Switchboard and Wishes

Today I was thinking about what we, as humans, wish for. And how to build Switchboard so that it can, as cheesy as this sounds, make wishes come true.

My starting place is knowing what we probably don’t wish for. At least what I don’t wish for. I never say: “I wish I had more time to aimlessly surf the internet and bookmark recipes.” “I wish I could randomly click on the profiles of my professional contacts and see what groups they belong to.” “I wish I could passively scroll through a feed of news and announcements from strangers and distant acquaintances.” Instead, I say “I wish I could cook my friends a meal.” “I wish I could have a monthly discussion with my most inspiring colleagues.” “I wish I could meet up with someone I share something in common with and toss around a frisbee.”

Sometimes when I’m looking for inspiration that informs the building of Switchboard I try to identify existing sites from completely different disciplines that might help answer my questions. And so for this question— “What do we wish for?”— I went to the Make-A-Wish foundation. As as you’ll see from the recent wishes in the photo, there is a wish lexicon that we have as humans. Certain verbs that come up over and over again: I wish to be, to have, to meet, to go, to learn, to make, to give. We are building Switchboard to be a place to say these wishes out loud and then see what can come true.