TechnoGadgetry

Who are these Peeple?!?

Last week, Peeple hit the media like a ton of bricks. Most of what I wanted to say has already been said.

Still, I had a concern.

How do tech companies choose the projects that they support?

Seriously. I’d like to know.  What is their vetting process?

Peeple’s creators posted a (now-removed) web series on YouTube. In their videos, Julia Cordray mentioned at least two companies–an incubator that (from what I recall) provided them with funding, and another organization responsible for developing their app.

I checked their developer’s web site. It features a list of their “work”, aka their portfolio. Among their projects were apps for two web sites that I recognize. One is a niche healthy lifestyle site. The other is very well known. Liberal, conservative, old, young–it doesn’t matter. Even if you don’t use it, any internet-savvy person would recognize its name.

I won’t describe these projects in any more detail. Ultimately, I think the companies that Ms. Cordray mentioned deserve to salvage their reputations.

Which brought me to my original question: What process does someone with an idea have to go through in order to bring it from her head into fruition as an app that potentially millions of people will use?

Well…

While working on this post, I did a bit of digging. Believe me when I say that my eyes have been opened. DIY app development is actually a thing. (I’m old, I know.) And if you don’t want to get your hands dirty, you don’t have to. There are companies that can do the work for you. In fact, this is where things got interesting. While certain companies gave me the impression that you had to Be Somebody in order to work with them, others appear to be more than willing to offer average folks like you and me the means to bring an idea to the public.

Quite frankly, the latter type of firms startled me.

When I say that, I hope I’m not misunderstood. I don’t want creative people who lack technical skills to be unable to make their dreams come true. (For all I know, one day I might think of something brilliant that will make everyone’s lives just a little bit easier.) However, when the idea for an app is brought to a company’s attention, at the very least I hope their staff interviews its creators thoroughly. It’s vital to know the impact that their work will have on potential users.

Regarding Peeple, the people behind it demonstrated a lack of awareness of what can happen when technology and human nature intersect. Not every interaction or impact is positive.

As I think about their now-deleted web site and social media pages, everything about Peeple troubled me. Contrary to Julia Cordray’s recently-released statement about their company’s purpose, enough members of the general public exist who are aware of their original claims.

It will be interesting to see how the individuals involved in this debacle manage to recover.

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