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Afarin Pirzadeh, Founder-UX Researcher/Designer, Inome

Afarin Pirzadeh became interested in mental health while groiwng up in Iran and observing her mother, who got married when she was 18, had her first kid when she was 19, and then had two more kids. Afarin's mother was always so busy with taking care of her children that she almost forgot about herself. At some point, she started thinking about who she is as a person, not as a mom. As Afarin watched this journey of self-discovery unfold, she became curious about how we become more self-aware and how we can empower people throughout this journey to make this process as easy as possible.

These powerful memories stayed with Afarin when she came to the US in 2010 to get her PhD in Human computer Interaction at IUPUI. She started doing more research on self-awareness, self-reflection and different challenges we encounter throughout this process and eventually designed the Inome app (pronounced "I know me").

More about Afarin:

1. What is the mission of Inome?

Our mission at Inome is to empower women to develop self-awareness and know who they are through reflective journaling.

2. Why did you create this app?

Most of us believe that we are self-aware and truly know ourselves. However, at different stages of our lives we struggle with finding our passions, articulating our core values, identifying our neglected needs, or recognizing our strengths and weaknesses.

Self-aware people 1) are aware of their needs, feelings, and behaviors at any given moment, and 2) know who they are by recognizing the patterns of their needs, feelings, and behaviors. The second is not possible without practicing the first. We all reflect on our experiences to some extent by journaling, thinking about life or talking with other people. However, it’s critical to ask the right questions when we reflect and also record our data to be able to identify our patterns.

We designed Inome to help women make reflection a daily habit by practicing a guided process of reflection every day. As they reflect more and more, we empower them to identify their patterns and therefore who they are. We help them identify their core values, discover what they are passionate about and what needs are neglected in their life, and recognize their strengths and weaknesses.

4. Who can benefit most from this app and why?

The app is ideal for those who want to design a more meaningful and joyful life, develop self-awareness, or just want to make reflection a daily habit.

5. How will you market this new technology?

Content marketing and social media have been huge for us. We have published blogs around self-awareness and reflection. We hope that we can increase awareness around how important reflection and self-awareness are for mental well-being and eventually a joyful and meaningful life.

6. How is user feedback guiding your tech upgrades?

User research has been the foundation of this project from its very beginning. We designed the Inome app based on dozens of interviews with women. We constantly talk with our users to collect feedback to improve our product.

7. How would you like for Inome to help people?

We believe we all have some room to increase our self-awareness. Our goal has been to make the process of reflecting and developing self-awareness as easy and doable as possible. We hope that the Inome app encourages women to reflect daily and identify their emotions and needs in a regular basis. We strive for a day that every woman knows herself and is able to articulate her core values, passions, strengths and weaknesses. Our ultimate goal is to empower women to design a life they love.

8. How have The Startup Ladies helped you grow?

The Startup Ladies do a great job representing and guiding women. I learned a lot from the amazing speakers at their seminars and workshops. Simply being a part of a community of like-minded, entrepreneurial women helps believe in myself as an entrepreneur and push myself to chase my goals every day..

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