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A 2 a.m. wake up call

Created by Kauffman Foundation.

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Video transcript

- I'm Calvin Carter. The name of my company is Bottle Rocket Apps. We produce the highest quality apps for the most discriminating brands in the world. We started to day after Steve Jobs opened the platform to third-part developers. I was in bed, two o'clock in the morning, and I was watching Steve Jobs' keynote that was recorded earlier in the day. That's when he released the platform to third parties. It sounds like I made it up, but it's true. I decided right then to wake up as early as I could to get down to Office Depot, buy graph paper and pencils, and start to sketch out apps, and that's what I did. We sketched about 20 apps in a matter of 20 days probably. We didn't have the money to build them all, but we picked the ones that we felt that we could market, and it just kind of became a business. And to this day, all 100 Rocketeers use pencil and paper first to gather their ideas before building it out. We're sketching screens, we're sketching user interfaces, we're sketching the workflow and the movement, transitions, animations, because in that low-fi technique, you can really sit back and see it in your mind's eye but also with your actual eyes. And then you can find small nuances that you can use to improve or to pull back from areas where you might be getting a little bit too deep, and it's much easier to do that in a low-fi way versus doing it in code or doing it in pixels in Photoshop, for example, and having to modify these complex graphic files. So over the years, it's gotten more and more complicated because the platforms and the tools that we have are more and more powerful, and the expectations of users, as well as brands and customers are also much greater. But essentially, it starts with an idea. We call it an app mission statement. When we write out the app mission statement, we essentially are describing an envisioned future, of what this app will achieve, and what utility it will perform and who it will perform it for. And we use that app mission statement as a true north, for constant course corrections throughout the project. Our mission is this. We want to achieve this mission, and there are so many distractions in the creative space, in the technical space, to pull you away from that, and the mission statement centers you back. There are still some things that are timeless, if you would, and that is quality, the user experience, the maker mentality, the ownership mentality that everyone deserves to have in the career that they choose, and those are the areas that I try to focus on, and that's the value I can bring to the organization.