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After spending several years in social services, Nicole has finally followed her lifelong dream of being a full-time writer. In addition to her work for The Hudsucker, Nicole is also a staff writer for Womanista. An avid comic book fan, BBQ aficionado, professional makeup artist and first-time mom, Nicole can be found exploring Kansas City rich history when she's not blogging about suburban life at Suburban Flamingo.

At the Beep: Chatting with Beep’s Pieter Parker and Nick Barth

In September, actor Will Smith sent his fans a thank you message, but he didn’t use Twitter or Facebook to do it. Instead of showing his gratitude in text for all the birthday wishes he had received, Smith opted for something more personal. He sent is fans and the whole world a message with his voice and he used a new social app called Beep to do it.

Created by Pieter Parker and Nick Barth, Beep came from the idea that conversation in your own voice is more personal, but can also connect you to the world.

“Beep is an audio-based, Twitter-style app so you can send voice messages to each other and instead of just sending it just to friends you can actually put it out to the entire world. The idea behind it is if a few people could talk with each other on a global scale, what would that sound like? We found that really interesting so we went out and built it,” Parker said. “The original idea just kind of came out of wondering what people were thinking. What is a person thinking, what would they want to say and if they could say it to me, what would they want to say to the whole world.”

Image Credit: Beep

Image Credit: Beep

The app, available for Android and iOS as well as on the web, allows users create short voice messages called Beeps. These Beeps can be paired with images to provide greater context to the messages and tagged to connect them to other messages. Beeps can then be sent to friends, shared openly with the world, or posted onto other social networks, like Facebook. With feedback from the Beep community, Parker and Barth hope to keep improving and updating Beep frequently.

“We got the first version out in about two months. Aggressive timelines, three-day cycles. You need to keep iterating based on what you’re discovering—the data you have and what people are saying and just some plain hunches,” said Parker. “If we’re improving and changing within months and even potentially in the future weeks, then that’s not a bad thing. The ideal goal for us would be to get where every month at a minimum there is something new rolling out and people to engage with. That’s what we’re striving towards.”

Striving towards new creation is something Parker and Barth have always had in common. Parker formerly worked on Dragon Age for BioWare before working on concert sites for Northlands in Edmonton, Alberta. Primarily a designer, it was Barth who got Parker into development.

“Nick introduced me to the web and he just taught me a lot of things about programming and designing for the web and it interested me so we started working on project together, said Parker.

“I’ve been a programmer forever, since a little kid. I love programming and really just even in my spare time, that’s kind of what I’m doing so when Peter is like ‘I need a programmer, be my programmer…'” Barth said.

The two met in high school and have been friends and collaborators since, though the story of just how they came to be friends is a little different based on which one you ask.

“It’s actually kind of funny howe we first met because my first real exposure to the web in any sort of programming way was when I saw Nick. There were two Nicks in our school and they were both programming geeks,” Parker said. “I saw Nick typing some weird code into the browser bar and I’m like, what are you doing, and he’s like ‘Oh I’m trying to hack the other Nick’s website.’ So these guys would go back and forth each day in high school trying to hack each other’s websites so I would just sit there and be like, ‘Nick, teach me what you’re doing’ and he’d just show me these little snippets of code as he was trying to break into this other guy’s website.”

“But really how be both met is we were always last when we did the jogging in gym,” Barth says. “Slow bodies, quick brains.”

Beep is available in the Android store, iTunes, and on the web.

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