When Jonathan Caras and his co-founders created Glide in 2013, he expected it would appeal to families and friends that wanted to communicate via video, but didn’t want to bother with syncing schedules for Skype calls.
“I wanted to create a way to quickly send a short video,” Caras tells Quartz. “It seemed like me and the rest of the world were just not interested in getting on a call.”
Caras and his co-founders envisioned Glide to be like WhatsApp but for video messages, where users send short clips of themselves. But once Glide hit the app stores, and accumulated 10 million users worldwide, the team realized they had accidentally created something quite different—a hit among America’s hearing impaired.
The Jerusalem-based team first realized their app was popular among the deaf in August 2014, when it was about a year old. Their most-requested new feature was unusually mundane—subtitles for their marketing materials. After probing…