We have recently get in touch with Ben Dodson recently and requested for a short interview. Thanks to him, he has accepted our request and he has satisfied our curiosity about the future of Omlet Chat.
AppMocha: Why did you decide to give “Omlet Chat” name to your application. You know, it was awkward to see a messenger and social networking application with such a name. There’s anything special with the name of application?
Ben Dodson: We came up with the name “Omlet” when we were brainstorming around the Open Messaging (OM) concept that makes up the base of our network. The “let” comes from all of the apps or “applets” you can run inside of a chat. We also liked the idea of an Omelette, which you can make with an endless combination of ingredients– we think chat is more fun when you add your own flavors.
AppMocha: In your opinion, which features of Omlet chat made the application popular on app markets? Why did Asus choose Omlet Chat for Zenphone?
Ben Dodson: “Our users really like the ability to “multi-heart” something. We see a lot of people who are surprised by it at first, and quickly grow to love it and miss it when they are using other apps like SMS or email. Power users really like the custom sticker making tools, we love seeing the unique things people make.
Asus wanted to work with us because of the Open Messaging concept. With the Omlet service, Asus is able to add social features into apps across their device. For example, people can share photos with each other without having to leave the gallery that’s baked into the ZenPhone.”
AppMocha: While you were developing Omlet Chat, what was your priority? Technical details or visual looking of the app?
Ben Dodson: “Even though our team is small, we try to not compromise on either the technical details or the visual design. If I had to say more, I’d say as a team we were initially stronger on the technical side. We were initially brought together by the idea of the “Distributed Semantic Filesystem” that sits at the heart of our messaging network. And our background at Stanford lead us to believe that data ownership was a really important idea, and so we worked hard to allow our users to host their data long-term in the storage provider of their choice– Dropbox, Google Drive, Box, etc.
With that said, our design team has done an amazing job making Omlet fun and attractive, and we’re really excited to show off some great new features in our upcoming releases.”
AppMocha: We think that Omlet chat is the most promising messenger and chat app, since every features of the app are working perfectly. However we already noticed that many users want new features such as voice and video calling and may be a better nearby chat. What do you plan for Omlet Chat in the future? There will be any new features?
Ben Dodson: “The team is working really hard to release a fun and unique hub for games. It’s a very big effort, and we hope people will enjoy it. Also stay tuned for some major improvements to the Custom Stickers.
We do have some ideas to enhance the Nearby Chat, and hope to have them out in the near future as well. And we’re always happy to hear suggestions!”
AppMocha: Can you please tell us what are just three important steps to develop an application. Do you have any advices for newbie developers?
Ben Dodson: “The easiest kind of app for newbies is definitely HTML apps. They usually don’t perform as well as native apps, but for many things (like QuickPoll) it’s not a problem.
The easiest “style” of app is anything that picks data from some source, and shares it with a chat. For example we’ve done a few Gif libraries (Cat Gifs), and a movie picker using the Rotten Tomatoes API.
The best place to get started is to visit our developer docs and see our list of open source sample apps.”
AppMocha: It seems you have started to your career in 1996 and you have developed many popular apps for iOS and Android. Did you ever think that you will ever come your current situation,when you developed your first application?
Ben Dodson: I mostly got my start building software with a web-based media streaming service called Jinzora, which lets you host your own music and stream it from pretty much any device. We ran that project for about a decade– we let people host their own streaming music before iTunes was even selling songs.
My cofounders Ian Vo and TJ Purtell have a long history in making apps as well. TJ made an N64 emulator in his spare time. And of course, our final cofounder and former PhD advisor Monica Lam has been designing computer systems for a very long time! It’s been a long journey for us all to get together and start building social communication apps, but we’re happy where we ended up.
It was quite fun to talk with you Ben, we hope that we can make another interview with you in the future. Thank you for being frendly and kind.