Today, we are interviewing Thiago Benazzi Maia, founder and brain behind the mobile application OpTwoo. This application allows you to post two pictures of your clothes, designs, or anything for that matter and get an honest opinion from other people. A place where your opinion matters!
Please tell us something about yourself.
I was born in Brazil. I worked as a software engineer, and at night and during the weekend, I have been developing OpTwoo.
In 2007, I left Brazil to live in Australia. I worked there in all kinds of jobs till finally be able to go back to working with computers. Then, later I moved to Japan, Canada, Ireland, and now Italy.
What inspires you?
We live once and for a limited amount of time. There are already too many bad people around. Let's try to do something that helps in the meanwhile.
Please tell us about your mobile application.
OpTwoo is an app to help people choose between two pictures and let you know more about your friends and family.
It all started on that day when I went to the glasses shop. That day it was quite crowded before Christmas, and they asked me to wait for a while on the sofa where they could finish with the other customers.
During this time, I was watching this couple having their moment.
She was choosing her new glasses from the shelf, and he was holding the shopping bags. After every couple of minutes, she would go to him, asking:
“What about this one?”
Like other 99% of the guys, he looked at her with a clueless face, quickly wanting to go back home, said:
As a smart woman, she kept looking.
When my turn to choose arrived, I asked for help from the sales girl, she asked how much I wanted to pay. And, after a couple of seconds, she came with the glasses for me. At first, I thought that she was just trying to get rid of me to sell to the next customer. Still, she explained to me in detail why that glasses are for my type of face, explaining the shape, curvature, dimension. If you are like me living in Milan, Italy, you get it that she was taking this very seriously.
On the way home, I started to think about how often we ask the wrong person a suggestion or spend a lot of money on something that we later regret.
Do you remember the line of guys on the clothing shops waiting for their girlfriend or wife coming out from the dressing room to show their clothes to get the approval of someone that really doesn't want to be there?
This situation happens not just with clothes but also with logos, folders, advertisements, products shape, colors, and so on.
How many times a company spends huge money on a design that just doesn't work…
How many times people painted their house with the wrong color that any professional would say: “No.. please.. you will regret… trust me.”
That's why OpTwoo was created, a place where people like me can have an opinion of other people about the most random subjects. You post two pictures related to the same subject, and other people will vote on the one they like. They can also chat with you.
After a while, other people and I started to post pictures of other stuff like, “You believe the earth is round or flat? Do you prefer coffee or tea? And this started to allow to let people to know who in the platform are more similar to them and who are the different ones.
If you ask a girl or a guy that you are going out with to use the app, you will find out even the type of wine they like, food preferences. I have to admit that I used it for some dates.
After voting for hundreds of projects on the app and looking at the results which are publicly available, you realize that even your most close friends are only 50% to 60% similar to you. And that means that all those discussions with friends, family, social networks about opinions are just a representation that our opinion is not really true. And when you see that in numbers in front of you, then you realize.
What's your most memorable experience?
When I put the app online in the middle of February, I was expecting to get just a few downloads. But in 3 months, there were 10k downloads. Honestly, I wasn't expecting that.
What's your greatest fear?
I believe this app has the potential not just to help people make choices, but to help people understand that we are around 50% different in preferences than others. Maybe with this app, we can reduce the hate on social networks and comments around the internet by making people understand that we are different.
My fear is not being able to transmit this idea, and this app dies from a lack of users. But I think that's the fear of every developer :).
Looking back, what's one thing you wish you understood better before you ever got started?
I underestimated the complexity of the app. At first, I thought it would be a weekend project, but the code started to get more and more complex. I made many technical mistakes that cost me months of work redoing the job, but I think now I am on the right track. I'm working now on the A.I. to give people a better experience.
What are the strategies that helped you become successful in your journey?
There is still a lot of work do be done, and we can't call it a success at this time. I am still working on adding new features to the app.
What keeps you going when things get tough?
It started as a tool or something that could have potential. But, today, I understand that is not just about the app; it's about making people understand the differences. So this is not anymore a simple app or game for me. I want to give others the same opportunity, the numbers that I saw with my own eyes, and understand our differences.
Any message for our readers.
We all have an opinion, and this is a place that your opinion matters, with no discussion, no hate, is where numbers show that we are all a little bit different and is a place of understanding and respect. Everybody is more than welcome not just to join but to send me a message with suggestions on how the app can be improved.