Jon Lund — App Developer Extraordinaire
The life and times of Jon Lund follow an all-too-common path: He picked up an interest in programming as an engineering undergraduate, taught himself how to build IOS apps in his spare time, was one of the first people to release a third-party app for iPhones, waited in a line overnight for the release of the iPhone 3GS, created a string of successful apps (everything from a GPS to a slow-motion camera), and found time to earn an MS/MBA dual degree all while participating heavily in volunteering for his church and raising six children. Pretty standard.
Blatant sarcasm aside, Jon is a model of successful app entrepreneurship in a world where everyone and their C++-fluent dogs have a million dollar idea for “the next big app” (okay, maybe a little sarcasm not quite aside yet).
I was lucky enough to spend a little over an hour picking Jon’s brain about business, life, and the world of app development.
Most of Jon’s app ideas came from extremely practical sources. He was frustrated with how disorderly recordkeeping was for soccer moms/dads, so he programmed an app that greatly simplified the process. He wanted to stream videos differently depending on connection speeds, so he created an app that allowed him to stream movies from his home computer to his iPhone at three different bandwidth levels.
As much fun and convenience that apps created for Jon in those early days, it wasn’t till the release of “SloPro” that Jon realized app programming could become an actual career.
Almost by accident, [we] came across an unexploited functionality in the new iPhone 4S that allowed the camera to actually record twice as many frames per second (fps) as the Apple software on the phone allowed. …[I] realized that an app [with this] functionality would be very interesting to a community of users that were adopting their iPhones as their principle video capture device. And, many users in that community were also outdoor enthusiasts — it seemed like a perfect fit.
Working closely with a team of developers in his hometown of Provo, Utah, Jon and the gang developed an app centered around this high-fps functionality and called it SloPro. At the end of its first day in the App Store, SloPro had already generated $4,600 in revenue — and that’s after Apple’s 30% cut of profits.
One of the big things that stood out to me about Jon is his enthusiasm for building apps. There is no question in my mind that that man loves what he does! But it’s more than just joy or pride in his work; his enthusiasm stems from a deep need to try the untested and explore the unacknowledged. I believe that this drive is one of the key factors that make Jon an app-developing rock star.
A piece of advice Jon that had for me was about teamwork. “You wont get very far without the help of others, so make sure you surround yourself with good people,” said Jon. He continued by explaining the importance of really getting to know individuals before you start something big together. He also emphasized the need to make expectations clear early on, so as to avoid misunderstandings and contention.
Another big tip Jon had for me was to learn by doing. If you are interested in mastering something, just jump in and try it! There is no amount of education that will replace meaningful time spent “in the trenches” with a particular interest, skill, or field.
I had a great time learning about the adventures of Jon Lund, and this short blog article is only the beginning! Jon’s most recent endeavors include a synchronized-flash app to be used by fans at major sporting events and an “Escape House” where participants have to work together to escape from a mysterious home by finding clues and solving puzzles. All in an average day’s work when you’re Jon Lund!
Check out SloPro
Connect with Jon on LinkedIn
Sources: Mullarkey, Matthew, Johnathan Lund, and Grandon Gill. To Grow or Not to Grow, That is SloPro. Vol. 3. Santa Rosa, CA: Journal of Information Technology Education, 2014.