When Kayvon Beykpour and Joe Bernstein were developing Periscope in 2014, before Twitter bought the company in January 2015, there wasn't much market for mobile live-streaming apps. Others had tried and failed. But the people behind Periscope thought they had identified a major obstacle: "Being live can be scary," said Mr. Beykpour.
To make live-streaming less intimidating, Periscope's team sought to make it easier and quicker for viewers to provide feedback to the streamer. They added the ability to comment during a broadcast, so that, for example, a viewer could ask the streamer to turn the camera in a certain direction. And they added a way for viewers to send animated hearts to the live-streamer to let him or her know they liked what they were seeing. "The hearts were one of our most important design solutions because we had to solve that scary problem," Mr. Beykpour said.
By tackling such obstacles, Messrs. Beykpour and Bernstein have created remarkable tech that advertisers and consumers alike have embraced warmly. Periscope has been downloaded more than 10 million times; it drove out-of-the-box campaigns for Royal Caribbean and Doritos; and Apple just named it 2015 App of the Year.