The Yo app has been making waves.
Aggressively simplistic, Yo lets you tap a friend’s name and send them a notification that says “Yo!” in a tiny robotic voice. The company has also raised $US1 million.
We talked to the app’s creator, Or Arbel, who let us in on a secret: The tiny voice responsible for the “Yo!” notification is actually Arbel himself.
Yo took only eight hours to develop, and the story behind the app’s creation is fascinating. Originally, Mobli founder Moshe Hogeg reached out to Arbel, asking for a simple one-button notification to reach his personal assistant.
At first, Arbel wasn’t impressed, telling Business Insider that he originally pushed back against Hogeg. “It’s a stupid idea,” said Arbel. “How many people have a personal assistant that they need to send a push notification to?”
But Arbel quickly realised that he already did something similar when he talked to one of his friends, who lived in L.A. at the time. The two friends would text each other a simple “yo,” which is all that needed to be said most of the time.
But why “Yo”? Why not “‘Sup” or “Hey?”
“Yo is more than hey,” Arbel said. “Yo can mean anything. ‘Hey’ means ‘hey,’ but ‘yo’ can mean everything. It’s the perfect word. There’s no other word can be used at much.”
To date, Yo has over 60,000 downloads, and Arbel already has plans to turn Yo into a non-invasive push notification system for people to subscribe to content they like. For example, current Yo users can send a Yo to “WorldCup” and receive a Yo whenever a goal is scored.
“There’s nothing to open, there’s nothing to distract you,” Arbel said, adding that people don’t like the spammy subscription notifications that currently exist.
Arbel firmly believes in keeping it simple, and that’s the thought process behind the app’s icon, a simple purple square.
What does the future hold for Yo?
“You might see a different kind of Yo,” Arbel said. “A celebrity Yo.”
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