Meet the Makers: Diego Prats of Border Stylo

Mar 25, 2011
Tech

Border Stylo earlier this month released a new smartphone application that brings the View-Master experience to the smartphone. In this week’s Meet the Makers, Border Stylo Diego Prats talks his company’s 360 degree efforts to pull in content from various social media outlets, commercialization efforts to date, and why SXSW ain’t exactly what it used […]

Border Stylo earlier this month released a new smartphone application that brings the View-Master experience to the smartphone. In this week’s Meet the Makers, Border Stylo Diego Prats talks his company’s 360 degree efforts to pull in content from various social media outlets, commercialization efforts to date, and why SXSW ain’t exactly what it used to be.

Earlier this month, Border Stylo unveiled Retrollect apps for both iOS and Android. What should consumers expect to find when they download the app?

Retrollect is our attempt at filling a void in the market. The goal is to provide users with a quick and easy way to pull in content from their different social outlets (ie. FB, Twitter, pictures, etc). If you think about it, when you celebrate a special occasion like a birthday, all your updates related to that night may end up in different places. Retrollect allows you to pull in and assemble the highlights of your experiences.

Who came up with the idea of bringing the View-Master experience to the smartphone?

The need that we saw, as described above, came first. Once we decided we wanted to create visual mash-ups we did many iterations (over 50 or so, no exaggerating) of what those could look like. It ranged from collages to Mondrian-esque montages. Eventually one of our founders, Eduardo, just had a moment of inspiration. He remembered the disc image, or reel, from the View-Master toys, and it just clicked. From that point on, it was obvious we had to go with the View Master throwback. It even helped define our visual identity and branding.

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Retrollect is free to download on both platforms. How are you commercializing the app?

The truth is that Retrollect was a five week experiment. Our company, Border Stylo, is constantly trying to come up with new technologies, and since we saw an opportunity we just went for it. Our core business is actually a different product, a browser extension called Glass (http://writeonglass.com). That extension, which allows users to have a private conversation on top of any webpage, is what we are looking to commercialize. That said, Retrollect is something we’ll continue to work on, since it has had such a positive reception.

What other existing and future titles can you tell us about?

Like I mentioned, Glass is our bigger title. Because of the technical challenges Glass presented, we’ve built a very robust architecture that we were able to leverage and adapt for the development of Retrollect. That made the building of Retrollect very quick. Also, using new technologies like PhoneGap, which bridges the gap between multiple mobile frameworks, and HTML5 made it possible to make Retrollect for both iOS and Android using the same code base.

What was the biggest surprise you faced debuting Retrollect at this year’s SXSW?

Retrollect had a great reception from the people we chatted with. However, it feels like SXSW is changing. It’s no longer as intimate as it used to be, and there is a lot of noise from outside companies doing a lot of advertising, some of them are global brands that do not necessarily have much to do with the festival. So going into it, we knew SXSW was less of a product launch for us and more of a place to get feedback. We did a lot of talking to people and got some very valuable input that is now being integrated into the next versions of Retrollect.

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Brad Spirrison

Brad Spirrison is the managing editor of appoLearning and Appolicious Inc. In this capacity, he has sampled and evaluated thousands of iOS and Android applications. He also holds an M.A. in Education and Media Ecology from New York University.

Spirrison worked in concert with appoLearning Expert and Instructional Technology Specialist Leslie Morris while curating and evaluating educational applications.

A longtime media and technology commentator and executive, Spirrison is also a regular contributor to ABC News, The Huffington Post, TechCrunch, Bloomberg West and The Christopher Gabriel Program.

Spirrison is married and lives with his wife and young son in Chicago. As his son was born just weeks before the debut of the iPad, Spirrison takes his work home with him and regularly samples and enjoys a variety of educational applications for young children.

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