Yes, There's an App for That
Business student develops application for iPhone
Not many teenagers receive royalty checks from Apple, but Chris Stathopoulos learned at an early age where an idea and initiative can lead.
Chris is a Hall Scholar and double major (business administration and Applied Critical Thought and Inquiry) who also happens to be an American history buff. While in high school in Mentor, Ohio, a suburb of Cleveland, Chris was using an iPhone application on U.S. Presidents but couldn't find one for the Vice Presidents. He contacted the developer, then based in Lenexa, Kan., who offered to write the code if Chris would develop the content. A business partnership was born.
Chris spent several months of his senior year gathering detailed biographies, trivia and other fun facts about "the men that history forgot." In February 2010, he and Paul Dardeau released version 1.0 of Vice Presidents under the name SwampBits on Apple's iTunes App Store.
It's no business secret that marketability increases when products are improved and updated. Chris recognizes the challenge of expanding a niche product and finding something new about history. "This is where I thought my developing career would end," Chris said, "then Paul asked me to help overhaul the Presidents' app." A month later they released an update on iTunes, and Chris continued strategizing on ways to broaden the appeal of their apps. His next idea – combining the Presidents and Vice presidents apps for the iPad – should be available this summer. He's now considering creating an interactive component that would enable users to debate historical topics as well as rewriting Presidents in Spanish to appeal to a broader range of customers.
"I love the entrepreneurial spirit. That comes naturally for me," Chris said. "To innovate and find something new is very rewarding and a lot of fun." In February 2011 during the week of President's Day, SwampBits' app was a featured "staff favorite" on the iTunes App Store front page. "We saw a huge spike in sales, so we are excited for the possibilities of a new app and an election season gearing up later this year."