Described by The Daily Telegraph as “a rock star version of Willy Wonka” and by The Independent as “a polite version of Bob Geldof,” Michael Acton Smith is the charismatic leader of the world’s #1 mindfulness app, Calm.
His journey to creating Calm hasn’t been all stars and smooth sailing. It began humbly, after he’d graduated from the University in Birmingham, England. He and friend Tom Boardman had grown bored of their “sensible jobs” and picked up a heavy book called Doing Business on the Internet.
Their first business was Firebox.com, an online retailer selling “unusual gifts [and gadgets] for people with imagination. Set up in 1998 the duo had a lot of fun scouring the world looking for new products and ideas and selling them online at a time when internet shopping was relatively new.
They struck gold with their invention of the Shot Glass Chess Set along the way — a bizarre fusion of chess and alcohol which Acton Smith describes as “the thinking man’s drinking game.”It was a surprise hit.
He launched Mind Candy in 2004 to create new types of online entertainment. First project was a puzzle-based Alternate Reality Game called Perplex City – a global treasure hunt played by tens of thousands of people around the world across many different types of media.
Mind Candy’s first major hit was Moshi Monsters, an online world for kids that grew to tens of millions of registered players around the world. In 2011 the game expanded from the screen into the offline world with a wide range of new products such as toys, books, magazines, trading cards, videos games, music and a film.
In 2012, Acton Smith alongside friend Alex Tew launched the app Calm. It started with just the domain name, Smith’s intrigue in mental fitness and Tew’s assurance that meditation was the missing link to achieving it.
Calm is best known as the world’s #1 app for sleep, meditation and relaxation, available in both the App Store and Google Play store. It has had over 60 million downloads to date and over 700,000 5-star user reviews.
It was named by Apple as both a BEST OF 2108 award winner and the 2017 iPhone App of the Year; by Google Play as an “Editors’ Choice” in 2018; and found by a major study of 200,000 iPhone users by the Center for Humane Technology to be “the world’s happiest app” – the single app that left users feeling happiest from spending time on it. It has received over 200,000 five star app reviews on either Google Play or the App Store.Tags: meditation, mindfulness, Stress