‘Yo’, ‘Sup’, ‘How’s it going’? They may be grammatically challenged, but these simple phrases are pretty much all there is to the Yo! application that is quickly becoming viral. NoCamels spoke with Or Arbel, one of the three founders of Yo! – which already raised $1 million – to find out why this seemingly ridiculous idea is winning major points for its simple genius.
First, a little explaining on how Yo! works (it won’t take too long). Once you download the app on iOS or Android, Yo! is able to sort through your contacts to see which friends and family members have already installed the app and can receive Yo! alerts. Then, whenever and wherever you feel like it, you can send a Yo! notification to one of the brightly colored names that appears on the screen. And. That’s. It. Of course, the person on the other side can say Yo! back, but the conversation won’t go any further than that.
So how did Or and his partners, Moshe Hogeg (CEO of the popular social photo and video-sharing app Mobli) and American Phil Hars come up with the idea for what at first glance appears to be a joke of an application? Orr explains, “Moshe wanted me to build him an app that would allow him to connect quickly and directly with his assistant to let her know that she is needed in the office. At first I didn’t really understand what he wanted from me, but then I realized that a lot of my communication with my own friends is just a quick shoutout like ‘yo!’. Once we released the pilot version of the app and realized how much buzz was building around it, we decided to take it to the masses.”
The real reason behind Yo’s success
Or believes that the main reason that Yo! has become so wildly popular is its simple and fun design. The other, is that deep down, many of us don’t have the time or energy for long, drawn-out conversation of ‘How are you’ and ‘What’s the weather like?’, and just want to quickly connect with someone to let them know we are thinking about them or need their attention. In some ways, many of us have already sent out “Yo!” messages to friends when we “Poke” them on Facebook (although that feature has somewhat run its course).
“The application allows people to connect with their friends and family without saying much,” says Orr. “The thing that’s amazing about it is that if there’s someone who really doesn’t want to have a conversation with their mother-in-law, they can just send her a ‘Yo!’ and they’ve pretty much done their duty,” Orr adds.
OK, so you’ve sent out ‘Yo!’s to all your contacts, but then what? Orr assured us that Yo! has bigger plans than, guess what, just sending Yo!s. He hopes that soon content websites, blogs and new sources will be able to feature a ‘Yo!’ button on their page that will function similar to an RSS feed, sending out notifications when there has been a new development or when a new post goes live. He even hopes that the feature will be ready in time for the billions of World Cup fans, so that when their favorite team scores a goal, they can receive a ‘Yo!’ push notification letting them know.
‘Yo!’ is really the kind of app that needs to be tried out before it’s casted as just too ridiculous, because soon you might be asking yourself, ‘Yo, why am I out of the loop?!’