Why we’re building a new place to play.
by Adi Segal, Co-Founder & CEO of Prax.
“Camp, let’s make Camp!” as soon as I said that out loud, I knew that was the final piece in a year long puzzle my team and I had been searching for.
For the past year our collective now known as team Prax, has set out to build a community around positive reinforcement. Coming from a healthtech background we started by building a gratitude network for healthcare workers and that’s when the idea of a gratitude network was born. When COVID-19 hit American shores, the pent up gratitude for essential workers added an additional focus and, for the better part of 2020, the promise to let you thank anyone, anywhere, anytime became a web, iOS, Android, and voice platform that launched on Thanksgiving.
But, as with most startups, one realization led to another, and gratitude as a practice alone became too limiting to build the kind of platform our team wanted to see in the world.
So we spent the winter back at the drawing board to answer our new mantra:
Any PRACTICE is good for YOU.
It’s better DAILY.
And best with COMMUNITY.
The idea that a prompt, much like what we had seen in the gratitude journals we were using for research, could not only be digitized into a community, but open to any practice gave us the insight for Prax (short for Micropractices™). These short prompts, provided by professionals across as many professions as possible, could not only offer a moment productive play, but a canvas for creativity. By keeping each prax short, fun, and playfully challenging we found a whole new way to find joy.
I showed the team my favorite TED Talk by the late Sir Ken Robinson, PhD, “Do schools kill creativity.” One particular part of his talk stood out that I keep repeating to anyone who will listen. In a study on Kindergarteners, when asked “who is the artist,” all kids raised their hands. But less than a year later, asking those same children the same question, only two raised their hands and the rest pointed at those two, instinctively giving away their right to creativity to others as they had already labeled themselves something else. We are all born joyously curious, without fear or labels that keep us from exploring our various passions. Unfortunately, that is the very thing that gets taken away from us as soon as school starts. That’s when Camp became the embodiment of what Prax needs to be, a place to escape, where everything is ok to try, where your time is productive in what it does for your soul as much as what it does for your skills.
By the way, that camp piece that made this all fit together, it was actually inspired by Hillary Clinton’s last speech before starting her 2016 campaign where she said, “We need camps for adults… I think we have a huge fun deficit in America.” Regardless of politics, her perspective on our country, from a 10,000 foot view, is spot on.
As the product-side of the team is working on the new app, the people-side is tracking down, interviewing, and recruiting experts across mindfulness, yoga, meditation, life coaching, music, craft, the maker space, and more. These first Praxtitioners are teaching us so much more about what this platform can do for people. Every prompt in its brevity — no prompt takes longer than a minute — with no time or difficulty as an excuse, is able to fit into your day and add to it. After all, the best practice is the one you actually do. And by doing them on PRAX, a playground that focuses on the fun, not the practice, not only do you enjoy your time learning, you have a new way to bring joy to the rest of your day. And that, in the end, is the goal — to make life more playful.
Since doing a Prax is so much better than talking about it, here’s one from me.
PS — I encourage you to subscribe to this channel because we have a lot more in store about the science, art, and philosophies behind the joy of Micropractices.