Trio: an interview with the app’s creator

Trio, an application that recently launched, is aiming to be the next big consumer creation platform in media mashups. We at the Clog sat down with UC Berkeley alumnus Misha Leybovich, who created the app, to find out the details of what Trio does and how it can benefit all UC Berkeley students.

Misha Leybovich/Courtesy

Misha Leybovich/Courtesy


The Daily Clog: What exactly is Trio?

Misha Leybovich: On the most basic level, it’s an app that allows you to use other people’s content to make videos. Videos, images, GIFs and music can all go into it, from different sources. You can use content from Vine, Instagram, iTunes — everything beyond your own camera roll. We put the world of popular media at the tip of your fingertips. Mashups are hard to create but are becoming more and more popular nowadays among younger people, so this makes the whole process really easy. Pinterest uses third-party assets to make galleries; Tumblr uses third-party assets to write articles. Trio uses-third party assets to make videos.

Clog: Who are the minds behind this app?

ML: So I’m the CEO. I have a strong Cal connection — I was an engineering physics major and the ASUC president from 2004 to 2005. Becoming president of the ASUC was amazing. … ASUC runs a lot of the commercial stuff on campus, and being in charge of that was like, “Oh my god, I love doing this!” It’s funny, though: I went to Cal for undergrad and MIT for grad school with the goal of becoming an astronaut. Going to Cal made me realize that I really love the business side of tech. Our CTO (chief technology officer) was a member of a boy band originally, and one of his songs made it to the top of, which is awesome! To support himself, he taught himself how to code. We met while training for a marathon, and now we’re here. For us to work together, it’s really cool to see what’s important from a tech perspective, as well as what’s important for making it practical.

Clog: How is this app different from other apps that aim to do the same thing?

ML: There are so many photo-video apps — that’s super true. But one thing that they all require is for you to have your own assets. This creates a bundle of two concepts: One is to go do interesting things, and the other is to make awesome things. When those two things go together, they’re fantastic. However, what happens when we aren’t having awesome adventures? There’s a big creative space that’s empty right now, and I argue it can actually be a bigger space. You have to be doing interesting things, and, I dunno — that’s pretty tiring! However, validation from your friends is never going away — how about getting it due to your humor, your wit, your commentary? Trio allows you to do that way more often. Anything you make is linked back to its original source: the Vine, the Instagram, etc. Those people then get more followers, more views, more traffic. If it’s a song, we link you to where you can buy it in the iTunes store. It’s great for discovery. This drives value and sales, and it’s a win-win for the consumer and the producers! What’s different about our app is its ability to use third-party apps very easily, as well as how we provide value to original content.

Clog: How do you think this app will transform social media?

ML: I think every app that exists now is doing its job really, really well. Any app needs to provide a new capability for people in order to be successful. We aren’t going to compete with any social media out there now — we’re just going to add to that constellation. It will allow you to bring any kind of content together.

Misha Leybovich/Courtesy

Misha Leybovich/Courtesy


Clog: What are some ways you could see Trio being used among college students?

ML: Amongst friends and socially, for sure. Some of it is tribute stuff: a lot of clips for a celebrity or something. Some of it is sports highlights: make a highlight reel of a specific game or player. Sometimes it’s funny jokes through juxtaposition: two clips that don’t belong together placed back to back, and that ends up becoming funny. Among social uses, there’s all kinds of stuff. We hope that more and more friends will use it, maybe for inside jokes. We have a feature called challenges: Friends can challenge each other and group content together — like a hashtag, but better organized. All your friends chip in to one thing that you might enjoy or that might be important. There’s a way to better engage members of a club. Sharable content ends up being a great recruitment tool. We hope that clubs will make good use of the challenge feature just as a way of instigating creative activities together.

Contact Linsha Qi at [email protected].