The immediacy demanded by the digital era, which extends to all areas of life, from personal to work and relationships, makes it difficult to create real and deep connections. Screens are taking over the day-to-day, attempting to solve everything through them. Grocery shopping is replaced by a few clicks to add products to the virtual basket of the nearest supermarket, and catching up with a friend over coffee is replaced by a call or even a few WhatsApp messages. Time is saved with the mobile, yet there is no time for anything, not even for love. In the midst of this reality, the mobile application Tabaiba was born in Canarias, aiming to break free from the rush and to “slowly cook” connections with people looking to share more than just a beer.
The application was conceived by Gorka Magaña, a 31-year-old Basque who had been living in the Tenerife municipality of La Orotava for a year and a half. Before coming to the Canaries, he had spent nine years in Madrid, where he developed digital products for private companies. “I felt that city was no longer my place and that was not the life I wanted to have. I wanted to fly, do things that filled me, live in Latin America,” Magaña recalls. In the end, he did not cross the pond but found in the Archipelago a population that has welcomed him and for which he feels “a profound love”.
Once in the Islands, and after going through a breakup, the Basque man tried to meet people with whom to share hobbies. He tried the two most popular dating apps today, Tinder and Bumble. However, he felt that these were not for him. “It was frustrating. I was at a stage of personal development where there were issues that I deemed important and I saw that these apps did not address them,” he says, after having met several people and found himself without conversation topics or anything to share.
Going Beyond Superficial Relationships
After talking to several friends, Magaña realized that they all shared the feeling that virtual relationships were being created only based on “attraction” and “superficiality”. People were willing to spread their photographs, but not to describe themselves or to be honest about what kind of bond they were looking for. It was then that the idea of creating a tool where the visual aspect was present but not “the main focus” came to the Basque man’s mind.
“In Tabaiba, posting a photo is not enough. You must be willing to open up and share an honest biography.”
To differentiate itself from other apps, the young man planned a questionnaire prior to accessing the virtual community. In this way, Magaña gathered information to know the personality of each user and what they are looking for. Among the filters to be selected before joining the application, there is an extremely important one to avoid wasting time for those seeking long-term relationships: individuals must indicate if they are just passing through the place – as a tourist – or if they will stay in the area for a long time. Especially in places like the Canaries, this filter is important, as people do not usually put the same energy into getting to know someone who will be in the Islands for a week as they would for someone planning to reside for a long time.
Tabaiba: A Memorable and Pronounceable Guanche Term
With this philosophy of “slowly cooking” relationships, Tabaiba was born, less than two months ago. The choice of the name, a Guanche word, reflects Magaña’s desire for the app to maintain its Canarian identity and to thank the people he has met on the island by offering them a useful tool that they can incorporate into their lives. “I like not only the meaning of Tabaiba, which is the name of a family of precious plants, but also the sound of the word,” he says.
“I wanted to preserve the island identity both in the name and in the logo, which represents a volcano and the sea.”
He also conducted various marketing tests involving people from different countries and concluded that Tabaiba is a “beautiful word that stays in memory and is easy to pronounce even by people from foreign languages”. The Tabaiba logo also has a lot of Canarian elements: one of its fine lines is a volcano, and the other is the sea. These two inverted shapes represent a heart.
Invitation Access or Purchase of a Pass
isle of Gran Canaria have also started using it, although it is still a small movement.
Magaña’s goal is not for Tabaiba to grow and become a widely used tool, like Tinder, but to be used only by people who resonate with its philosophy. In other words, «the app will reach all latitudes but will continue to focus on those seeking conscious relationships».
To join the quest for love – or friendship – through the app, simply visit the website Tabaiba.me and acquire a pass. Currently, price tests are being conducted – around ten euros – so the fee could vary in the coming weeks. Access to the tool is also possible for free if invited by a friend, which is the most common way of entry and ensures “screening”.
The young developer is, ironically, averse to technology. Therefore, the application only makes sense as a tool that connects people in real life. Its design leads users to have conversations that lead to a meeting. In the future, Gorka Magaña believes that Tabaiba will be much more than something virtual; a movement through which events are organized for those willing to get to know and be known.
A simple aboriginal word, easy to remember and pronounce. Tabaiba is the term with which Gorka Magaña, a young Basque settled in the Islands, ventures to undertake a mobile application that aspires to differentiate itself from Tinder by the way it values the essence of people over the attractiveness of their physique.