This story is written by Spandan Bandyopadhyay, a member based in Redondo Beach, CA. Spandan is an experimental chef who is passionate about crazy and creative cooking, writing, and learning new things.
Simbi has a wide variety of very unique, serious services that add so much non-monetary value to people’s lives — people will teach you how to cook, consult for your small business, or create a new language and orthography just for you! I could go on about how it’s a fascinating little playground sheltered from capitalism and how the economics geek in me is very interested to see how it matures. But this post isn’t about Simbi as a social experiment or those serious services. It’s about the silly ones! People are offering wonderful little bites of culture like “Send me bee puns!”, “Help me with my zombie contingency plan!”, and my personal favorite, “I’ll respond to your message with ‘Sorry, I have a boyfriend'”.
At first glance, these services may seem simple and comedic, presented to make both the author and reader smile. If a reader takes the next step and sends the author a message, they get to exchange a fun service for simbi, and there’s something very satisfying about being paid in a virtual currency for something so fun and whimsical! But look deeper at the exchange, and you might notice that there’s something else gained from these silly interactions, something more than bee puns or elaborate fictional escape scenarios.
Here is where I think Simbi really shines as a platform — those silly requests act as perfect icebreakers between strangers.
There are so many like-minded people out there that, due to something as arbitrary as not being born in the same city, you will never meet. The internet has confronted this problem to a certain degree, with forums and chatrooms for people with the same interests to get to know each other. It doesn’t matter so much anymore that you’re the only avid curly straw designer in Topeka — I guarantee there’s a chatroom somewhere devoted to curly straw design.
But I think Simbi has taken the next step, and managed to bring a community of like-minded people together not only to exchange serious services and improve people’s lives, but to socialize and make lasting friendships. I’m sure we’ve all heard about the studies on how hard it is for adults to make new friends outside of their existing friend and work circles, and Simbi circumvents them in an extremely natural way. Exchanges for services are one-on-one, of course, both people are interested in the service, and the rest is human magic.
I started using Simbi just three months ago – I figured it would be an interesting way to improve my life in the little ways, and it sounded fun to be able to do that for other people, too. My requests were for little things that my friends didn’t know enough about, like my early request for someone to teach me how to talk like a ridiculously fake Hollywood hacker, and my recent request for a writing/accountability partner for NaNoWriMo. I got a lot of interest for those requests, and it was great that I could have those things — but what really surprised me were the friendships that sprung up, almost unnoticed. When the deal was completed, I realized I’d miss talking to these people, even though we’d only really talked about the service. And today it doesn’t seem weird at all to me that I’m going to Skype with someone I’ve never met in person and cackle like morons about my latest attempts to learn how to talk like a movie hacker. I’ll be over here finding a backdoor to the Django DDoS elliptic satellite before the Russians, if you need me.
Simbiotic Stories are real anecdotes told by you and other Simbi community members. Tell us about your Simbi deals and experiences with other members. If your story is published, we’ll credit your account with 150 simbi. Submit your entries by starting a conversation with us via this link.