Meet the brains behind Turtle

Lina Al Taii, Entertainment Editor

In less than 24 hours, Turtle, a new app relased by AHS Alumni, not only hit over 1300 users, but it earned display on the trending page of the App Store. The founders of this App explain how they created this app, and what their plans are for the future of it.
Julius Miller, a freshman at GMU, is member of the Marketing/Press Outreach team. TJ Ullah, a freshman at Northern Virginia Community College, works on Marketing as well as Photography for the app. Saad Farooq, a freelance digital marketer, is Chief of Marketing and coordinates social media strategy. Nick Sarath, the CEO of the company, was not available for this interview.
How did you guys each come together and decide you wanted to work on this app together? Have you worked together in the past?
“Nick had asked me to come on,” Ullah said, “and asked to help out with the app, I’ve known Nick for a while and we have worked together for a bit along with Julius too. “Nick came to recruit us,” Miller said, “and help him market and work on the app with him, like TJ said, we have worked together before on smaller things but I’d say this is the first major thing we have worked on together, definitely the first app,”
“Nick told me about the idea in the beginning,” Farooq said, “and we kinda just grew it from there. It’s my first time working with all of these people.”

How did the idea behind the app develop as you worked on it? Is there anything that you wanted to do but couldn’t or anything that you didn’t think of originally but ended up doing at the end?
“There are a few things we couldn’t add at the moment,” Ullah said, “but we plan on implementing them in the future with app updates.” “It was very simple from the beginning,” Miller said, “but Nick says the idea kind of derived from just having a hard time starting conversations, and when he did start them, there was a preconceived notion they had of him and it just ruined the conversation. With Turtle, it takes that preconceived notion away and allows people to have an easier time making conversation. I think that at this moment the real thing we are pushing towards creating is a matchmaking system that just wasn’t able to be released with the first version of the app.”

How long have you worked on it prior to the release and were there any problems along the way?
“We worked on it for quite a while,” Ullah said, “the only major problem I think we had was Apple being a pain.” “Yeah it has certainly been a while,” Miller said, “I remember the idea coming up from Nick during the summer or earlier,” Miller said, “Like TJ said, Apple was really annoying we got rejected like six times and it sucked.”

Is it only available on iOS right now? Are you guys planning on making it available to Android phones/other platforms?
“It is only available on iOS right now, but we plan to release to Android very soon,” Farooq said.
What is your ultimate long-term goal for the app right now? Seeing the extreme success it’s having after just one day, what do you hope will come out of it in the long term?
“To be successful in what we do,” Miller said, “We want to revolutionize the chatting industry by taking the fear out of conversation. And to have fun in what we do.” “My goal is just to have something that I played a part in,” Ullah said, “and to have it available for everyone to enjoy and laugh.” “Our long term company goal is to change the way people meet online,” Farooq said, “rather than having people be judgemental and base you off your social media profile and pictures online we want people to get to know each other without developing any implicit bias,”

How did you guys pick three days? Is there any significance behind that number and did you guys test it out or did you just go with it? “Well we began with two days,” Farooq said, “but then we decided that it wasn’t enough to get to know a person because people aren’t going to be constantly on the app, so we changed it to three.”
Now that the app is out and in the public eye what type of feedback are you receiving? Is there anything you are planning on changing/improving?
“People want to know who to talk to!” Farooq said, “we want to add a suggested people/discover feature that lets you find people near you, suggest people you might want to talk to, and a feature that shows you random people to talk to. We also want to add an option to post videos on your profile so people can showcase their talents,” “We are mostly getting positive feedback,” Miller said, “if there are any problems or suggestions, people let us know, overall the app is running very smoothly.” “We are getting feedback,” Ullah said, “like if there are any issues that users are facing and just some basic ideas to implement.”
I noticed that the app doesn’t have any visible ads or purchasable portions to make it profitable. At this point in time is there a profit? Are you considering adding ads or purchasable portions in the future, or are you hoping to keep it free?
“Adding in app purchases and ads just makes the app more difficult,” Ullah said, “our goal is to have an easy to use app to socialize and to get to know people without judging based off looks.”

How did you guys come up with the design of the app?
“I believe the turtle is because you know a turtle hides its head and then comes out eventually, like how messages are anonymous at first but only for three days,” Miller said.
What would you say to those who call the app pointless and say the anonymity is used as an excuse to be rude?
“I think that they should consider that aside from their opinion, a lot has gone into the app, a lot of work, a lot of care. It’s our baby in a sense,” Miller said, “also, it’s in a baby stage, it’s very early so if they have dissatisfaction with the current version there are more versions coming that I promise could change their mind.” “I tell them that the point of the app is to allow people to start conversations without any prior implicit bias that the other person may have gathered from their online media, profiles or photos,” Farooq said, “the app is putting people in control of their first impressions. Also we were trending on the app store.”