As Linda Ronstadt famously sang, “it’s so easy to fall in love.”
Staying in love — well, that is significantly harder, a fact to which an army of marriage counselors and self-help writers can readily attest. Once the wonders of the honeymoon phase are over and everything one’s beloved does don’t seem quite as wonderful, the harder parts about being considerate, patient and consistently a positive force in someone else’s life really come home to roost.
Sometimes we live up the challenge. Sometimes we don’t — and the relationship comes crashing and burning to an end.
Which brings us to Australian entrepreneur Dan Groch, who found himself at the end of one of those crashes and burns when his relationship of 12 years ended. Once the grieving was over and Brock was ready to get back out there, he was determined to do it better next time. He was going to be the hero boyfriend he knew he could be.
And it was at about this point he learned something interesting. The web and mobile landscape are literally chock full of apps and services that will help a consumer find love — or at least companionship that could perhaps become love down the line. But keeping love around once it has swiped right into your heart? Not so much.
But Groch felt he could fix that problem. And so Hero Boyfriend was born.
“I don’t need an app to be a good boyfriend,” one early user noted was his first thought when he heard about the product.
His girlfriend didn’t disagree exactly but thought that in life there is always room for improvement, and so she rather actively lobbied him to use the app.
His reaction, according to Groch, is not uncommon, but also not one that is hard to overcome.
“We’ve tested this with hundreds of people, and what we’ve seen is that it really strikes a chord. I think most people want to do better in their relationships — and we want to help them do that,” he told us.
This app, which performs a variety of services for its users — like suggesting the recipe for a partner’s favorite meal, ordering flowers automatically or prompting a spontaneous picnic — is meant to cover a variety of relationship needs. It is not about being a bad boyfriend — bad boyfriends don’t download things called Hero Boyfriend — it’s for good boyfriends who want to do better.
Who, in fact, want to be heroes.
The AI Love Doctor
“Building an AI personal assistant is not easy,” Groch noted — and that is essentially what Hero Boyfriend is. At its center is a digital assistant that both “remembers” important dates for you and is an AI that learns about its users so that it can make useful suggestions.
Complexity of making a digital assistant aside, the thing that has made Hero Boyfriend such a long development process — two years in beta — is that this AI is more than just an assistant — it is a relationship counselor as well. If Alexa orders the wrong dish soap or pizza every time the ad is on, most consumers will forgive her. If, on the other hand, one’s digital AI runs off the love of their life — well, that is harder to forgive.
And Hero Boyfriend, notes its founder, is still a developing work. Today the app aggregates 30,000 events, 4,000 gift experiences and 10,000 gift product lines. Up next is an app for the other person in the relationship, so that couples can essentially build two-person social networks to boost their combinations.
Groch has further plans for the app’s development, including the possibility of a standalone app for the other partner in the relationship, so that the couple have a “social network” of two for their dating relationship that they can use to boost their communication.
But for now Hero Boyfriend is starting small — and helping good boyfriends everywhere do a bit better. The app is live in the App Store for download.