Two young brothers turn their school math lessons into an iPhone app
One of the positive sides of a weak economy and the resultant lack of jobs is the huge increase in people starting their own businesses and following their dreams. One of the interesting ways to do this, can be in the form of your very own Apple App development. We’ve always thought that you need to be a real techy to understand how to build an app and thought that it was beyond our horizon as a result. We were very pleased to read the article below, written by Alexandra Cheney for inc.com. Looks like it’s not just tech guys who get to do this…
Owen Voorhees may seem to be an unlikely tech entrepreneur, because he’s just 11. But for the past nine months, he climbed a mountain of self and parental doubt, overcame unfamiliar programming languages, and pored over college-level computer science textbooks…all to develop his own iPhone application. Last month, his app, MathTime, debuted in the App Store and quickly rose to No. 13 in the paid, educational apps section.
The premise of MathTime is simple: It takes the old-fashioned flash-card “mad minute” drill idea and adds a new-media twist. Players can practice addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division on the phone by quickly solving problems with two taps of the phone: one to show the problem, one to display the answer.
“I thought it would be cool,” says the Hinsdale, Illinois, native. “It’s really cool to make something work, to make a little money, to do something like this and see it up” on the App Store.
After Owen established the basic premise of the game, his 9-year-old brother, Finn, designed the mathematical symbols in Photoshop. Once the design was done, the boys pitched the program to Apple.
“Nothing’s impossible if you don’t know it’s impossible,” says John Voorhees, Owen and Finn’s father, who created an app account and provided a bank account for the boys. “He dug into it all by himself. I didn’t touch a line of code.”
The App Store has more than 35,000 iPhone applications and games available for downloading. “These two kids are unusually young to have done that, but the development environment is so easy, novice programmers with good ideas can now develop something compelling,” says Matt Murphy, a partner at venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. Murphy also manages the iFund, a $100 million fund devoted to investing in start-ups that create apps for the iPhone.
Murphy believes the billion-dollar iPhone industry will keep growing. MathTime, a 99-cent application, was downloaded 141 times in a day. “It started booming,” says Owen, “I woke up, and I was like, ‘I’m an entrepreneur now.’”