you enjoy it. What you can expect in version 1.2:
- iPhone 6 / 6 plus optimized and iOS8 ready.
- A brand new home screen and transition between questions. Everything is a lot smoother and more elegant looking.
- Chat organization: multiple conversations with the same person are finally organized under a single name. No more confusion or disorganized branches.
- Our favorite function now lets you organize and keep track of the conversations you are enjoying most.
- Improved messaging. Lag in the typing of messages has been substantially reduced. The overall experience of chatting with someone now feels a lot smoother.
- Time stamps on chats for those who are curious. Swipe any chat box to the left to see its time stamp.
- Bug fixes and server enhancements (better, faster, stronger!).
We also have a video to celebrate the launch of 1.2. Check it out:
Willow - Take A Closer Look from Willow on Vimeo.
Let us know how you feel about the new update and aesthetic of Willow. As always, we would love to hear from you.
The Willow Team
August has been a very busy month for all of us at Willow. A lot of unforeseen circumstances came up, and we sincerely thank all of our users for sticking with us throughout these changes. To briefly recap:
Version 1.0.1 - Log in issues regarding the Facebook API were resolved.
Version 1.0.2 - Glitches within the app re: answers not being pushed through from the server, and crashes resetting chats to 'new' resolved.
- All known crash and error reports have been logged and fixed.
You asked, we listened! New features include:
- Search radius expanded to 250 miles. At the max search radius, users are able to talk to anyone in the system. Previously our search radius maxed out at 101 miles. You now have the option of talking locally or globally - the choice is yours.
- Our push notifications have been improved - better handling, easier user management.
- Hyperlinks are now enabled!
- Questions you have already answered no longer repeat themselves!
- There were approximately two very short server outages in August, both lasting around 15 minutes. The issues were two separate, easily identifiable issues. We are in the process of doubling our server capacity, and reinforcing the back up servers so that this does not happen again.
We can't wait to show you guys what we have in store for the release of iOS8 and the new iPhone 6. Things are looking awesome! In the meantime, keep asking awesome questions, talking to new people, and most importantly, having fun.
The Willow Team
Hey Willow family,
Blog post #1 here. First and foremost, we want to thank everyone who has downloaded Willow this past week. The response has far exceeded our expectations, and we are truly grateful for all of your support and kindness.
To all the authors who took the time to write articles about us, a sincere thank you to you as well. Seeing so many positive things written about Willow has been a dream come true.
We have a lot of amazing updates coming in the near future - so make sure to check our blog frequently for the latest Willow updates news. We promise you won't be disappointed :)
Keep branching out, asking questions, and starting conversations everyone. The fun is only beginning!
The Willow Team