Creator of Roll With Me, Mohammad Ouyoun, Discusses Digital Tech in Service Development Ahead of His SMW Chicago Event
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This post is part of a series featuring Q&As with Social Media Week Chicago speakers and panelists.
Mohammad Ouyoun is a developer, world traveler, real estate investor and entrepreneur. Born at 32 weeks, he was diagnosed with cerebral palsy at the age of 1. He recently developed an app called Roll with Me that has helped numerous wheelchair users navigate the Chicago transit system more easily and effectively. Read his full bio here.
1. ROLL WITH ME IS A FANTASTIC APP. WHAT HAS BEEN THE BEST RESPONSE TO IT SO FAR?
MO: The response has been terrific. What I really love about it is that not only has the feedback been very positive, but I never knew how many people were interested in this type of application. To be honest, when I first started conceptualizing the idea I was only building it for my own personal use. Since sharing it publicly I’ve gotten responses on aspects people enjoy, things that can be improved, and even new features to possibly make the app even better. Because I’ve been able to share it with so many people, it’s really becoming more of a collective effort in improving the app in that people are sharing ideas and perspectives I hadn’t really thought of.
2. HOW HAVE YOU UTILIZED SOCIAL CHANNELS TO PUSH THE “ROLL WITH ME” MISSION?
MO: Right now I’ve really kept promotion of the app through social media at a more personal level. I strongly believe that the work you put out is a reflection of who you are as a person. Once I feel confident that the app can fulfill its intended purpose to a high standard I’ll be shifting my focus more toward the app reaching as many people as possible.
3. WHERE DO YOU SEE “ROLL WITH ME” IN THE NEXT 3 YEARS?
MO: In 3 years I see Roll with Me being expanded to serving an international community instead of just the City of Chicago as it currently does. As an avid traveler, I would love to see this happen and am constantly brainstorming possibilities to make this vision a reality. At the end of the day, finding transportation for people with limited mobility can be a nightmare. I want Roll with Me to ease that headache as much as possible so that users can turn their attention to more important things. If in 3 years I am able to reduce that headache by 20%, 30%, 50%, or even more, that would be awesome.
4. HOW DO YOU THINK OTHER DEVELOPERS CAN USE SOCIAL AND OTHER DIGITAL TECH TO CREATE TOOLS THAT MAKE LIFE BETTER FOR PEOPLE?
MO: There is so much being done at the moment which is super cool. From a disabled person’s perspective I’ll sat that it would be really cool to see tech companies and developers working one on one with disabled people to build meaningful software, tech, things of that nature. That way not only are you building cool stuff, but you can also inspire the disabled community to become more active in contributing to society and its improvement. I’ve been able to come across so many people that have so much to give, but I’ve noticed that we are very shy and tend to underestimate our abilities as well as the skills that we have to offer.
5. ARE THERE ANY INDIVIDUALS/ORGANIZATIONS YOU ADMIRE FOR THEIR SOCIAL MEDIA INFLUENCE?
MO: If I had to think of someone off the top of my head it would have to be Cristiano Ronaldo. Any celebrity or organization that uses the celebrity status/massive following to spread awareness of current issues going on. The fact that they are so popular yet still have the time to genuinely spread awareness of an issue is always great to see.
Mohammad Ouyoun will speak at the Social Media and Digital Tech in Service Development panel at SMW Chicago. To learn more about the panel and to purchase your pass, click here. Check back later for more speaker Q&As!
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