Hello ocus

By Ado Kukic

We are officially live (in a very early alpha/MVP stage). Building ocus has been a really enjoyable experience and I wanted to share some insights on the idea behind the app, how we built it, why we built it, and what's coming soon to the platform.

How ocus Came To Be

Social media encourages us to be loud and post as often as possible. From what you had for lunch, to what you're doing right now, to the most random thought that comes to mind, you are encouraged to post it, share it, retweet it, and promote it. Chasing the dopamine hit of getting a bunch of likes or shares just encourages you to post more often, have more to say, and hope your next post goes viral.

There have been a lot of studies in recent years showing how damaging social media addiction can be. Doom-scrolling, incomprehensible "algorithms" controlling what you see, and just an endless sea of noise to drown you out does not make for a great experience. So we set out to do something a little different.

I don't think the idea of ocus is unique, but I believe our take on social media might be. What we imagine for ocus, is an app where you can share your most important update of the day with your audience and ensure it gets seen. Whether it's a link to your latest YouTube video, an important life announcement, or just a motivational message to your followers, we don't want to say what you should post, but we do want to limit how often you can post. That limit in this MVP stage is once every 12 hours.

Your post is then displayed to your followers in chronological order. The post does not have any public facing metrics. There are no likes, there are no re-shares, no fancy algorithms deciding what to show to who. But we are working on some ideas of how we can promote a happy medium of engagement and recognition.

Why the name "ocus"?

Well we want you to focus. No, the real story is less exciting, but a fun one nonetheless. Megan's car that she's had for many years is a Ford Focus. 'Ol blue has gotten her from A to B to C and back many times and has seen its fair share of mishaps. One of those was the letter F falling off. Thus she is the owner of the exclusive Ford ocus. When we were thinking of a name for the app, ocus stood out to me, and the domain was available so I thought why not.

How We Built It

ocus is built with the following technologies and I can't say enough good things about them. They have made the developer experience incredibly enjoyable. The tech stack is as follows:

The idea is that once the app is in good enough shape, we would make the GitHub repo public and allow anyone interested to see how we built the app and hopefully learn from it. I don't have a date in mind when this will be at the moment.

What's Next for ocus?

Iterate. Iterate. Iterate. The app is still in alpha/MVP stage. We have around 60 users and have had lots of positive feedback, some really constructive feedback, and a few haters as well. This is really a passion project of mine and I hack away at it on nights and weekends outside of my day job at MongoDB.

A few features that are WIP are a better profile page, a better discover experience, and ways for users to interact with messages and their followers.

The idea of ocus is a social media app where you take it easy. Post once a day, see a few posts from your friends, and leave. Nothing more, nothing less.

- Ado