Current Next 36 cohort member Thomas Lee told us that he and his friends were trying to figure out the perfect app idea back at Queens University. Eventually those conversations lead to Pop, an iOS app that “helps solve your toughest decisions.”
The friends were focused on business-to-business ideas but they kept running into the same situation. They’d be left with two competing ideas that they’d show to friends for input. They’d draw the ideas on a piece of paper and snap photos of each one, then text them.
“Once we saw that behaviour being a nuisance, we thought maybe there’s something here,” said Lee, 21.
The motivation for the app continued when Lee’s girlfriend would send him pictures of clothing, asking which outfit she should wear for the night. “What was more interesting is we started scraping Twitter and we saw that the ‘this or that’ type question happens a lot, like 20 million tweets per month, which is why we said this is something that we could potentially build, there’s a specific behaviour here that obviously could be streamlined.”
In a few months the team of Lee, Alessia Vettese and Khalid Karim, both 21, built the app. They also received help from Jacob Andreou, a Queens student like Lee and Vettese.
To use the app, users snap two pictures and can either leave a default “or” between the two photos, or they can write a question. They can then issue the question to anyone in their contacts or even people they don’t know in the area who are on the app. Friends and other users simply tap either picture to answer the question.
“The user experience I would say is similar to hot or not, where its very quick, but the actual use cases here are for other things, like clothing, sports events, things that actually have a response required, and not just a mindless, continuous hot or not,” said Lee.
He said right now they’re just focused on creating an engaging app and aren’t too concerned about monetizing. When and if that stage comes Lee believe that fact that there’s so much content generation and consumption on the app from all the photos that there’s many opportunities to make money.
He said he so much activity on Twitter during the Olympics that was based on the same concept as Pop. But instead of users selecting pictures as their answer, they’d simply respond with a tweet that other responders might not necessarily see. “We’re streamlining that,” said Lee.
It’s certainly a rudimentary app, but like many simple ideas before like Hot or Not and Tinder. It’s letting the brain decide based on the simple swipe or tap of a photo, and app users have shown before that they can jump on one of these ideas en masse.