George Deglin co-founder and CEO of OneSignal. We’re a venture-backed startup company with the mission to democratize customer engagement. I started my career as a software engineer and have enjoyed the journey of being the leader of a fast-growing business.
In your own words, what’s your role in the app business right now?
Now that OneSignal is over 100 people, my role includes setting the vision for the business, working closely with partners and investors, and ensuring we hire a world-class team.
How did you end up working in apps?
My co-founder and I were enamored by smartphone devices’ increasing distribution and performance. We foresaw apps as the primary way that people would entertain themselves, shop, and communicate. The company was originally a successful mobile game studio before seeing a greater opportunity and pivoting to OneSignal.
What are you most excited about in apps right now?
Covid has dramatically accelerated the digital adoption and tech-savviness of billions of people around the world at a time when mobile devices are have become as powerful as desktop computers.
In the past, many apps couldn’t exist because either their market was too small or devices weren’t powerful enough. Today, those limitations are rapidly disappearing. I expect we’ll see a tremendous wave of innovation in categories including mobile 3d-gaming, live streaming, virtual reality, and communication+collaboration apps.
Looking further out, I suspect that the form factor of mobile screens will change. We could see continued innovation in foldable displays, micro projectors, or augmented reality. A new era of digital experiences will be unlocked when small mobile screens disappear as a limitation.
What other companies in the app space do you rate/ inspire you and why?
I’ve recently been fascinated by apps that utilize AI to generate art. The app “WOMBO Dream” is particularly impressive and can generate beautiful, surreal artwork based on a user-inputted prompt in just a few seconds.
Another would be TikTok. It was so addictive I had to delete it from my phone. TikTok found the perfect intersection of innovative technology for performant video streaming, excellent user experience, and an algorithm that shows each user the most engaging content possible. Unlike other social media platforms, content on TikTok tends to be more upbeat. It’s no wonder they’ve been so successful.
What do you like most about working in apps?
Every year brings massive new changes to the mobile ecosystem. With each change, new and exciting opportunities emerge. I love being in an industry that forces companies like ours to continually innovate.
Most excitingly, I think we’re still at just the start of what’s possible when it comes to mobile experiences. I can’t wait to see what the future holds.
What one thing would you change about the app industry?
As powerful as Apps are, I believe the mobile web is also a fantastic platform. Google has done an excellent job of ensuring its Android operating system supports great mobile web experiences.
However, Apple lags behind on iOS. Unlike Android, iOS does not support web notifications, web background sync, web bluetooth, and a lot more. Apple’s decision to limit improvements to the Web experience on iOS has held back a lot of innovation that would otherwise be happening in the industry.
Where do you think there’s an opportunity for apps or unmet needs?
I have not yet been able to find an app that makes it truly easy to hire local skilled workers e.g. for repairs around the home. Some apps will connect people with local businesses, but they usually don’t help beyond that.
If you weren’t working in apps what would you be doing?
I love building products that help other technology companies be successful. If not for OneSignal, I might be doing the same for non-app businesses such as retail stores or businesses in the supply chain.
Is there anything else we should know about you?
When first starting the company behind OneSignal, I bootstrapped by hacking into websites and earning bug bounties.
iOS or Android?
Do you know someone driving change and growth in the app industry?
Nominate an app leader here.