Three words came to mind as Carl pitched me on a new project called Hapyn™: vague, but exciting.

Tim Berners-Lee’s boss wrote these same words atop Lee’s 1989 proposal for the World Wide Web, right before the project was shelved for 18 months. Lucky for you, me, and the LOLcats, Lee and his colleagues rallied together to bring the idea – the web – to life.

I wanted to reframe the way we use information, the way we work together. – Tim Berners-Lee

As Carl talked about birds flying in unison, I thought about teams and ideas and pitches and packaging. Hapyn had an intriguing idea and a solid team behind it. So when Carl asked if I wanted in on the project, I of course said yes.

So here I am, describing Hapyn. Hapyn isn’t about features, or other apps that kinda sorta do similar things. It’s a story about improving the way we come together to accomplish things. It’s a story about facilitating collective action modeled after collective behavior. It’s a story that Carl, the self-described “deviant hippie trying to make work fun”, almost passed up.

That’s right, Hapyn almost didn’t happen.

nGen was set to turn down the project, but the client asked for a call before they did. So Carl got on the phone, and the client talked about birds. And fish. Swooping and swirling together. Turning in sync, right down to the millisecond. And Carl lost track of time, and then he changed his mind.

Thousands of birds take flight at Marseille Provence Airport in France

If you know Carl, you know why. He’s all about teams. How they work together. What drives them forward. How to build a jellyfish company without going Lord of the Flies. Carl’s spent an enormous amount of time thinking about these things. And so has the client.

So Carl said yes. Just like I did.

And really, how can you say no to the idea of bringing the beautiful complexity of the natural world to our everyday interactions? A million starlings can fly together, yet we struggle to get even small teams off the ground. Why?

Hapyn is the answer to that question. It’s a new operating system to improve how projects and occasions occur. It eliminates the waterfall process and replaces it with “stuff attached to things”. So interactions no longer have to happen in a set order. They can just hapyn. Spontaneously and immediately. Like birds taking flight.


The client described a “tracked object” as “the thing” you attach stuff to. At first Carl wrote the phrase “attach the stuff to the thing” followed by a question mark. By the end of the conversation, he added a bold exclamation point.

Catch up with us next month. We’ll talk more about nGen’s unique development approach, and the thinking behind the “tracked object”. Stay tuned…