Things are not always what they appear. Something can seem to be sheer genius to some, and massive stupidity on a monumental scale to others.
You've likely heard the story. Recently, a man named Or Arbel, a 32-year-old app developer from Tel Aviv, Israel, had an idea for a new app that would soon set the world abuzz. In eight hours, he created "YO." All it does is allow you to send friends the one word message: YO.
It's hard not to imagine his mother creating a reverse app just to send him: OY.
With an investment of $1.2 million from Or's business partner Moshe Hogeg, who just wanted a quick way to page his assistant, YO in a month rose to the number one spot on the iOS App Store in the US.
Do we have here the ultimate cultural ADD folly, or a rare stroke of genius? Or is it something in between?
I have to admit that when I first heard about it, and its instant immense popularity, I was momentarily tempted to create an app myself, which would be simply the message, WTF? Those who loved my new app would of course download it and use it like crazy, in our increasingly strange and baffling world. And those who hated it would be tempted to get and use it just to give their own commentary on it. Billions could be served.
Look. Succinctness has its virtues. And simplicity can be king, as medieval philosopher William of Ockham long ago discovered. Think about what's all around us, and works most effectively. Blogs have to be short. Tweets have to be a lot shorter. And here, we arrive at nearly the limit, properly fitting into a world of six second videos and quickly disappearing photos. But what we have with YO is, once you think about it, oddly interesting.
This new app has a distinctive range of uses. If you want to convey that you're simply thinking of someone, or if you need to signal a friend, or -- as a recipient -- when you're waiting for something, or expecting someone, no cell minutes are needed, no typing of texts, and no extensive reading are required. YO tells you that the time has come, the plane has landed, you're up next on stage, or that I'm outside with the motor running. It's the ultimate chameleon of messages, adopting the coloration of its context. It does what you need it to do.
Simplicity. Functionality. Adaptability. And massive, instant brand identity.
Not bad. YO?