Have you had the niggling feeling that all the new apps and services you're encouraged to try aren't helping much? Computers should have brought about revolutionary change; a new, reimagined society – more equal, healthier, wealthier, and happier. But they're failing to live up to that promise.

In the first decade of the millennium, Silicon Valley seemed capable of delivering transformative change. Google, Facebook, and Amazon were rolling, and Apple reinvented itself by launching the iPhone. We found ourselves in a new, hyper-connected world, in which we expected digital technology to rapidly improve every aspect of our lives.

Almost two decades later, things feel different.

Instead of a drudgery-free utopia, what the tech industry seems to have delivered are small-minded conveniences: apps to help you find a parking space, keep your house plants alive, and salt-shakers that double as music speakers. We have faster, friction-free ways to communicate, more convenient ways to shop, and more compelling entertainment options, but these are disappointing results considering the transformative potential of microchip technology.

How did we find ourselves here?

One reason is software products are complex and require teams of highly trained programmers, which are difficult and costly to assemble. This high cost undermines our efforts to create a better quality of life in unexpected ways.

One surprising example is research in the social sciences. It's often based on complex survey protocols, custom-built by software engineers. This inflates the price of conducting studies, slowing progress down and feeding into some of the perverse incentives of academia. Researchers must publish, so if a researcher spent time and money building a survey, and then found a problem with their design, they're less likely to do the right thing and rerun the study. Instead, they might choose to engage in unethical practices in an attempt to still publish. Not only has more time and money than necessary been spent on lower-quality research, but you and I also don't get the benefit of the scientific insights this research could have provided.

You'd think that improving workplace efficiency would be a perfect fit for custom software, but instead, it's another area of disappointment. At most companies, employees are aware of at least one repetitive task that creates day-to-day issues, yet it's nobody's job to improve. There are even examples of full-time jobs where the responsibilities revolve around duct-taping processes that should be automated. Not only is this costly to the company, but it also negatively affects employee morale and well-being.

Finally, the high barrier of entry into building digital tools means the tools we do get are, as a broad approximation, built by Silicon Valley types to solve Silicon Valley problems. Opportunities not lucrative enough to attract venture capital investment remain unnoticed because their market is too small to get a return on the investment to build the tech. The result is a poverty of novel ideas and missed opportunities for new businesses, to the detriment of us all.

Meet GuidedTrack

GuidedTrack aims to change this by making it possible for anyone to build interactive tools, enabling all to create modern software without having to deal with the unnecessary complexity contemporary computer programming involves.

We believe this has the potential to unlock untapped creative energy in our society. Democratizing the ability to build, distribute, and maintain apps would empower experts to address valuable but neglected problems by unburdening them from the difficult economics of building specialized software. It would enable us to realign the incentives for doing high-quality research in the social sciences, allowing scientists to direct their efforts towards figuring out the keys to human flourishing, instead of focusing on hacks to make publication more likely. It could make established businesses more efficient and innovative, by reducing the cost of automating recurring chores. It would also pave the way for new business ventures by making opportunities economically viable that might have otherwise been considered ‘too niche’ to generate profits.

We’re already seeing signs of this working

Here are some of the cool things our customers have managed to do:

Our customers are utilizing technology to work on difficult, often ignored, but valuable problems. We're very happy to support them in their effort to reduce suffering and improve people's lives.

Do you have an idea for something you'd want to build?

Build it with GuidedTrack