Narrated by Brandon White, co-founder and CEO
The genesis of Zeuss began on a rainy spring day in early 2012 when I was supposed to pick up my niece from school. My brother told me she normally got picked up around 2:45pm, but that she would get in touch with me fifteen minutes before she was ready so I had time to get across town.
I was working as normal and as 2:45pm approached I noted the time and became more alert for my niece’s message. As often happens in the spring months, the weatherman’s forecast of thunderstorms became a reality as I looked out the window. I glanced at the clock in the upper right of my computer screen that read 3:01pm and just figured my niece was taking advantage of her uncle and hanging out with friends longer than her parents normally allowed. I remember those days, shrugged it off and kept fighting down my inbox. A loud bang of thunder caught my attention around 3:25pm and I started to wonder what the heck was going on. I grabbed my phone only to find five text messages from my niece asking where the heck I was. I suddenly felt a sinking in the pit of my stomach as I could hear the wrath of my brother, not to mention the panic that I had left my niece literally out in the rain. I grabbed my keys and flew out the door.
As I sped across town it dawned on me that even with all the modern technology we had, the message from my niece did not make it to me on the device where I was working. Her mental model about how to communicate with me was not to call or email, but rather text. Could she have known that the best way to send a message to me at 3pm in the afternoon was to email or call? My brother and his wife knew that it was best to call or email me that time of day because I am usually at my computer.
Driving back to the office after a healthy scolding from my brother, I reflected on how the mess could have been avoided. There were some hacks, but not a “comprehensive” solution. The issue wasn’t just the modality of a message, but making sure it arrived to the intended recipient(s) at the “right” time and through the “right” channel. I decided at that very moment to build a product that would fix that problem.
A torrent of questions arose in my mind (I ask a lot of questions, so many that my wife limits how many I can ask a day) about how we communicate electronically, what is exchanged through those channels, peoples behavior, sharing and accessibility, among many more. Was it possible to share mental models or blueprints that friends, colleagues and co-workers had already compiled and were using through memory? What efficiencies could be achieved by gaining that sort of shared visibility? What if I text you my home address right now, how do you get that into your contacts? If I send you an email with a picture how do you save that in a way you can easily find it in three months and even share it with another person or group? What if I text you that picture? Exploring these questions gradually gave me insight into the underlying problems we face with modern communications technology.
As I got deeper diagramming this complex ecosystem, I realized that all the software/apps we use today, have, by the sheer number of different “solutions “out there, created more complexity than the problems they promise to solve. We’ve got an app to solve every small problem, but not an app to solve the big problem that all the small apps inherently created.
As it turns out life really can be simpler, and with the help of some amazingly talented people, Zeuss has grown from one lone individual with a problem and a wild idea to fix it into a solution that gives you complete control and simplifies your life. The Zeuss approach centers on amplifying your intelligence. It embraces how your mind already works and organizes things, not how a computer program thinks you should do things. We believe technology should make your life simpler. Request a demo, seeing is believing.
PS. If you got this far you just read 721 words that I wrote late one night after midnight with a tired jack russell passed out in my lap. Thank you for being interested in what we are doing. Read more in our blog.