Berkeley students are known for a variety of things — good grades, protesting, an undeniable love of boba and being incredibly unlucky in regards to football. However, with the creation of new app “Lucky” from Cal grads Jon Liu and Jeff Wang, students at Berkeley can be the most connected too.
Lucky is a brand-new photo sharing application that allows for fellow Bears to discover each other with the click of a button. You take a picture, it’s randomly sent to one of Lucky’s 320 users and hey, presto! You’re connected! There’s also the fun option to name and create your own group, enabling students to share images among their peers.
We love the idea to get students more connected and make the campus feel smaller, although we’re a little unsure about the prospect of random dick pics flying onto our screens! In search of more information, we spoke to the creators of the app to give us the story about their creation.
The Daily Californian: So Jon, Jeff — tell us about yourselves!
Jon Liu: I graduated from Berkeley in 2008 with a B.S. in EECS. I’ve always had a broad interest in how technology changes our social interactions with one another over time. Specifically, I’m very interested in how technology can help us solidify and discover social relationships.
Jeff Wang: I graduated from Berkeley in 2008 with a B.S. in EECS. I’ve always loved startups and am eager to get to know other entrepreneurs and engineers.
DC: What have you been up to since graduating from Berkeley?
JL: I went to law school and practiced as a patent lawyer for a few years … However, since my freshman year at Cal, I’ve always had the itch to start a startup. So six months ago, I left the law to start something with fellow EECS friend Jeff Wang, who I met at the Foothill dorms playing pingpong.
JW: I went on to grad school getting a masters degree. After that, I worked in both strategy consulting and product management at a VC-backed startup. I’ve stayed here in the Bay Area and love living in San Francisco now!
DC: What prompted your move to app development?
JL: Jeff and I started developing apps a year or so after we graduated from Berkeley. We made some entertainment apps and some games before making Lucky. We were both in non-engineering grad school, and building something technical was a much-needed, refreshing break from school. We also wanted to make some side income that would pay off our monthly iPhone data plans, and we ended up making enough to pay for most of our tuition! Unfortunately, nowadays, it’s a bit harder to make significant amounts of money through apps.
DC: What was your inspiration for “Lucky?”
JL: We’ve always thought that it’s hard to get to know people that are outside of your social circle, especially once you’re out of school. We thought the random nature of “Lucky” would be a mechanism that can spur some serendipitous connections between people who are loosely connected (e.g., through being a student at Cal).
DC: What makes your app different from the likes of “Instagram” and “Snapchat?”
JL: Our goal is to get people to interact with those outside of their social circle. “Instagram” and “Snapchat” are great for friends who already know each other, but “Lucky” helps broaden each person’s social circle.
DC: Is there a rule in place for what kind of pictures people can send to each other?
JL: Right now, there aren’t any rules. The community can moderate inappropriate photos, but we’re making it less structured right now to keep it fun!
DC: What are your goals for “Lucky” in the future?
JL: Our ultimate goal is to have as many people as we can discover and solidify meaningful, social relationships, hopefully sparked through “Lucky.”
DC: Any tips for those who want to follow in your footsteps and create their own app?
JL: I bought a mobile programming book and learned the basics in two months on the weekends. The first app is the hardest, and it’ll probably take a couple of apps before you start getting it right!
DC: Lastly, what is your favorite memory of Berkeley?
JL: My favorite memory of Berkeley is probably meeting what seemed like millions of amazingly skilled people with extremely diverse backgrounds and viewpoints different from my own.
JW: The late night treks to get Top Dog.
So do you think you’ll download the app? Could it help you get lucky? Let us know!
Contact Gena-mour Barrett at firstname.lastname@example.org.