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Your Startup Sucks: Apps that Remind You When to Breathe and When to Selfie

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Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it. – Ferris Bueller

This week we are slowing down, taking a breath, writing in our journals, and of course, taking a selfie.

Can apps and gizmos put the brakes on the acceleration they’ve accelerated? We’ll find out this week on: Your Startup Sucks.


Spire.I/O: More focused. More active. More calm. More you.


Spire.IO wins our inaugural SkyMall award — for products that are vaguely useful in a ridiculous way. 



For only $149.95, Spire will sell you your own breathing. With a dongle clip on your waistband, it monitors you. When it senses you’re stressed, it sends a message to your phone reminding you to take a deep breath. Now what?

Scenario one: You stop and think, “Oh my God, I’m flustered, I’m stressed out!” You take a deep breath, you shake it out, you feel better.

Scenario two: You’re stuck in traffic on the freeway, 20 minutes late for a meeting, spilling hot coffee on yourself as you nurse your hangover, cursing the gods as try not to rear-end the guy in front of you who keeps slamming on his brakes for no reason, and then — your phone buzzes.

You grab for the phone but it squirts out and falls between the seat and the center console. As you dig for it, you have to slam on the brakes once more, and your coffee sloshes over. Finally you grab it:

“Your breathing suggests you’re tense. Take a deep breath?”

At that point you slowly and calmly draw in a deep breath, let it out, and then smash the phone mercilessly into the steering wheel in fury…



Taking a deep breath is a magical thing, of course.

In the book Buddha’s Brain, some smart guys explain that there are basically two states of being for humans: rest and fight-or-flight.

The intense fight-or-flight mode is great when you’re hunting mammoth or powering through a project,  but to be in that state all the time isn’t healthy.

Taking a deep breath signals to the body to enter rest mode. Both the mind and body can relax.

I can’t criticize a service that encourages people to stop and take a deep breath.

We all need that reminder. You could buy Spire, or put a note on the wall, or tie a string around your wrist.

It could be as simple as taking a deep breath. Then another.


Stigma – a mark of uncleanliness, taboo, disease. Also, your digital diary!

Maybe I have Homer Simpson Syndrome, but I can’t type on an iPhone. I mash at the keypad and half the time AutoCorrect saves me and half the time it screws me. The idea of of typing up a diary on a smart phone seems torturous.

I’ve recently discovered the dictation feature on my phone. It’s pretty great, ’cause I can finally get my thoughts out.

What if you could dictate into your phone — your thoughts, your fears, your dreams your innermost ambitions — it’s like free therapy! Or a best friend that is not actually on the other line.

Dictation — your digital bestie.





Everyday — document the ceaseless onrush of time — through selfies!

Everyday reminds you to take a picture of the same thing every day. It could be your succulent, or the sunset, or a tree, or the sky or … who are we kidding? It’s a selfie-reminder app. God help us all.




Maybe I’m crazy, but Spire is kind of intriguing. Isn’t a little peace and quiet priceless, in the end? 

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Samo is a local curmudgeon. He can be reached by carrier pigeon.