Yo has been on my phone for the past 6 months. It started during the war when Android phones in the US couldn’t get Red Alert updates. I was talking with my friend who made the app and I said to him, “why don’t you send those updates out on Twitter using an IFTTT formula” or something like that. He says back to me, “no, I am doing Yo”. And I pushed him to do something else. But he was adamant. “No, Yo!” he says.
So he did Yo.
All because you can say Yo to someone (that is another story)? Or is there another reason why?
What Is YO? Sounds Pretty Stupid.
Great question. They say they are a “Zero Character Messaging Service”. What that practically means is, I can click on my friends name, and it will send them a message on their phone. But you can’t customize that message. It just says Yo.That is the message.
And it is.
At least that part is. There are only so many times you can Yo spam someone before it’s not funny any more.
That said, there is a huge opportunity for Yo that I don’t think people / brands realize right now. In fact, when all these publications wrote about Yo, I don’t think they knew why it was a big deal.
Communication The Simplest Possible Way
Yo is the simplest way to tell someone, I am here. It’s like the original poke on Facebook… except on your phone… and can actually continue conversations. Often times, that simple Yo reminds me of something I wanted to tell a friend, so I send them a lengthier message on WhatsApp.
Also, using the app, the simple double tap sends you the persons location.
I send my wife my location when I am at the bus stop, and I have had friends send me their location when they are right around the corner. It’s quick and effective.
Desktop Integration Connects All Your Devices
There are apps that exist to bridge the gap between desktop and mobile. Chrome to Phone. PushBullet. And I am sure there are tons of others. But they are limited to me as an individual. How about sharing from my desktop to a friends phone? This is a struggle that has always existed between desktop and mobile. Simple sharing.
Using the Yo desktop integration is by far the easiest way to send links between your phone to other people. I had a chance to test it out with my buddy John who is in San Francisco. And you can also have some fun sending people incredible rickroles… they will never see it coming! 😛
— Aaron Friedman (@AaronFriedman) November 5, 2014
— Yakir Hyman (@YakirHyman) November 20, 2014
And sending RickRolls is only the tip of the iceberg (obviously). Articles that remind you of someone. Videos that you think they might enjoy. It’s simple. And its social, unlike other messaging services. This is a Social service.
Brand Promotion, Awareness, and Special Deals
Imagine following a brand that sends out a daily notification of a deal they are having? Or a flash sale. Why that’s not happening more right now is beyond me. But it needs to be. It’s a relatively untouched market. The novelty of it is it’s spontaneity.
I thought about building out a platform to allow that to happen, but turns out Yo made it already… but not many people know about it. But it’s right here! http://dev.justyo.co/
Any brand right now can go in, create a ‘sub account’, and send out promotions, deals, links, images… whatever. It is the fastest way to reach users.
But they aren’t as far as I can tell.
I have yet to hear of any brands REALLY using Yo.
The main difference between this service and others is that it’s a direct notification to the users phone. There is no logging into their platform and scrolling through the users like Twitter or Facebook. It comes as an individual notification to the users phone. Imagine a competition where 1 user a day could win a free laptop (I made one called LenovoYoGaSteal) and you just have to be the fastest to get it. That might get a bit of attention grabber for any major brand.
Updates On Real World Events and Being The First to Know All Things
What I wrote about brand promotion is huge. But how about Robert Scobles announcement that he is using Yo to get a notification every time a product gets 100 upvotes on Product hunt? How about the guy who get s a notification every time the milk is running low in his refrigerator. Or any consistency you want to be updated about. There is a YoIndex where you can find all that.
The opportunities are truly endless.
Challenges and Future Opportunities for Yo
After really playing around with it, I am a fan. I like Yo. But, I see a few challenges with the product as it is right now that need some work (and probably are being worked on).
- As Yo grows, managing all the notifications could become difficult. Especially if you have a big following. At the moment, I really use Yo with a small handful of people, but I could see that growing much faster and being more challenging. There would have to be some features and permissions put in place to make that more manageable.
- Speaking of growing faster, I would like to see a way to add friends from other networks. I have a huge network on Facebook, but know for a fact that I don’t have all of their phone numbers. The barrier to entry and “growth” of a audience is difficult right now since it’s very reliant on knowing the user name or the phone number… which I don’t have.
- There is little consistency between the various ways to use Yo (desktop Mobile, and the API). When I create a Yo on my phone, I can send my location. But I also might want to send something out to a list I made in the moment. For example, if I start a Yo list called ‘YoDogJacket’, if i’m walking down the street and I see a dog wearing a jacket, I have no way to send that picture to my list since at the moment, the only way to do that is from the desktop. Same with sending links. Better consistency across the product is necessary.
- Truth is I also might want to get those notifications on desktop. I need to think about that.
- Another issue I had is finding a way to retrieve the past information a friend sends me. Once I leave the Yo, it’s gone. But if I got an article at a time when I couldn’t read it, then I may nver get the chance again. I personally go save it to pocket, but it’s not the best solution (as much as I love pocket).
Yo is fun, easy, and a novelty at the moment. The biggest setback I have with experimenting on Yo is the sheer number of connections I have on the network. At the moment, I simply don’t have a lot of connections
Shipping a Minimal Viable Product
One other cool thing I will say about Yo is their shipping of a minimal viable product (MVP) and then growing from there. The service is not at the point it needs to be right now, but its good enough. In fact, it’s $1 Million dollars good enough. The product works. And it will grow by user feedback and listening to the criticism. It’s good enough. And that’s awesome.
Try it out for yourself. Add me to your network and Yo me http://justyo.co/ajfried … but brace yourself for a possible RickYo 😉