Intimate, authentic, and humane technology

April 2, 2021

At Cocoon, we conduct member interviews every week to learn more about how the app is weaving into people's lives, and uncover opportunities to serve them better. This series shares some of our favorite stories.

We recently caught up with Welf von Horen, a startup founder from Berlin. Welf shared with us about his passion for humane technology, and how he's created a digital space where he can be totally authentic in Cocoon.

Welf (front)

Welf takes a philosophical approach to technology. He has thought deeply about how to live with intentionality, and is even working on his own app to help with that. His thoughtfulness inspired some interesting insights into social apps.

Welf was an early adopter of Instagram and Snapchat (he estimates that he introduced 30 people to Instagram in the early days). Both apps were creating new ways to connect with people, and he loved exploring the developing mediums. As the apps became more popular though, Welf started to withdraw.

"I feel like I'm more willing to share in a space that's rather small. When I started feeling like there were more people there than the initial circle, I wanted to leave. It felt too public."

The desire for intimacy is a recurring theme in Welf's search for new and better apps, and it's what led him to try Cocoon. Tellingly, the people he chose for his first Cocoon were his cofounder and two closest friends, all of whom he travels and lives with. Welf describes them as "the closest thing I've ever had to my tribe".

During our conversation, Welf talked a lot about the ability to be totally authentic in his Cocoon. It's something he values deeply, and the reason he's chosen to keep his Cocoon small. That level of comfort inspires him to share things he wouldn't elsewhere– not just thoughts, but locations, step counts, and mindfulness minutes too.

Welf shared a snapshot of his Cocoon with us
"There are a lot of small features in Cocoon that are made for intimate relationships, that make it different from other spaces. It's not just sharing your messages, it's also sharing what you're up to, in a really effortless way."

In Berlin, Welf organizes meetups to talk about the humane technology movement, which is focused on solving the problems caused by social media's ad-based business model. We asked Welf what he thought about Cocoon in the humane tech framing. "Simply knowing and trusting the promise that Cocoon isn't going to sell your data. It's built around privacy and security, and paying for it is actually really conducive to that." (If you want to learn more about our business model, you can visit our Pricing page.)

It was great to talk with Welf, and we can't wait to see the tech he builds in the future!