eHub Interviews Oyogi

Posted by Emily Chang on Friday, March 17th, 2006. Filed under: eHub Interviews

Visit Oyogi, originally added to eHub on Jan 13, 06.

imageThanks to Oyogi for this email interview posted March 17, 2006.

eHub: What is your web application/service about?

Oyogi: Oyogi helps people get answers to questions by interacting with experts (aka ‘yogis’). We do this by providing a way for people to: 1) Post specialties (resumes) that are searchable, 2) Collaborate and mentor each other in real-time using web-based Instant Messaging 3) Ask and respond to questions 4) Search 1/2/3 in real-time.

eHub: Why did you start this project?

Oyogi: Our organizing beliefs are that A) on a daily basis people need help on a variety of topics and that B) Others possess a wealth of knowledge that remains un-documented for a variety of reasons. Oyogi’s goal is to help put people in touch with one another for information-exchange and to index these exchanges for posterity.

eHub: How much time do you devote to its growth?  Do you have a day job?

Oyogi: Well, some of us on the project have ‘day jobs’ where we help guide projects for our other clients. Others are dedicated to the effort.

eHub: How large is your team and what are your backgrounds?

Oyogi: Our team includes an eclectic handful of techie and business types. As far as engineering goes, we generally organize ourselves around tiers of the system with the overriding goal being that one engineer can back-up or compliment another engineer at any time. While the business types play traditional roles of product and project management, the techies understand and manage both the technical and product/usability ramifications of their work.  Our individual experiences range from being fresh out of college to having conceived and implemented highly scalable distributed systems for nearly 20 years.

eHub: What is your design philosophy?

Oyogi:

KISS – Keep it simple and simpler.

Aggressively apply new technologies to aid in ease of use, as well as to enhance the efficacy of our methods.

Make all users aware that they are a part of an active community searching for each others knowledge.

imageFrom an engineering perspective:
We subscribe to Agile principles and our developers have designed and built large-scale distributed Object Oriented systems for their current and previous ‘day jobs’, so that certainly influences design … balancing ‘quick-and-thrifty’ versus ‘industrial-strength’ is a constant focus for us given our client experiences … We make heavy use of unit testing, and all the developers are ultimately responsible for all aspects of the project … no stove-pipes here.

eHub: What technologies are you currently using?

Oyogi: Java and JSP at the root. We use WebWork as our MVC, make extensive use of leading OpenSource frameworks/projects (Spring, Hibernate, Ant, Compass/Lucene + custom frameworks) and deploy the whole shebang into JBoss. Chat uses XMPP as its underlying protocol and the client side is heavy on Javascript/AJAX (of course), with mostly home-rolled libraries.

eHub: If your project is live, what are the most requested features from your users/community?

Oyogi: People clamor for the option of private chat and tagging. Curiously, some have asked for formal categories.

eHub: Does your user base reside in a primary geographic location or is it distributed?

Oyogi: Our user base is geographically distributed with registered users as far East as China.

eHub: Where do you see the project heading in the next 6 months?  The next 2 years?

Oyogi: The next 6 months will be really focused on building the features/making the changes that our user community thinks will add the greatest value. We’ve also got a plethora of other features we’ve dreamed up. We’ll be finding a balance between those two.  Besides that, we know there are a lot of improvements we need to make and we’ll be focusing on making the software better. The next 2 years is harder to predict, but we’ve been approached by parties who’ve come up with applications for Oyogi and its principles for their own endeavors.  So, those opportunities will be interesting to consider for the company. We’re also exploring other creative uses for our real-time indexing technology.

eHub: What is the greatest challenge to your success?

Oyogi: The greatest challenge is distinguishing Oyogi from the multitude of other nifty applications that are flooding the Web. There are a growing number of very cool applications that compete for user-ship, but alas, there are only 24 hours in a day.

eHub: What is the one thing you need to get to the next phase of the project?

Oyogi: What we need most right now is continued, considered input from our growing user base.

eHub: Do you have a business model?  If so, what is it?

Oyogi: Our current business model is advertising driven. There are other revenue models we’ve considered since our formation. Continued interest in applying our technology to various problems is causing us to re-visit those strategies.

eHub: If you’re able to disclose this information, how much traffic or usage do you see on an average day?

Oyogi: Traffic is fairly low volume right now, but improving every day. That being said there are a core set of users who have adopted the site and stay logged in all day.

eHub: What is the one thing you’re most proud of about the project?

Oyogi: I suppose the thing we’re the proudest about is not only taking a calculated leap-of-faith with Oyogi, but having the gumption to stick through all of the tricky technical and conceptual wickets. We’re big admirers of tough, resilient people and teams and aspire to continually be recognized as one.

eHub: How would you describe the shift that’s occurring with the web right now to future generations?

Oyogi: Its somewhat cliche, but certainly the resurrection of the boom era ‘Wired’ is partially appropriate. Where it gets very interesting is when the word ‘Wired’ is used in the same sentence as ‘Sentient’ … 1 part pervasive broadband, 1 part highly available computing, 1 part artificial intelligence, poured over Web-generation entrepreneurs makes for a potent cocktail. It makes sense that as convenience and information continue to be valued by people, the power of this cocktail to evolve from being a consciously chosen tool to being woven into the fabric of everything we see, hear, smell, touch, and taste is profound.  I think we’ll look back on this time and remember that this was when we realized our own humanity began to color and imbue characteristics of living things into the Internet: the Web – as an organism.

eHub: What site(s) do you visit everyday other than your own?

Oyogi:
news.google.com
cnn.com
technorati.com
digg.com
ebay.com

Other than that, we subscribe to a truckload of feeds
from various sites, including:

boing boing
del.ici.ous
techcrunch
ehub
publish.com
solutionwatch

eHub: How many hours of sleep do you get a night?

Oyogi: A refreshing 18 :).

Thanks to Oyogi for this email interview posted March 17, 2006.

Visit Oyogi
Originally added to eHub on Jan 13, 06