I swear that I am falling farther and farther behind in my attempts to understand new tech fads. I already mentioned my mystification with the appeal of Google Glass. But that is nothing compared to what I think about the new Yo app. What does this free app do? If you and your friends download this app onto your iPhones or Android devices, then this app sends the simple message ‘Yo’ to each other. That’s it.

Can you believe that this ‘idea’, if you can deign to call it that, has already got 150,000 users and attracted one million dollars from hedge funds? Who would be even slightly interested in this, other than Yo Yo Ma? Sam Biddle talked to one investor who coughed up $200,000 as to what made him spend so much money on something that its own inventor says took just eight hours to code and cost zero money. His answer makes as much sense as the app itself. He says that he was impressed by its ‘virality’.

If this is not a sign that we are in a tech bubble, I don’t know what is.

Stephen Colbert reviews the app and finds that that simple word can convey so much simply by its context.

(This clip aired on June 19, 2014. To get suggestions on how to view clips of The Daily Show and The Colbert Report outside the US, please see this earlier post. If the videos autoplay, please see here for a diagnosis and possible solutions.)


  1. eigenperson says

    As my brother explained it: “We’ve apparently come full circle; now we’re back to using pagers.”

  2. DsylexicHippo says

    I can see one potential use for Yo in poor countries – you could Yo someone to simulate a “missed call”. The missed-call trick is often use to convey pre-arranged meanings without incurring mobile phone charge. Most mobile phone operators there charge for incoming calls so this is one way to avoid it since you don’t get charged for missed calls. Yo is just an app version of what I described though it is completely redundant in terms of that particular functionality.

  3. Mobius says

    I have decided to write a new app. It sends out the message “Meh”.

    Can I get a million dollars for this idea?

  4. Mano Singham says


    Actually, that makes more sense because at least it expresses an attitude.

  5. Lofty says

    Meaningless monosyllabic communication for young people? Naah, it’ll never catch on.
    /old fart

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