During a week where Amazon finally launched its smartphone and Facebook trotted out Slingshot, the thing that captured everyone’s attention was a “stupid” app that does nothing but send a one-word message, “Yo.”
The developer of the app showed it to tech blogger Robert Scoble, (who told him, “This is the stupidest, most addictive app I’ve ever seen in my life.”). Scoble posted a link to the app on his Facebook page. That’s where another developer saw it and posted it to a site called Product Hunt. It caught on like wildfire from there.
Scoble says that there are many lessons to be learned from Yo, about how to orchestrate (and not orchestrate) success, he wrote in lengthy Facebook post.
For instance, even though journalists are looking for stories, what made “Yo” a story wasn’t the app, but it’s popularity. “The day I saw it it was just a stupid, lame, app that was a funny inside joke in the Tel Aviv startup scene,” he says. “Adoption is what gets the attention of the press, of investors.”
He also warns that Yo’s early success might not mean a thing in the long run. “What can Moshe [Hogeg, the developer] add to YO to make it stick around? More words? Better contact list? Every idea I can come up with makes the humour of YO go away,” he says.
Most importantly, Scoble warns, he doesn’t want other developers to go chasing Yo’s success.
“A perfect PR storm doesn’t happen often and just because one happened this week doesn’t mean you can manufacture the same next week,” he says. “I don’t really want to be pitched on 1,000 ‘funny’ apps now, that’s not what I’m about. I want to see the next mind-blowing technology.”