Top App Developers

Wang and Smule have turned app development into an art form with hits like Ocarina, Magic Piano, and Glee Karaoke.

December 21, 2010

Wang and Smule have turned app development into an art form with hits like Ocarina, Magic Piano, and Glee Karaoke.

Ge wang
Smule, Palo Alto, California

Top App Developers

There is nothing against iFart, FarmVille or thousands of any other popular games currently offered as iPhone, Android and Facebook apps. But let’s be honest: most of these apps are dumb.

Otherwise we have a problem with pointless apps. We respect everyone who can make money by selling ping sounds or virtual cabbage. But we want more value from the $ 3 billion gaming industry. We want to see smart, complex applications that are somewhat tricky. We want apps that can do more than make us bored.

This is why we love Ge Wang and Smule. The company’s revenues have tripled this year to US $ 4.5 million, thanks to its founders’ adoption of a seemingly dumb idea – a virtual lighter. This app creates any T-Pain rap sound – and makes them sing.

Wang, 33, never set out to become an entrepreneur. In 2008, he formed his own company, Smule, and before that he was a regular aspiring Stanford professor of music, showing himself as the creator of the first orchestra in which only mobile phones were used as instruments. Then he received an e-mail from one of his graduate students, Jeff Smith, who started his company before entering the academy. “I looked at Ge and said, ‘This guy is going to change the music,” says Smith, who is currently CEO of Smule’s. “If I’m going to take another whack at the company, I want to do it with this guy. “.

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Wang was skeptical, but agreed to create a test product Sonic lighter, 99-cent iPhone. You hear what I hear: understanding the goals of mobile search? an application that displays a flickering flame. Similar apps already existed, however, the distinguishing feature of this app was that Wang allowed users to summon a map showing any other Sonic lighter in use in the world. It was a diversion, yes, but it was even romantic to some extent. Wang turned his impromptu rock concert into something that global users could logically connect.

Within a few weeks, Sonic lighter became # 26 in the Apple App Store. Two months after that, Wang completed the Ocarina app, which turns an iPhone into a flute. This app is one of the best-selling apps of all time (3 million downloads) and has inspired users to post thousands of songs created on Smule’s site.

Smule employs 25 people and continues to release their apps at a frantic pace. The company’s latest hits are Magic Piano, which is an iPad app that lets you play classical music, and fun karaoke (Glee Karaoke), which lets users sing along with strangers from all over the world. “We want to create apps that make people feel less constrained, less inhibited,” says Wang. “Each app is creative in its own way. We think we just need to push them.”

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