Imagine a meta-app with no required registration.
Accounts don’t exist anymore, only notifications matter.
It’s the right information at the right time.
My name is Charles Ganem and I’m one of the founders of the Drop app.
Here is our story.
Not to mention, Ethan and Raphael have always been passionate entrepreneurs ever since they started high school. Ethan’s rock solid creative and technical aptitudes associated to Raphael’s business skills is what a startup needs.
Simon and I joined them half way through “their Staack journey” 7 months ago. Joining in, was the turning point of our activity, and this “breath of fresh air” we had brought in, led us to the creation of Drop.
We are a young team of French entrepreneurs, a little offbeat, and we really like to make disruptive products.
So here comes the story. Like every evening, we were having our daily late discussions about our former product (Staack), a notification system for local businesses.
Ethan was like: “Do you really like what we have today guys?”
He meant, what we were working on: the content, the actual target, as well as, the way information was broadcasted.
Charles: “I think that we’re wasting our time by only talking to storekeepers. Our product doesn’t meet our expectations yet! We’ve gotta do better!”
We then moved onto — Secret.ly —, the app that allows people to send anonymous messages. We liked the fact that you could read a message without knowing who had sent it.
It’s kind of rare these days, isn’t it!
However, we thought that people that had already backed up that initial idea didn’t go as further as expected. Reality is — Secret — still has your name… your phone number, your mail AND your Facebook account!
Eventually, it was a “secret” to everyone but not for them.
According to the latest news on apps, sharing personal data from an individual’s account would be a requirement just as much as subscribing to those other apps is, one other mandatory procedure they do not mention.
George Orwell was right, “Big brother is watching you”.
Every time you write something, it’s kept by someone, somewhere.
We told ourselves that we had to make an app we could send some content onto, without having to create an account for it! Everyone should have the right if they wished to do so, to send notifications without necessarily having to reveal their identity.
As a matter of fact, the concept of an account wouldn’t exist anymore!
Now that the concept of an account didn’t exist anymore, our priority was set. The core aspect of our app was: The way information was sent. We wanted to create an app that would redefine the way people consumed information.
There’s an infinite amount of news everywhere. So basically, it’s impossible to keep up with the amount of content we receive on a daily basis.
People should get information at a glance, without even having to open up an app. Data had to mean something as soon as it was sent. We had to receive that message because at that moment, we needed to receive it.
What we didn’t want to do was to create an app that forced people to spend hours on their phones. We had to find a way where content could be read the moment you received it. Period.
In other words, we found out that notifications were the best and only way to go. So, we started wondering about their nature, their function and their use.
After all, what’s a notification?
It was a message that popped up onto your lock screen, delivering a message that then vanished. Nothing less, nothing more than that!
Our aim was then set. We had to create an app that could allow anyone or anything to send notifications. Connect a plane, a wearable, a package, a website, a blog, an event, a group of friends, or even a party should be easy as 1 2 3.
We called it Drop.
APIt’s like it’s hot.
We had everything: simplified usage plus a powerful tool to spread info. Only one single thing was missing: the ability to let people create, imagine and do amazing things with Drop. We knew that we weren’t even close to imagining the thousand of different ways to use it.
So an API would have to live up to our ambitious expectations, it had to be simple, powerful and accessible.
Everyone and every server should have to be notified by anything that was important to them.
We then realized that what was really crazy wasn’t the idea nor the concept we were creating, it was the fact that it didn’t exist! No one had ever thought about it.
But at the time, except for sparkly eyes and a few code lines from our previous project we had nothing ready… We had to move our asses off! We stopped thinking about our summer plans and “working hard” became our new motto.
Then began our long working days.
The 1st step was to identify all of our ideas and to put them in order.
Our mission statement was to commission an app that would allow anyone to create content and receive notifications.
“This gonna be so simple to code!” Yeah, that’s what we thought…
Only two words now prevailed: simplicity and usefulness.
All our decisions had to respect both of these conditions.
We started sticking post-its everywhere in order not to forget anything and not to drift away either.
The room quickly started to look like the famous scene from Bruce All Mighty.
After months of mock-ups and thousand lines of codes ahead, Drop was nearly as good as we had expected.
But one night, while reading articles on The Verge, we saw how popular the app Yo was. To be honest, at first we were a bit scared. Why?
Because the main functionality of Yo is to send or receive notifications, just like Drop.
While analyzing it, we immediately faced the philosophy of its founders.
Or Arbel defined the app as a “zero communication tool”. He believed texts were worthless, while a “Yo” would say it all!
It’s all about context.
We thought “Screw Yo! Text matters!”. Because just as much as the product was interesting (We don’t actually screw over Yo founders! cc @orarbel), we had realized that receiving a “Yo” was fun at first, but was really really annoying in the long run. Text was the power of notifications, the wealth of words, which allowed expression.
Shakespeare would be mad about the Yo hype. True story.
But yes, we liked the context content philosophy. Thanks to Yo!
The “Context Content” term
It isn’t really knowing we’re going to board that is important, but rather knowing the place and time of the boarding.
It isn’t really knowing my package was sent that is important, but rather knowing where it is and when it arrived.
It isn’t really knowing an article was published on The Verge that is important, but rather knowing what it talks about.
It isn’t really knowing a goal was scored in a game that is important, but rather what team or what player scored at the time.
Let’s it out, context is not more important than content or vice versa. But the point is to combine both in the best way possible.
So we figured that notifications are going to become an essential part of smartphone communication in the near future and that we weren’t the only ones working on it.
Let’s release Drop!
Today Drop is live.
So much work, so much stress, but it’s there. Laying on the appstore as it always existed. It’s exactly what we thought of. We love it as a baby and hope that you will too.
We’ve been featured on ProductHunt and it is incredible how much YOU people have supported us! 510 upvotes oh my …
We want as a team to thank you all for this rocket launch and hope that you will help us to improve Drop as much as it has to be!
Please don’t be too harsh on us, we are fixing bugs as fast as we can.
It’s just the beginning! Let’s drop all over the world!