Monday, June 10, 2013

Brandon Cowan: entrepreneur, app-inventor and animal lover

Brandon's dog Diesel beside a suspiciously chewed up looking smartphone...
At SAT we like to live in the present, so if you wanted to know what its like to  be a teenage, app-inventing entrepreneur look no further. The best part is that this teenage app-inventing entrepreneur uses his talents to help companion animals. 

Who are you and how did you get here?

I'm Brandon, a 19 year old entrepreneur and developer of 4 top-100 apps. My first big hit was iParkedHere which hit no. 8 on iTunes when I was 17. I got to where I am by knowing and meeting amazing people who have helped me on my journey. Additionally, several key events in my life have turned me into who I am today.

What were those?

My TAFE teacher convincing me to stay in his Software Design and Development class when I only came to it to tell him that I'm quitting; seeing someone inject themself with heroin (I used to hang around the 'wrong crowd' and my life was going downhill from a reasonable person's perspective and this was probably the big turning point in my life. Watching someone destroying their life made me determined to make something great out of mine); My mum suggesting that I speak with a family friend about my app ideas. I ended up co-founding Crazy Dog Apps with him and things went great from there. If the iPhone and App Store was not invented, I wouldn't be where I am today.

You tried to work with five developers before the PetRescue app was born. Why so persistent? 

If you want something bad enough, it will happen. I simply wanted to turn one of my ideas into reality and help re-home Australian pets and there was little that would stop me. I have always been an irrational person and I like to get things done. I would have probably gone through 10 developers if I had to. My thoughts are that I had already put in a lot of time and effort and the next developer could be the right one. Wei Zheng (the developer) was number 5 and he is the amazing guy who did a fantastic job with the PetRescue app.
Brandon's cat and app-making muse Zoe.
Some argue that apps are gimmicks - but PetRescue proves that apps can save lives (by taking pets off death row). How else do you think apps can help the lot of animals?

Many apps are gimmicks and should be removed from the App Store in my 'blunt' opinion... It would be really nice if there was an app like PetRescue but for lost and found dogs. There would need to be a lot of work involved in something like that.

Do you share your life with any animals and do they aid you in your work?

Crazy Dog Apps (my Company) is named after my dog! I share my life (and bed) with Diesel, my dog and Tiger and Zoe, my two cats. Pets are great and I think everyone should have at least one. My PetRescue app is a small step towards encouraging people to own a pet and potentially saving a pet’s life by adopting a perfectly good pet from a shelter.

Tiger, Brandon's other feline companion - proving that even tech-savvy teens are prevented
from typing at least some of the time.
And finally...what is it with cats and keyboards???

I have no idea what compels all cats to walk on, and sit on, keyboards but it is very annoying, haha!

[I wanted to ask Brandon a million other questions, like when does he sleep, what's his idea of work-life balance and can I pitch my awesome app-idea, but   the responsible adult in me felt that he needed to get some sleep.]