Students question the creator of Questions app

The best indication of a good journalist is someone who asks the right questions.  On Thursday, Newsroom by the Bay’s Year 2 students proved their skills as journalists by asking Oladayo Olagunju, founder of the new iPhone app called Questions, good questions, in an hour of thought-provoking discussion.

Olagunju has created Questions — Ask and Answer, an app that allows people to pose or answer questions in 10-second video clips.

Olagunju said that the ultimate goal of his company, called Nyoombl, is to “become a new Google,” one that “democratizes discussion” to offer a more “personal” experience than just keywords and compiled data.

According to Olagunju, Questions goes even further than Google by allowing its members to ask questions that require significant thought, such as “What is the meaning of life?”  He expressed hope that some day in the future people will be able to use Questions as a way of looking back at recorded history.

As a brand new form of social interaction, Questions still has a way to go to make the difference that Olagunju has in mind, but the students recognized the unique opportunity of interacting with a social media innovator before the technology takes off in the public sphere.  They questioned Olagunju energetically, seeking answers to broad questions.

Student Jeffrey Hara asked, “What fascinates you about the idea of democratization of discussion? Wouldn’t (allowing anyone to participate) dilute the amount of quality material on your app?”  But Olagunju challenged Hara and other students to come up with definitions for “quality” and “discussion” to help them see his view.

“What I’m trying to say is that it’s all relative.  What is utility for me is different from what is utility to someone else,” Olagunju said.

After his talk, Olagunju told NBTB co-director Beatrice Motamedi he was impressed by the thought-provoking and original questions that the Newsroom by the Bay students had asked.  Certainly, the students appreciated the opportunity to ask questions of the man behind the Questions app.

Patricia Jia and Emma Steiner, NBTB counselors-in-training

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