Image: Flickr/Mark McLaughlin
In the app economy, it's painfully common to come across a new app that's only as ridiculous in its content as it is in its apparent success. Just think back to Yo, which launched a few months ago to much fanfare and with a million-dollar investment. Wouldn't it be just great to invent an entirely ludicrous app that somehow captures the public's all too easily satisfied hearts, minds, and phone-tapping fingers?
Apparently not. Just ask Tom Scott and Matt Gray, the creators of the latest buzzworthy social app: Emojli, the emoji-only messaging network.They gave a talk at hacker and maker event Electromagnetic Field Festival this weekend, which they called, "Emojli: How we accidentally built an app and why we never want to build one again.""We're not app developers," said Gray."And we don't think anyone else should be, because it's awful," added Scott.The Emojli story started, they explained, outside a Jamie's Italian restaurant at the Westfield shopping centre in Stratford, London. Apparently it's a more inspiring venue than you might think, as that's where they got the idea for the app.It was around the time of Yo, and emojis were a hot topic after new emoji icons had been introduced into the keyboard. The only thing that seemed more absurd than an emoji-only messaging app was the fact no one had made one before.On the way home, Gray reserved the emoj.li domain. It wasn't intended explicitly as parody; it was just a fun idea and they thought they'd do it. Then, Time.com picked up the pair's video announcement and within two days, before they'd built the thing, 70,000 people had reserved usernames for the app (which have to be written in emoji).
That's where things began to get less fun for the team. They had put an email address for support on their website and soon got dozens of messages, asking things like why they couldn't register as a smiley face (that username was already taken). "So within a couple of days, this idea had turned into a technical support job," said Gray. Both of the creators already have jobs they're happy in; they built Emojli in their spare time.
WE'VE MADE A MILLSTONE ROUND OUR NECK.