"What is TraitLab?" and other questions in my head

For the last few months, all of my free time has gone into a side project, currently named TraitLab. There have been a few questions swirling around in my head since I started working on it, and I’m hoping that writing them down in a blog post will free up some mental space.

What is TraitLab?

TraitLab is an personality assessment application. After answering a long series of questions, customers get a detailed description of their personality and its connection to important areas of life, like relationships and career choices.

But aren’t there sites that offer the same thing?

Yes! There’s a ton of web and mobile apps that already offer some kind of personality testing. Here’s a few of the top hits from searching personality tests:

All of the above sites offer a free test and some brief results, with an option to purchase a more detailed profile ($10-$30 USD).

So why bother making TraitLab if other options exist?

The fact that so many similar products exist is a good thing, because it means there’s an existing market. Some people are willing to pay to learn more about their personality.

Most current offerings are primarily entertainment. They’re cute, fun, and fast, but only loosely connected to what research psychologists have learned about personality in the last few decades.

My hypothesis is that there’s an unaddressed group of people who are skeptical of what’s available and instead want something more rigorous, research-based, and serious.

How is TraitLab different?

TraitLab is completely research-based, meaning that all of the assessments and analysis are based on actual peer-reviewed research from scientific journals.

There’s no magical proprietary algorithms behind it. TraitLab simply provides well-established assessments, compares each person’s responses to what is known from current personality research, and reports back what current science can tell us about that person’s personality and its influence on several areas of their life.

How will TraitLab make money?

It probably won’t! After more thought, I’d rather create a useful, free service than shoehorn some monetization scheme into this.

But how will people ever hear about TraitLab?

I wish I knew! Currently, traitlab.com has zero visitors. For now, I’ll just be working in public and sharing to get some momentum.

Why bother doing this?

Since leaving my academic bubble for a career in software development, I’ve had a lot of conversations with people about personality. Two things stood out to me:

  1. People are much more interested in practical applications of personality than I had realized
  2. Very little about current personality science has actually made it into most applications

I spent a big chunk of my life studying psychological measurement and personality, and I think there’s a lot of fascinating and useful information still buried in academic journals.

What are you working on right now?

Talking to people. Specifically, I need to learn if there is actually a demand for the kind of personality assessment that TraitLab would provide. If you’re interested in something like this, I have a lot of questions for you! Sign up at TraitLab or just email me (greg at gregpark.io)

Whew! That feels better.