Mathis has set his sights on the most-used word in the English language, and already in this story I’ve used it three times. It’s the definite article, the word “the”. Make that six.
“The word ‘and’ is only the fifth-most used word in English and it has its own symbol – the ampersand,” says Mathis. “Isn’t it time we accorded the same respect to ‘the’?”
The issue isn’t just academic for Mathis. It’s about efficiency.
“The main functionality of this is in the texting space,” he says. Typing the symbol he has devised with a single keystroke will save time and – crucially, in the context of Twitter – two characters.
It may seem a strange digression for a man whose cafe-cum-restaurant empire encompasses 10 businesses, but he’s serious enough about it that he has invested plenty of time and about $75,000 of his own money in it so far.
This guy doesn’t have a clue about efficiency, having spent $75,000 scrunching two letters together to make a ‘new’ symbol. By the way, Mathis also wasted resources developing an app for iOS that would never get past app approval, as it interfered with the iOS keyboard.