Tywan Wade, a George Washington University freshman, had everything going against him as a fledgling app developer: He’s got no background in computer science, he didn’t know how to code, and Apple rejected him three times! But Wade fought through it all and successfully launched Shortly, a cool new weather app!
Wade, a 19-year-old business and economics major, had big dreams of seeing his digital creation in the Apple App Store. But after contacting more than 100 notable computer science professors, he was slammed with discouraging responses. They either didn’t have the time to help or they told him that he was being too ambitious.
The teachers, according to Wade, also disliked that he was taking a detour from the usual scholarly path of computer programmers. “They felt like I was trying to take shortcuts in life. Several suggested I major in computer programming instead of just starting an app right away,” he told ReadWriteWeb.
Wade wasn’t ready to give up. “It had more to do with defiance than confidence,” he said. “I realized no one’s going to help me except myself, so unless I get the confidence to move forward with my own project, it’s not happening.”
Wade stumbled upon Coding Together, a free computer science course provided by Stanford and offered through the Apple Store. He whizzed through the lectures and materials in just three days! With a good grip on C++ he began working on Shortly, “a simple weather app…that uses an algorithm to answer yes or no questions like, ‘Can I wear shorts today?'” ReadWrite reports.
Unfortunately, Apple rejected Wade’s app three times because they felt that it was “not aesthetically great” — a nice way of saying that Shortly’s design was ugly. Even after being shunned thrice by the mobile giant, Wade never backed down. He even called an Apple app rep to make sure everything was perfect before submitting Shortly one last time.
Apple finally accepted Shortly, a .99 cent app, that has been downloaded 3,000 times in 40 different countries. He plans to use the proceeds from sales to invest back in the app.
The lesson here? Even if 100 esteemed experts and Apple — a multi-billion dollar corporation — tell you “no,” you turn those no’s into fuel for your fire.
“My mom was the strength and motivation after all those rejections,” Wade told MadameNoire. “It’s an honor to be a son to such a phenomenal and powerful black woman like her. She was honestly so independent and strong growing up, so I just learned from her I guess.”
Coincidentally, we recently spoke with Dulé Hill, Talitha Watkins and Rochelle Thwaites — the creators of Nomino, a social game app — about what it takes to get a digital startup off the ground floor. Taken together, these stories provide an interesting overview of the basics for this sort of business.