In what is perhaps a timely gift to the 40 percent of Americans who make New Year’s resolutions, two San Antonio men have achieved their own dream of releasing the beta version of a mobile app that might be especially welcomed by the estimated 80 percent who fail at those temporal goals by mid-February.

If you’ve resolved to improve your nutrition and fitness or manage your time and money better in 2018, then you’re like many who start the year with good intentions, if not the will to succeed.

Now, like nearly everything else, there’s an app for that, one that co-founders Winslow Swart and Alberto Altamirano propose will take you from dream to reality.

“The One Million Dreams app is designed to ignite and accelerate your dreams and help you build the road map and action plans toward making your dreams become reality,” said Swart, chief inspiration officer at One Million Dreams, a martial arts master teacher, and former leadership and personal coach.

Winslow Swart of One Million Dreams works on his laptop at his Dojo on Northwest Military Drive.
Winslow Swart of One Million Dreams works on his laptop at his dojo on N.W. Military Drive. Credit: Scott Ball / San Antonio Report

It was in his past work in organizational development where Swart first began to see what realizing dreams could mean, not just for individuals, but also for corporations or societies.

“Everyone is trying to crack the code for employee engagement. With data from Gallup and our own assessments, we know that only 30 percent of employees are engaged [in their work] … The cost to the economy is great,” Swart said.

“Looking at theories in motivation, many are still taking a very traditional approach – the carrots and sticks approach. With intrinsic motivators, which are purpose, mastery, and autonomy, I have found people are really driven when they are working on their dreams, doing what they want to do rather than what they ought to do or have to do.”

Swart incorporated these ideas into group training sessions, but ultimately felt he could somehow reach more people.

“So we started talking about what this would look like in a mobile app … and how much we do in the analog environment would transition to a digital platform,” he said. “It has to be meaningful and fun and not too many steps, incorporating what worked in the dream-mentoring environment so it wouldn’t lose the magic sauce, to streamline it, but not lose the soul of it.”

He and Altamirano, co-founder of Cityflag, began wireframing the app more than one year ago, coming up with concepts and pitching them to former Rackspace marketing director and Geekdom co-founder Nick Longo. Swart is a founding member of the downtown tech co-working space, and expected Longo to tell him the idea was not viable.

Instead, Longo saw the potential and challenged Swart to find a way to monetize it and create something sustainable.

“As entrepreneurs discover their true passions, they need to turn their dreams into actual goals,” Longo said. “Having an interactive and actionable road-map that helps individuals set milestones and find mentorship means going from wondering what would happen if you tried something to doing what you have always wanted to do.

“This can be powerful stuff for the right people.”

The landing page of the One Million Dreams app features a variety of dream options to choose from.
The landing page of the One Million Dreams app features a variety of dream options to choose from. Credit: Courtesy / One Million Dreams

A beta version of the app for Android was released in December, and the iOS version is expected later this month. In its current phase, the app allows users to to create a profile with their top dreams and assign action items and timelines to monitor progress.

For those unsure of which dream to pursue, the landing page offers categories of dreams and lists the dreams of others so as to inspire users to dream big.

Though Swart says “no dream is too small,” the app is also designed to encourage users to tackle goals bigger than losing the extra pounds they gained during the holidays.

“The really cool part is that once we take care of some of that self and interpersonal stuff, we free ourselves to take on even bigger pursuits,” he said. “Our dreams start to become about others – our families, our teams, and our organizations, our communities, and the world. I have seen this over and over, and also experience this myself.”

Working with lead developer Juan Pablo Torne of the digital dynamics company Perficientur, Swart and Altamirano are developing a subscription version of One Million Dreams that institutions could offer employees or students.

“This has the potential to change what it means to be ‘sent to the office,’ where it’s usually about your behavior or grades,” Swart said. “I want to help change the education culture, so it can be a place where you get work on your dreams, then see what happens to behavior. In higher education, where there are not very high completion rates, it could help you make dreams come true through career-mapping. But you have to have good analytics to know where they might need help.”

One Million Dreams is a social platform as well. Once users identify their dreams, the actions and timelines for achieving them, they can share them on the app like a social network where others can “like” dreams, comment, and even provide connections to someone who might be able to guide them.

By sharing dreams with others, Swart said, you’re encouraged to take action and motivate others, thus “creating a community of dreamers and doers.”

Swart is currently mapping out a business plan on how to fund the project. So far, he has raised $25,000 toward his $140,000 pre-equity goal, but “the pipeline is robust,” he said.

“In my top five dreams, I have one that says ‘1M Suenos,’ and that, to me, is that I want to help people on a global scale achieve their dreams,” Swart said. “My dream is that I want to create dreamers and doers, to really help people who haven’t dared to dream for whatever reasons. Everybody has dreams, so it’s about helping bring them out and make them true.”

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Shari Biediger

Shari Biediger is the development beat reporter for the San Antonio Report.