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Meet, the modern way to keep a journal

Q&A with Kenny and Jeromy of Two App Studio, creators of the popular journaling app Journey.

journey_cloud.pngKenny and Jeromy are twin brothers from Singapore, and the founders of Two App Studio, an app development company. They are the creators of the journal app “Journey”, which is one of the most popular journaling applications for Android. It’s also a Google Play editors' choice. They are also the creators of a writing app “JotterPad” and a video shooting and editing app called “Weave”.

What is it like working so closely with each other as family members and business partners?

2appstudiobros.jpgBoth of us have been working together on small scale projects since we were young. The rapport we have established throughout the years is the driving force that shapes our business today. The biggest advantage of working together is that we get along and know one another so well. Working together also allows us to talk about our ideas freely. Undoubtedly, disagreements arise from time to time, but in these situations we handle it by debating and making sure only the most concrete ideas survive. However, sometimes debates do carry on and we have to resolve them by giving ourselves a ‘cooling period’, so we are calm enough to think through the problem rationally and not emotionally.

Has there been a history of entrepreneurship in the family?

We have a rich history of entrepreneurship in our family. Our grandfather was an entrepreneur who ran a successful family business together with our first uncle and our dad. Our second uncle is the manufacturer and retailer of Synwin, a well-known musical instrument label in Singapore.

Can you tell us more about Journey?

Many people like to keep a personal diary to record special events in their lives, or simply save ideas, impressions, and emotions. Journey is an application that allows people to maintain a personal diary in the cloud: it is easy to use and always accessible, so new entries can be logged anywhere. Journey retains and tags meaningful information to entries, such as the ambience and location of events. It also allows users to attach multiple types of media, like 360 degree panoramic images and videos. An added advantage is that since the journal is stored in the cloud, it is very hard to lose or forget somewhere!

Why did you build this application?

Journaling is a healthy ritual. A good journal app can capture and archive positive vibes in a person’s life journey; whether they are major milestones, celebrations of little things in life, self-affirming thoughts, or recording creative ideas.

The need for a good journaling app is something we experienced first-hand during our time at college. They were busy times when there is a lot going on: while not everyone wants to keep a public blog, keeping a private diary can be a good way to declutter your mind, write down ideas and deal with emotions. From this perspective, it can really help improve your mental health, with a positive effect on your ability to focus and perform well.

Utility tools such as calendars and reminders have successfully gone digital, but adoption of digital journaling has been slower. Why do you think that is and how do you see that changing?

Technology has replaced utility tools that only serve one function, such as displaying calendars or reminders. These tools have gone digital successfully due to the convenience it has provided. For example, the date and time written in the email can be easily added into the calendar and reminder app. Although more people are adopting digital journaling, its growth is slower than productivity tools in other segments.

We think the paper journal still remains popular because of people’s skepticism about storing their most personal thoughts digitally. In fact, we have witnessed the fall of many journal apps over recent years. This sometimes prevents people from converting to digital journaling.

So we asked ourselves, "How can we create a journal app that will last forever?"

We believe the answer lies in giving users full control of their journal data by storing it in a reliable cloud service such as Google Drive. The existence of Journey as an app should not affect the journal.

Privacy is also a top concern that stops people from transiting into digital journaling. Storing personal secrets and information in the cloud can be vulnerable especially to hackers. As a result, Journey does not store data in third party servers which can be easily retrieved by the platform provider. The journal data in Journey is encrypted, uploaded using Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) before storing it in the user’s own Google Drive account.

s5.pngMoreover, we are confident journaling will go digital successfully in the next few years. The advantage of a digital journal is that it’s available when and where you need it, it’s easy and convenient. In Journey, our goal is to make journaling ubiquitous. We designed the synchronisation to be seamless and effortless in all platforms. One can access the journal anytime and anywhere in Journey. Digital journals can also attach photos, videos and metadata such as weather, temperature and location. New features can also be added in the future through the app update. This is far superior than a traditional paper journal.

In the future, the emergence of Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) can take digital journaling to a whole new level. How cool will it be to revisit past places or “teleport” to your last holiday destination? Users can now immerse themselves and experience panorama image in 360 degree. AR is currently available in all platforms including Journey.Cloud while VR only works with the Android devices that support Google Cardboard.

Why did you pick the domain

Journey started as an app for Android. When we decided to introduce a web-based version of the application, we discovered that the .cloud extension was about to launch and decided that the domain would be the perfect option for us.

We love how it is both catchy and concise, an accurate description of what Journey is all about – a cloud-based journal platform.

What does the typical Journey user look like?

The app has been downloaded over 500.000 times, and about a third of our users come from the United States, followed by India, Canada and Australia. 34% of our users are between 25 – 34. Generally, there are more male users, 53% male and 47% female. However, female users dominate in the age group between the age 18 - 24.

Although the web application on Journey.Cloud is relatively new, it has already captured almost two thirds of the Journey users, and the number of daily visits tripled within a few months.

The large majority of our users find that the domain name is easier to remember, and they often sign in daily through it.

Finally, based on your experience so far, are there any insights and tips you want to share with other app developers and entrepreneurs?

We have been developing Android apps for more than five years. We were inspired to develop apps after watching an episode of the popular UK reality show “The Apprentice”.

While the show portrayed the app development business as effortless, in fact it took us many years to simply grasp the concept.

One of our greatest challenges was to promote Journey in the journal market with little marketing budget. With millions of apps in the Play Store, it was challenging to capture users’ attention if the new apps did not stand out from the crowd. The top journal had more than a million downloads before our app launch. Something that really helped us was the adoption of Google’s Material Design, which sparked huge interest in the Android community. We saw the app downloads soared in less than a week as it was spread through the social media. We obviously spend a lot of time making sure that Journey remains fresh and relevant as a journaling platform by continuous innovation.

Our motto for ourselves and an advice for app developers is to persevere and never give up.

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