Category Archives: Story

A birthday present gone awry is a gift card lesson – Kansas City Star

See on Scoop.itHappy Birthday Wishes

A birthday present gone awry is a gift card lesson
Kansas City Star
The easiest thing would have been to order the gift card on Amazon’s website.

Joel Cheuoua‘s insight:

Sometimes it seems like technology is moving too fast, and it doesn’t feel good. We have a natural tendency to do things in a traditional way, because it’s the way we know, and it’s easy to forget or ignore reasons why things with funny, geekish names like "cloud" or "apps" exist in the first place.


And then there’s stories like this that remind us, or makes us realize…


Birthday gifts and birthday wishes sent online are taking over as a popular alternative to traditional gift and greeting cards for very good reasons: They usually save you money, and you don’t need to worry about delays or problems with postal mail. 

Plus with services like Facebook, it’s really a lot easier to send your birthday wishes from the comfort of our homes to all our friends.


A wise man said that experience is the most brutal of all teachers. But you learn … my god do you learn.

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Birthday Card Effort Continues for Ailing PES Student

See on Scoop.itHappy Birthday Wishes

Birthday Card Effort Continues for Ailing PES Student cctimesdemocrat The effort to have 1,000 birthday cards sent to an ailing Piggott Elementary School student has been a success, but organizers are still encouraging those wanting to send a card…


Dayton Gilkison (front) and his family with some of the 1,000-plus birthday cards he has received. Also pictured are his dad, Joey Gilkison, his mom, Heather, younger brother Trace and sister McKenzie. (courtesy photo)

Joel Cheuoua‘s insight:

More stories like these are needed as there’s clear evidence that mental state is critical for those who are battling horrible disease such as Dayton and 7-year-old Tyler Seddon who also had an unforgettable birthday surprise thanks to the good people from New England police department.

ABC Entertainment News | ABC Business News

It’s heartwarming, and telling as to what simple birthday wishes can do to make people happy. It makes sense: A birthday is the most special day in one’s life. Enjoy them to the fullest!

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Avoid gift-giving panic with these creative ideas for any anniversary – The Signal

See on Scoop.itHappy Birthday Wishes

Avoid gift-giving panic with these creative ideas for any anniversary
The Signal
Long-term cures for spectacular present ideas hover in that horrible category of paying attention and writing things down.


Joel Cheuoua‘s insight:

This is a really cool and witty summary of the base strategies to using technology for avoiding falling into the pitfall of common bad gift.

We use a savvy blend of these tips in our Gift Genie app to provide suggestions powered both by the crowd and by algorithms.

The closing thoughts are also inspiring, especially at the very end :-)

“Alternatively, experiences are often better than things. At least they don’t gather dust.

Romantic dinners, skydiving adventures and long bike rides are all great experiences. Or sex. Sex is good too.  Just make sure the package stays wrapped.”


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6 reasons Facebook is the best thing that ever happened to friendship – ChicagoNow (blog)

See on Scoop.itCreative Social Content

6 reasons Facebook is the best thing that ever happened to friendship

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Joel Cheuoua‘s insight:


This blog entry is right on point.

With the caveat that engaging with friends on Facebook is largely depending on Facebook’s news feed algorithm that sometimes doesn’t show everything. Important updates and even birthdays are sometimes missed.

To Facebook’s credit, they are trying their best to filter out noise and spam from signal. It’s not an easy feat, and they still have a lot of room for improvements.

Nevertheless, the value of Facebook, as described here, still holds.


‘Happy Birthday slutbag': Are ‘funny’ rude greeting cards going too far? –
‘Happy Birthday slutbag': Are ‘funny’ rude greeting cards going too far?
It’s your birthday, and a friend hands you a card.


Joel Cheuoua‘s insight:

Yep, this is something we’ve seen times and times again. It seems like many publishers believes that the more a card is offensive, the “funnier” it is. And the “funnier” it is, the better it will be selected or sold.

On the long term, this unfortunately only reinforce the feeling many already have about birthdays being something not worth celebrating or being happy about.

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See on – Happy Birthday Wishes

Men vs. Women: The Social Media Battleground

Today I found another very interesting take on this recurring and prolific topic.

The infographic that follows, summarizes the current state of social media usage based on gender.

image source:

It seems like things haven’t really changed since I posted a related piece earlier last year titled So, what’s up with men? and another one on How Americans are keeping in touch.

We also have a similar gender schism with our birthday card app: 80% of our users are female.  And the vast majority of the men using it are age 18-34.  It does actually matches nicely the figures from the greetings cards industry that shows women are the main actors and target demographic when it comes to trying to make others feel good.

Now, I’m male. And while I’m OK to admit that sometimes I very poorly express my sensitivity or fail to act on that very basic  human trait that is empathy, I always have in me – at the very least – the interest and drive to improve.

Therefore I can’t help but keep wondering what’s really up with us…

Creative & Tasty Birthday Cards

So, I stumbled upon to this very tasty and touching story the other day.

It’s the story of an Irish dad that simply got one of the best – and tastiest – birthday card ever.

Tasty creative birthday card

This was such an original idea for a birthday card that I got curious, and I did a quick research on Pinterest (there’s always something amazing and original on Pinterest!) to find some similar cards:

Source: Jak Salazar on Pinterest
Source: Jak Salazar on Pinterest

And I ended up finding even more inspiring and creative birthday cards. some people are truly talented and amazing!

Source: Stephanie Beltz on Pinterest
Source: Stephanie Beltz on Pinterest

In all cases, that’s an epic win in our books! Sometimes all it takes is just thinking with your heart and outside of the box. It goes a long way to making friends and family feel special for their special day.

These are some the very few occasions where I’m all for physical cards over digital birthday cards that are not only cheaper (how can you beat free) but also eco friendly, and a lot less problematic to send/mail.

Oh, and while you’re at it, check out some of these creative birthday cakes on Pinterest. It’s well worth it, and maybe some of you will find just the right the inspiration for their next party, or the right inspiration to do something even more brilliant or even more crazy! Just send me the pics!

Creative Birthday Cake

Did you miss a birthday this week?

all friends
Facebook’s birthday reminders are making it very easy for everyone who’s using that service not to miss a birthday and send wishes to our friends every day. Not to mention the thousands of apps that helps people create and schedule their greetings such as ours.


However, it still occasionally happens that we miss birthdays, even when the information is on Facebook. It happened to me too many times, and I always felt terrible about it.

This week was my birthday, and I’ve been on the other end of the “missed your birthday” problem.

Many of my friends send me their wishes – of course some of them did so using our Birthday Application. Special Kudos for you guys! – and of course It felt great to have so many amazing people around me thinking of me for my special day.

But some friends didn’t. They simply missed it. And for the ones who realized, I can tell they were really embarrassed (at least they faked it well :)), just as I’ve been several times when I missed the birthday of someone I really should have remembered.

turtle winning the race against a rabbit

The good news is that it’s not such a big issue when handled properly. With a nice “Happy Belated Birthday” card for example.

And now we got you covered: Happy Birthdays was updated so you can easily see the recent birthday celebrations, and send cute, funny belated birthday cards.

Here’s how it works:

1 –  Happy Birthdays will show you birthdays that happened for the past 7 days

Screen shot 2013-04-19 at 8.49.10 AM

2 – Browse the list to check the recent birthday celebrations

Screen shot 2013-04-19 at 8.57.53 AM

3 – Click on a friend on the list if you have missed a birthday and send a belated birthday card from our templates. As usual, you can also design your own.

Screen shot 2013-04-19 at 8.58.46 AM

That’s it … diplomatic incident hopefully avoided :-)

Enjoy your birthdays!

He Remembers Me!

He remembers me

Very few things can make a startup founder melt like a marshmallow.

Almost every single day in our life is a lonely fight for relevance, existence and traction. In a sea of sharks, of risks, of dismissals, of incomprehensions, and of doubts.

Having a thick skin, and an uncluttered mind, free from raw emotions and from the tempting lures of being complacent or appear vulnerable is not just a “nice to have”. It’s a mandatory skill to develop if we want to survive.

However, I challenge any founder not to melt after hearing a story from one of their users, whose life has been touched because of what they’ve built.

This is one of these.

It all started with “Edu”. I met him only recently, but I quickly grew a lot of respect and affection for him. It’s easy to see why: Edu is also an entrepreneur, but with a much higher profile. He’s compassionate and smart: he advises startups, and sometimes even invest in them. He loves people, and people love him.

But Edu doesn’t always have the time to show his compassion to the people in his life. He’s a very busy man.

When he was a kid, Edu was in a private catholic school run by nuns. One of the nuns, who was also one of the most respected and devoted person in the school, also really loved Edu and was always looking after him.

They ultimately stayed in touch and they connected on Facebook. But they haven’t been interacting a lot thus far.

I connected with Edu through a friend in common that introduced the two of us, as he believed we could do some business together.

That’s how I got to show him to our birthday application: Happy Birthdays.

Edu, liked it a lot.  I immediately saw that we were on the same page. He understood what makes the app unique: the ability to collect and share gift ideas for people, in an easy, crowd-sourced, fun and non-intrusive fashion.

But, as it’s often the case with things we expect, or take for granted, a much simpler and much more ordinary action in the app was what touched Edu’s life.

Happy Birthdays allows users to create personalized birthday cards for select friends on Facebook. Very quickly, and very easily, while allowing the user to stay creative. Edu created and scheduled birthday cards for his friends, including for the nun, with whom he is connected on Facebook.

When we met again, a couple days ago, to catch up over a coffee, he told me about what had happened when she received his greetings: she was so moved by this simple but meaningful sign that she downloaded his message, printed it and sent it to her friends, and to Edu’s friends. Along with these touching, simple words: “He remembers me!”.

Edu eyes were sparkling as he was telling me the story. It was easy to see that he was really happy for putting so much warmth into the life of someone that matters for him.

That’s of course one the most beautiful story I’ve heard this year. And yes, it did make me melt.

Thank you Edu for sharing this story with me, and for inspiring me to stay focus and keep the faith in our vision and in what we are building.

Tales of an Empathic Civilization

3d small people - help to the friendPeople are sometimes asking me why I’m working so hard on Symbyoz.

That’s because I believe in Empathy. That’s because I’m deeply pained to see it taking a conspicuous beating on a daily basis.

Empathy is understanding each other’s feelings, goals and aspirations. It’s not the caricature of a cheesy feel for anything that’s cute or weak. It’s cultivating the curiosity to know what move others, what is it that they feel, what is it that they want.

I stumbled upon this fascinating video about “outrospection”.

Don’t run away just yet or let not the nerdy word fool you … The tale, really, is simply about empathy.

Empathy is pausing to listen to others, instead of endlessly thinking and talking about ourselves and about our problems, instead of being obsessively self-reflective, instead of assuming things based on a way too common self-centered perspective.

Empathy helps to consciously decide whether we can do something with other people or whether we should ignore them.

One of my favorite author, Paulo Coelho, also perfectly captures that essence in his latest blog entry that’s really worth reading for a major boost in inspiration:

2013: the first year of the rest of my life

Some excerpts:

I will pass a beggar, who will ask me for money.
I might give it to him or I might walk past thinking that he will only spend it on drink, and as I do, I will hear his insults and know that it is simply his way of communicating with me.

I will pass someone trying to destroy a bridge.
I might try to stop him or I might realize that he is doing it because he has no one waiting for him on the other side and this is his way of trying to fend off his own loneliness.

Empathy is about looking forward, not going backwards. It’s about sharing our future, as a response to our shared present and to our shared past.