Oter: Revolutionizing Personal Growth with Microbooks

CXOToday has engaged in an exclusive interview with Mr. Gaurav Khanna, the Founder of Oter

  1. What is the inspiration behind developing the app? How does it differentiate it from other self-improvement platforms?

We believe that every book wants to teach you something. And with Oter we bring those teachings, that wisdom to users around the world in the most intuitive format. What led me to the idea and purpose of Oter is the potential of books and my personal experience in the product and app domain.

Hailing from a modest background, capital was always a problem for me. But software opened a new door – to realise that you can build anything anywhere and reach your users thousands of miles away was truly eye-opening and exciting.  I remember how amazing it felt when my first app made its first $1000. The joy and satisfaction you get watching people use your products are unparalleled. I remember a user of the GoodApp (one of my old apps)  wrote to me about how the product saved her life and that encouraged me even more to create impactful products for people. As they say, when you enjoy work, it does not seem like work.

Oter is not just an e-reader and it is so much more than a short-summary app. With Oter, we bring users the expert information, wisdom and insights of authors from around the world, across various areas of interest and expertise in an accessible, easily readable format – this is something no other app is doing at the moment, and makes Oter the first and ONLY Microbook platform – this is a content format we have created and want to build awareness and stickiness for. With Oter, we are building a product that brings people ideas, motivation and a learning structure – all they have to do is commit about 15 minutes a day to their personal growth.

  1. Describe the challenges faced during the development stage of the app?

I think our key challenge from the start was hiring the right team. We have worked with and work with people across geographies – Canada, the UK, the Netherlands, India and Bangladesh. Creating harmony for useful collaboration amongst people in different locations was something we managed by ensuring we used a very lean stack of tools. Last year, we finally met at a team offsite in India and I believe that helped the team understand each other even better and that has helped a great deal as well.

3. How is personalization considered for each user?

We have so many books and so much content, and right from the start – we begin by asking our users questions to help us understand what they are most interested in reading. The more books they unlock and read, the more we personalise their experience on the app. The Explore section on our app is the ideal place to find books similar to the ones a user adds to their library – and Oter is the only product in the category right now where the Explore section, what we showcase to a user is personalised in terms of book recommendations. Users can also explore books by topic on the app – and that too helps us further personalise their feed.

4. Does Oter ensure inclusivity and accessibility for users from diverse cultural backgrounds and regions?

We are developing features and elements that ensure Oter is accessible to as many people as possible. We constantly experiment to make the app even more intuitive and easy to use and are building accessibility features that work across a spectrum of abilities. Oter is infinitely scalable, we do not censure content ensuring no voices are drowned out. However, the app in its current form works with content in English- but as mentioned, we are experimenting with modules, features and tools to reach even more people without essentially changing what the product stands for.

5. How does Oter ensure a good user experience? Could you elaborate on tactics Oter undertakes?

All the content on Oter is curated and presented in an intuitive format to help users find the value they are looking for easily and with minimum steps and distractions. We have put together structured curriculums to help accelerate the learning process and to help users track their growth and progress.

On first joining Oter, users are encouraged to choose a goal from our list of 10+ goals that we identified as the core to begin with (we are constantly building new modules as well) after much user engagement and interviews. Each of these goals is made up of challenges where we have curated with Microbooks best aligned to a user’s goals.

We have built-in gamification and engagement in terms of providing credits for joining in and for inviting their friends to Oter by using referral codes, a streak that can be maintained by being consistent, badges won for completing challenges and other events that showcase a user’s discipline towards their goals, and certificates that can be shared socially.

6. How does Oter adapt to the dynamics of reading habits globally?

Oter caters to the universal need for knowledge. We quench curiosity, we bring must-read book highlights to users who do not essentially have the time and inclination to read books. Oter is not a book replacement app, it is a reading assistant, a partner in a user’s growth journey. In terms of adapting to the dynamics of reading habits globally, the Microbook format essentially fits into the empty pockets of time for users, helping them learn from books on the go, without having to build, alter or change their reading habits.