By Mikayla Deters
It’s hard to believe that the brand-new technology track, Industry T, for Business Horizons (BH) started with just the word ‘bro’. Alex Gates, the adviser for Industry T, had been a part of BH for multiple years before the creation of the current technology industry.
In his years of being an adviser, he had noticed students that had ideas for software or applications. One year, a student approached him with the idea for an app during a meeting. Gates had asked students in his industry if they were aware of an app titled Yo, where friends could send others notifications with the word ‘yo’. Many of the students answered Gates that they had never heard of the app before, to which he explained the main idea.
“I showed them and they’re like ‘that’s the dumbest app of all time,’” he said. Not long after he explained the app, a student suggested an app titled Bro. The student explained that while it was similar to Yo in some ways, the user would be able to customize the amount of o’s in ‘bro’.
“You can be like ‘bro’, ‘brooo’, ‘brooooo’, right?” Gates said, “I’m like ‘that’s hilarious.’”
Gates mentioned the idea for Bro to a few of his coworkers. Throughout the week, Gates, the student, and a friend of Gates’ were able to create early versions of the software while still doing normal work at BH. By the end of the week, the three were sending ‘bros’ to each other. “We ended up finishing it and getting it to the point where we put it in the app store,” Gates said.
Not long after the three had created the app, a TV show called Silicon Valley released an app called Bro. Even though the app Silicon Valley had released was different from that of Gates and his two partners, many people from across the world downloaded it.
“Since the app was called Bro, thousands and thousands of people downloaded the app and started using it,” he said. “So there was a spike in usage and popularity with this app and we were getting bros from people all over the world like bro-ing at us and bro-ing back. It was such a fun sort of thing that happened.”
After those experiences, he noticed that students had ideas for usable solutions that could be built with software.
“Bro is a dumb idea, but it was still smart in terms of its execution,” Gates said. “I feel like 16, 17, 18-year-old kids when they’re working on this can come up with really good ideas and so Industry T facilitates a way for those ideas to come to life and for us to work together to achieve it.”
Gates explained that he was excited to see the ideas students would come up with, including the app that Industry T spent BH working on this week.