Arguments make for great entertainment, whether you’re watching or battling it out yourself. With Yaheard, an app released by NC State students, you can partake in both sides.
Josh Puente, CEO/developer of Yaheard and a senior studying electrical engineering, came up with the idea while watching ESPN’s “First Take.” In the talk show, guests discuss highlights and takes on sports plays. Seeing that the debates escalate to yelling, Puente realized why the show was so exciting to watch.
“Josh said, ‘Let’s make an app where we can argue.’ And that day, we all got together and planned out the app,” said Rob Dates, 2015 alumnus and CEO/developer of Yaheard.
Puente and DomiNick Downing, a junior studying social work, came up with the app name when they went to New York and New Jersey to visit family. The common phrase ‘Ya heard?’ is similar to ‘You know what I’m saying.’
“After they came back from the trip, they started saying it all the time, and the rest of us started too,” said Marcus Spruill, director of communications, software consultant and a senior studying business administration. “It just caught on. It just fit.”
The first of its kind, the app itself revolves around making powerful statements on any given topic. One person posts the statement and argues with another person one-on-one. Others can watch the debate as it happens, but until it’s over, users are unaware of who the opponent is.
“If your friends disagree, they can argue with you and people vote on it,” Dates said. “It sounds a little harsh with the word ‘argument,’ but it turns out to be casual, as if you’re debating with your friends.”
Users create a profile, which shows stats such as one’s argument and agreement ratios. The ratios are contingent on how many people agree with your statements or find you as the superior arguer. A “Hot Users” page incentivizes posters to improve their content.
According to Dates, the app took 15 months to curate, while tackling full-time internships and courses.
“We’d get off work, get coffee and then work on the app,” Dates said. “That was our whole summer.”
During its development, Dates ran into programming bugs, which stalled the process.
“Basically, something happens in the app and you have no clue what happened,” Dates said. “It’s hard when you can’t figure something out. You have to keep going at it and have the willingness to set it down for a while and come back to it.”
Since its March 8 release, the app has garnered 1,600 downloads and about 1,300 active users, according to Jeremiah Ufot, software engineer and a senior studying agricultural and environmental technology.
“The app came out while we were in Miami over spring break,” Dates said. “It was 8 a.m., and we started celebrating. We woke up screaming.”
The team markets by word of mouth and social media. Eventually, they plan on adding a feature allowing users to invite people from their contact list.
“It’s been crazy,” Ufot said. “We’ve been at it pretty much every day of the week; days that I don’t work, I’ll be on campus or downtown Raleigh promoting.”
According to Spruill, the second version will be released next week, introducing a call-out feature similar to Twitter mentions and an improved experience for the user. An Android version is currently in the works.
“We want people to open up their point of views and see others’ perspectives through arguments,” Dates said. “Sometimes it may not be the greatest to argue, but at the end of the day, hopefully, you can hash out your differences and see something differently.”