Navigating life together. Accelerated.

JC Velten

10 months ago

We began 2023 with an idea: can we evolve the way we engage with our friends and with the places we love so, that we can have more genuine connections? And so we went, assembling an amazing team of developers, and creating & testing the UI dozens of times with a group NYU students to make sure we were on the right track to deliver on our goal.

Applying Design Thinking to make it happen

Accelerating development needed us to adapt the way we were working in order to ensure launching an MVP nearly 5 months sooner than anticipated was not just wishful thinking. We found inspiration on the Design Thinking principles which JC has been teaching to engineers at Stanford, and Joaquin has applied at Google. Here are the 7 actions we took to accelerate Swim by keeping the ball moving forward, every small step of the way:

  • We enabled every single person at Swim to be completely fluid and go in and out of the different tasks required to launch, as their passion dictated
  • We set up two meetings per day with the development team - one at 6am, and one at 5pm - including weekends
  • We asked the developers about the additional resources they needed, and provided them without hesitation
  • We tested Swim with the students every single week, no matter what
  • We gave our three NYU interns ample space for creativity in tasks that ranged from creating videos to interacting with the engineering team
  • The founders met every single day - weekends included - for several hours to support and respond with agility to the needs of the development team, the interns, and our designers
  • We opened every single meeting at Swim with an intention for that session to ensure we were focused on the same goals without time to waste

Readying the pool for our first users

With the help of our three gifted interns, we decided to launch Swim first for their own 'tribe,' the NYU community. This limited release would enable us to give each one of our users a "magical experience" as Brian Chesky, AirBnB's co-founder, refers to when it comes to ensuring your users guide your development, and not the other way around.

We have been fortunate that our entire team stepped up to the plate and found the inspiration needed to work hard on our common purpose of enabling people to have more genuine connections in the real world.

Photo courtesy of Silicon Valley photographer and entrepreneur Christopher Michel (

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