ABODO Assistant comes to Facebook Messenger

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Screen Shot 2016-04-15 at 3.46.08 PMEver since we launched ABODO Assistant in February, we’ve spent a lot of time discussing conversational commerce, the future of app development and services with integrated messaging and most importantly learning from users messaging with our apartment finding experts.

We didn’t fully understand the impact the messaging experience would have for users when we launched ABODO assistant. We did know renters were frustrated with the current state of apartment hunting, it’s time consuming, stressful, and listings are inaccurate and often not up-to-date. So our empathy for renters made us believe in the potential messaging had to improve the rental search experience and find a home for users in their busy lifestyle.

ABODO Assistant on iOS

As we on-boarded users and started seeing the value messaging created for them, we knew that conversational UI wasn’t going away. We didn’t know what that tipping point would be, so we went back to work refining our technology and streamlining the process for our renters. When we started hearing the rumors about Facebook Messenger bots and A.I. and then Telegram released their bot platform — we knew there was some sort of paradigm shift coming.

Facebook F8 was just around the corner and we assumed they’d announce something related to conversational commerce. But to be honest, we didn’t know what to expect. We didn’t know if Facebook would release their API immediately or if it’d be by private beta only. What we did know is we were going to leverage our existing technology and IP to bring ABODO Assistant to the Facebook Messenger platform as soon as possible. Last week during our tech talk, our CTO Adam Olien declared if Facebook released their API at F8, our current sprint was turning into a hackathon.

So there we were, Tuesday afternoon spinning up conversational UIs and bots on Heroku with Ruby, NodeJS etc. We finished our Facebook Messenger integration in about 72 hours. That’s right, just two days after F8 ended — now we’re currently waiting for (in queue) Facebook to approve our app.

“if Facebook releases their API at F8, our current sprint is turning into a hackathon”

We’ve learned a lot since February (we’re still learning!) and plan on staying on the conversational commerce trajectory. We’re excited that this is a big part of Facebook’s 10 year roadmap, as their commitment aligns with our research and what we’re currently working on. We’re looking forward to the many innovations this platform will create worldwide. Up and to the right for bots and conversational UI! 📈

Moving desks around for our bot hackathon

Oh, and if you think you’d love to be at a company that turns sprints into a hackathons, uses great technology, and writes bots, we’re hiring.

-Louie Penaflor, VP of Engineering