“Hi I am Ethan, who made Ethan, a messaging app for messaging Ethan. Ask me anything I’m here. To chat privately, find me on Ethan.”
That app idea might sound ridiculous, but the product is real, and its popularity is exploding on startup discovery site Product Hunt right now.
“Ethan” was created by the founder of Rubcam, Ethan Gliechtenstein. Rubcam lets users take photos on their smartphones by rubbing the screen. Gliechtenstein’s new app simply lets anyone who downloads it send him a message.
Ethan is currently on the top of Product Hunt with more than 200 upvotes. Gliechtenstein joined the community discussion and explained why he built the simple message-a-stranger app:
“I wanted a fast way for my friends to message me — simply by opening the app — which is the only feature of the app,” Ethan said. “I’ve been off Facebook for a while so this is one way for people to reach me. Plus I own all the data. Also I can cut off annoying people easily if I wanted to.”
Soon, however, people outside of Ethan’s circle of friends began to download the app, and Ethan responded by offering advice.
“I became sort of a virtual assistant at one point, finding music for romantic dinner or animes with dragons for them,” he said. “Sometimes it’s hard because they keep asking me questions while I’m sleeping. That’s why I added the rules on the home page.”
What kinds of requests has Ethan been fulfilling?
“Sometimes I give them love advice,” Gliechtenstein says. “Sometimes I bullshit with them when they’re bored. Sometimes I recommend them music. Sometimes I choose what clothing looks best on them.”
If you’re thinking Ethan sounds like little more than a text messaging tool, you’re correct. Gliechtenstein isn’t sure how Ethan could become massively appealing. However, he could envision it being personalised for other names like “Jonathan” and offered to the community, so everyone can have a quick messaging app — the same way many people own their own domain names, Twitter handles and screennames.
Ethan is currently accepting submissions for customised versions of Ethan on his website, but if you want to get Ethan’s opinion on something, you can download Ethan for free over at the App Store.
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