Hey! I made it to 25 years old! But due to the facebook-ification of birthdays you most likely already knew that. Not too surprisingly, mainly because 25 years divides nicely into 100, this is an optimal time to write a blog post reflecting on the past and then talk about where I’m going into the future. This is also a great time to take advantage of, as it’s really one of the few times that I can blog about myself without sounding like a complete narcissist.
Looking at the past 25 years in this state of reflection I like to think of this period of my life as the period primarily filled with learning. I progressed from knowing absolutely nothing to leveling up and deciding which skill trees I want to develop in life. I finally feel like I’m at the point where I have a clear vision of what I need to do in my life and I have the relevant skills to achieve this.
Looking at my last blog post reviewing my 23rd year of life, I was beginning to shape my professional career focus, which is unconventional by all means. I took a huge paycut to come back to MSU to consult entrepreneurs in the student entrepreneurship center, the Blackstone Launchpad. I considered this move a huge growth move and frequently referred to this as “Fake Grad School”, with the thinking that helping and coaching entrepreneurs allows me to strengthen my entrepreneurship muscle way more than any classroom could. I would consult part time, and then go home and focus on my own pursuits and ventures. These activities taught me exactly what isn’t taught well in classrooms, how to build meaningful products that have not been built yet.
It was over these night and weekend sprints that I truly found my passion in building apps and software. I started developing apps four years ago when I was studying film in college and knew very little about developing apps or writing code. Thousands of hours of trial and error later, I now am relatively proficient and knowledgeable in the intricacies of app development, despite my code never really meeting conventional software engineer standards. I’ve always liked to think that I’ve only learned programming because of strong motivation to realize my app ideas rather than having an interest in the the art form that is computer science. As a result I spend little effort making my code elegant and instead, hack my way to realize my ideas to get my products into customers hands as fast as possible.
Over time the scope of my project have changed. At first, I focused on simple projects that I could make progress with, and in some cases even ship apps in under 48 hours. This fast app iteration process has allowed me to publish over 20 apps and rapidly gain a firm grasp of what it takes to see success in the app world. While most apps I published were commercially unsuccessful, there have been a couple successes in the mix. Unfortunately, I do not attribute this to making really great apps that people love, but more to the quantity over quality approach. This is where I carefully select keywords so people mainly download my app because they are able to find it at the top of the app store search results when they searched for these specific keywords. While this method allowed me to gain a lot of traction and actually see over a million downloads, the users were not a very engaged audience with low percentages of daily active plays. Despite these bad metrics, this approach helped me scope out what it takes in the app world and I do not regret it.
For the past year, I have been in a state of transition. Instead of building shitty apps really quickly, I’m now dedicating far more time building much bigger apps that people will hopefully end up loving and sharing. While this is far riskier than the shoot from the hip shotgun approach, it has a far greater upside, allowing my apps to be something people actually use constantly instead of forgetting them after one day.
So what does this mean? Well for the past 9 months I’ve been working with my business partner, Nes Croft using teamwork to make the dream work. building bigger apps that are useful. We have been spending the time forming a new startup, Vaytricks. Vaytricks’ Mission is simple; build free universal apps that let people edit, modify and create media (Audio, Video, Images and 3d models). While companies such as Adobe do this to some degree, shipping their content creation apps to select mobile and pc/mac platforms, Vaytricks goal is to build the same creation apps for every platform available. So, instead of shipping a professional app for pc/mac and a dumbed down app for mobile, we are making the same unified experience on mobile and pc while also supporting the latest game consoles, virtual reality and augmented reality devices available. Users will be able to edit and create music or video on their mobile phones, and then they can save their project and open and continue editing on computers or VR headsets. The only thing that will change are the input methods that devices use. The technology world is getting more fragmented by the day and Vaytricks is going to be there to provide a through line, allowing smart creatives to make content on every device they own, anywhere, for free.
So where are we now? Recently, we launched beta on our first audio product the Beat Machine on the android store, which we are porting to IOS, PC, Mac, and VR/AR Systems. Concurrently we are wrapping up and preparing to ship our first Flagship product, the Virtual Audio Workstation, which provides a unified music making DAW experience for every platform. Transitioning into the Summer, we will be working on realizing the potential of the Virtual Audio Workstation, incorporating and tweaking samplers, sequencers, instruments and a timeline editing to deliver and easy to use, powerful Audio creation experience. Once that is wrapped up, we will transition into making a compelling video editor and work towards photo and 3d model editing apps. There will be more details in the coming week with a Blog post on the Vaytricks website. For now check out more at www.vaytricks.com
This company is quickly consuming my life and I am excited to work hard on realizing the potential. The whole idea is that the last 25 years were spent learning and the next 25 years are going to be spent shaping and impacting the world through software. I am really excited for the next steps! Thanks for being apart of the last 25 years!
If you have an Android phone, check out the Beat Machine app here (ios coming soon) https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.Vaytricks.BeatMachine&hl=en