If you haven’t heard about the YO app yet then you certainly must be living under a rock. 3 years ago this incredibly simple app took the app industry by storm with one single function; allowing users to send ‘Yo’ in the form of a simple text message.

Quick facts first: Yo! reached the top 3 in the iOS App Store hitting over a million downloads and valued almost $10 million. Major news publications such as The New York Times has featured it and it has also inspired a couple of spoof apps, including one based on HBO’s Game of Thrones. Unsurprisingly, the chosen replacement greeting is ‘Hodor’.

So what can we learn from YO?

  • All ideas are good ideas

Remember how the teacher always used to tell you “No question is too stupid to ask”? Well, turns out no idea is too stupid to create.  Yo! could be the very proof of that statement.

  • Keep it simple

Yo! proves that single purpose systems can indeed be usable. It is very simple in both functionality and user interface and it only has a single purpose. One kickass feature far outweighs a dozen half-assed ones. Focus on that one.
  • It doesn’t have to take a lot of time and it doesn’t have to be boring

The app’s creator Or Arbel cobbled Yo! together in a mere eight hours (seven of those hours  were spent ruling out ‘hey’, ‘hi’, and ‘what’s cracka-lacking’ as messaging options). Have fun, don’t overthink it.

  • Just start – you can improve it later

Released on Android only, there were no delusions of grandeur when it was first released. The trick will be whether Yo! can maintain its simplicity while still adding functionality that makes the app useful. If it stays in its current form, the app will be nothing more than a viral fad. However, if it can stick to its ethos of streamlined technology and fewer taps to do the same thing, people will stay interested.

  • Final Thoughts

Ultimately, the amount of downloads, the social buzz, the media coverage, and financial investment in Yo! means that swinging wildly back and forth between ‘downright idiotic’ and ‘unrivalled genius’ is a good thing.



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