A Totem Is Claiming Your Attention

News & Press by Guillem Daniel Esteba
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Pulling forward the relationship between the smartphone and the user, two authentic claimers named Victor Loiseau and César Lacombe decided to establish a balance between work and (digital) life. And so, inspired by the sacred book on web usability and user interface ‘Don’t Make Me Think’ by Steve Krugg, these two young entrepreneurs present now Let Me Thinka creative startup founded in 2019. The product? A Totem.


Your guardian spirit

Evolved in the Northern American animist religions, Totemism has remained a big mystery to Anthropologists from the last century. Nonetheless, Totems have managed to remain in our imaginary, standing like the big statues that they are and depicting stories, art, identification, and protection of communities. Also known as Tokens, these figures were made in all sizes and represented many factions of reality, and they could be understood as the combination of blocks of information. Curiously, the words token and block are often used in the Blockchain technology which underlies the elegant design of Let Me Think’s device: A connected totem to turn smartphones into a focused work tool.

The team of Let Me Think accredits their own productive working habits to their product. “We started by creating connected totems for ourselves because we needed to get an easy access to a digital working space on our smartphones. It worked, and we witnessed true improvements in productivity and wellbeing”, says Victor Loiseau.

THE FIRST SUPPER Victor Loiseau & César Lacombe

When users touch their totem with their smartphone, they get access to a custom digital workspace called the “Think Space”, a space that offers a brand new interface with a dark wallpaper that only includes work-related apps while potentially distracting apps like Facebook or Instagram are hidden away. At the same time a smart notification management system prevents users from missing important information. It shows only the most pressing notifications, saving less urgent ones for later.

Once the the working session is over, you simply need to touch again the totem with the smartphone, and your normal phone access is resumed. may resume normal phone access.


Aiming to change our relationship with technology

“Nowadays, at work, there are often only two options”, points out César Lacombe. “You either decide to completely stay away from your smartphone, by turning it off or switching it to airplane mode, or you keep it with you and agree to be distracted by a notification, and eventually to find yourself mindlessly scrolling onto your smartphone whenever your motivation goes down. Instead”, he continues, “what we try to do with the Let Me Think project is to create a new option by adapting the needs of smartphone users when they are working.”

Let Me Think’s co-founders advocate for a well-researched approach to digital hygiene. They do not intend to condemn technology, smartphones and apps that punctuate our daily life; but rather enable users to take charge of their relationship with it. César Lacombe and Victor Loiseau wish to come up with new ways to allow technology to best serve our human needs, reducing the overload of digital disturbance. This mission has a large scope, as we tend to unlock our smartphones an average of 150 times a day and we barely differentiate the way we use it at work versus more in personal time.

The product was developed thanks to a strong design approach, collaborating with renowned researchers. Central to the co-founder’s vision of the future of smartphones at work is a scientific and design-oriented approach. Let Me Think has been awarded by the Jury Prize of Strate Ecole de Design, and is collaborating with two researchers: Caroline Cuny and Mathieu Pinelli, doctors of cognitive psychology.

Full Support from the Supper

When we launched The First Supper -a creative industries incubator that encompasses spirit, machine and imaginary-, we were confident from the very beginning that ethical and humane technologies would be part of our DNA. Let Me Think is no exception.

“Over the past few months, Let Me Think has allowed a dozen users to test out the beta version. Then, we kept on using it, shared in with a dozen of beta testers, and discussed it with hundreds of members of our community. Now, we want to be able to offer these totems to the greatest number”, explains Victor.

From now on you are able to preorder your own totem on Kickstarter. Furthermore they count on Nir Eyal himself as one of the promoters of the project. His last book, “Indistractable”, deals with time control and human attention in the era of digital and will be a part of the packages presented during the campaign.

The startup also offers its totems and its services to businesses and universities to implement a digital environment conducive to productivity and wellbeing at work.

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