Spydy Contacts was my first foray into technology at the end of my high school career (2014). As both my parents studied EE and work in technology, I’ve been around it my whole life, but Spydy was my first true hands-on experience.
I had the inspiration for Spydy when I was coordinating a trip with friends to the beach over text messages. There was no easy way on Android to create a group text message; you had to manually type and add in each contact. I then realized that the whole concept of a contact book had not been improved by technology- it was merely a software representation of the traditional alphabetical address book. I had a vision for a reimagined contact book centered around groups and your relationships rather than just an alphabetical text-based list. There would be a graphical interface where you would interact with your contacts in a “web” based on groups so you could easily contact anyone via the best communication channel (text message, LinkedIn, Facebook Messenger, Email, Google Hangouts).
I spent months crafting the UI/UX on pen and paper and then with prototyping software. My high school (Biotechnology H.S.) didn’t offer any CS classes and I had no technical ability at the time to develop the app myself so I began looking for a technical team to work with to develop the application. Through Elance, I interviewed freelancers and found a reputable Indian-based development shop. After months of development the first release was ready! Before launching fully, I did a beta-test with a small group of Android users. An Italian Android Blog picked up on Spydy and wrote about it before any PR effort whatsoever!
I hustled to get a TechCrunch article coordinated with the launch. As most app developers have experienced- there was an enormous surge of downloads (and confidence) after the publication. Because Spydy Contacts is a utility, there was no network effect growth, simply because there is no added benefit to you if your friend has the app. Nonetheless, a Fast Company article and more also brought a surge of downloads.
At it’s peak
As you can see, the audience was global and distributed; I wasn’t expecting this wide of an audience. I learned a ton through taking Spydy Contacts from an idea to market. It also probably helped me get in to Stanford. Hustling press, forming relationships with Angel Investors, managing a development team, and designing a mobile app are things that cannot be learned in a vacuum without hands-on experience.