Saturday, February 7, 2015

Meet Paul Etienne of 1Branch

Paul Etienne is the founder and project manager of 1Branch. His background includes graphic design and web and mobile development, and he has published games in iOS and Android in the past. Paul is a Christian looking for his true purpose, but he found he was sometimes afraid to ask questions of members of his church because he's been going to church for so long, so in 1Branch he has created a platform where people can feel free to express themselves and to find their true purpose.

1. Could you tell us a little more about some of the features you wanted to include when you came up with the idea for 1Branch--and also, how did you choose the name?

I wanted to include: a church suggestion feature that would send you notifications about suggestions for churches to attend based on reviews whenever you go to a new town or city. I came up with the name from John 15:5, in which Jesus said, "I am the Vine. You are the branches." 1Branch means each of us is 1 branch from Jesus' vine.

2. Is going to a website on a computer the only way to access or sign up for 1Branch?

No, right now we know everyone is always busy and always on the go, so there is a very responsive version of 1Branch for all mobile phones. Also, the official 1Branch app is available in the Apple app store, and in Google Play by just typing "1Branch" in your app store's search bar.

3. How have you been reaching out so far to tell people about 1Branch?

So far, we have used press releases to let the press know about 1Branch, and we use social media a lot to get the word out. Social media is now the new "word of mouth," and it is very powerful, so when people see something they like, they share it on social media with their friends.

4. The impression I got from checking out the site is that the main idea is that it's a place for conversations and mutual support. How would you describe your goals in building it--and where do you hope to see it go over the next year?

The spirit of 1Branch is to embrace the totality of the religious experience; I want to enable people to talk about issues that really matter to them, even if they are considered off-limits. When a user signs up, that user is asked to enter a denomination. This is the "Branching" section of the network. Branching offers two streams: "Dirty Laundry" and "General," and those streams are specific to the chosen denomination.

Dirty Laundry allows users to post freely and anonymously about things they don't like or don't understand, or things that confuse them, and even about secrets a denomination may have. Anyone (within the denomination branch) can comment on the posts to bring answers and clarification. The idea is to connect people who know the truth to people who are seeking the truth, so I hope that a lot of people contribute to the overall experience of 1Branch. I hope to hear people talk about how they have found the truth through 1Branch.

5. Based on your own experience, what's your advice to other people who want to develop their own apps?

If you have a good and unique idea, then go for it. Reach out to people who have done it before, and ask for advice if there are things that you do not know how to do. There are a lot of resources out there for people who are willing to learn. "Ask and it will be given to you." Matthew 7:7

Thanks, Paul!

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