We had the good fortune of connecting with Amy Giddon and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Amy, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
Starting my own business was never a life goal for me. I thought I was pretty content in the corporate and consulting worlds I was in. But I became troubled…and then inspired….and then compelled.

I’m troubled by the “us vs them” mentality that is so pervasive right now. Loneliness had already been on the rise, and empathy on the decline before the intense othering that reared its head 5 years ago. My most deeply held value is that everyone deserves to be seen and heard, and that we all belong. I was feeling the weight of these divisive times when I had a transformative experience that became the inspiration behind my startup Daily Haloha.

While doing my daily subway commute in NYC, I saw a sticky note project, called “Subway Therapy”, blossom on the station walls. Soon it bacame a rich mosaic of 50,000 beating hearts on those walls. I watched as passersby felt drawn to participate. I saw them thoughtfully create their contribution, and place it amidst the others. And I saw how they were uplifted when they stepped back and felt a part of something bigger than themselves.

Intrigued and moved, I starting researching other collaborative art and storytelling projects and the unique way they uplift us and connect us to our shared humanity. And I found something really interesting: these projects have a common set of features. These features are: participation is anonymous, there is no judgment, everyone is welcome and everyone matters in equal measure. Furthermore, each one has a theme, and exists for a finite time – creating a momentary and intentional gathering spot. Because of these features, people can be thoughtful, authentic, even vulnerable as they connect their own thoughts and perspectives with those of others. Hmmm…pretty much the opposite of social media, which is full of judgment, factions, and the pressures of social comparison.

Taking these “Aha’s!” into consideration, I felt compelled to see if we could bottle up the magic of collaborative art into a new kind of participatory digital experience: a daily ritual of collective reflection, sharing, and perspective-taking.

We hope that a visit to Daily Haloha each day will be nourishing and connecting for us individually. And we dare to hope that with all of us checking in with each other in this way, we can put a little empathy and belonging back in the world.

Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
It’s easy to get into a scaling and scorekeeping game when you have a tech platform. Metrics, users, engagement, etc. Sure that’s important, and we are fortunate to have a good number of fans all over the world, but what I’m most proud of is the specific feedback that has become my north star:

“I feel less alone”
“I have greater affection for humanity”
“I feel the most me”

I’m also pretty proud of our app. It started off as a clunky duckling but through listening and learning from our participants, we’ve arrived at something very special. As a participant myself, I continue to feel delighted by the daily ritual we’ve created.

The 3-minute flow goes like this:

1) Everyone gets the same thought-provoking fill-in-the-blank question each day – just fill in the blanks with you!

2) Style it with your mood, then send it off. It will get delivered randomly and anonymously to another participant. You’ll instantly get one back from another person. It’s kind of like a mystical fortune cookie swap 🙂

3) Then come take a look at the Haloha Wall as it fills up throughout the day with the whole community’s thoughts and feelings. Get a glimpse of what it’s like to be us.

I have asked nearly 1,000 questions in the app, and the responses never fail to uplift me, inspire me, move me and amuse me.

Starting this business has been the hardest and most rewarding thing I’ve ever done. My pace of learning has never been faster. I embarked on this journey with no tech or mobile app experience, no founder experience, and few tools that translated from my corporate career to the startup world. With the constrained resources of a startup, I’ve had to do many things myself that I used to outsource, across product design, marketing, analytics and finance.
I spend a considerable amount of time reading, researching, and listening to people with experience and expertise that I don’t have. Then, I just take the plunge and learn the rest by doing. It’s a bit unnerving but also very gratifying. It definitely takes a village to raise an app!

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
As a New Yorker, I would tell my best friend to look elsewhere for advice!

As a huge fan of street art and public art, though, I would encourage anyone to fully explore the vibrant and beautiful street art in Miami, starting with Wynwood Walls. Little Havana and Little Haiti also have incredible murals to discover. It’s helpful to do some research in advance as murals are constantly being painted over, but it’s just as fun to walk the streets and see what’s around the corner!

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I want to dedicate my Shoutout to Matthew Chavez, Candy Chang, Brandon Doman and other participatory artists who bring humanity to our city sidewalks.

Website: https://dailyhaloha.com/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/dailyhaloha/

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/amygiddon/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/AmyGiddon

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCvFkrYXCjQiHkfSU9MPK7Gw

Other: Download our free app: http://onelink.to/haloha

Image Credits

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutMiami is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.