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Sep 20, 2013

All About Shortly: Behind the Creation of My First App

So… I have some exciting news to announce - my first application, Shortly, is now available for download on the Apple App Store. I’m only 18 and It’s so exciting to announce this because it’s been truly a long journey to creating this app and it seems that people are curious to how I came to the conceptualizing of Shortly. Well, this application is just all about being a teenager. While the first version doesn’t fully represent all that I want the application to be, it’s a start. 

In three days, I self-taught myself basic programming languages (C++, Objective-C, JavaScript) eating nothing but a bag of Lays Potato Chips, Sour Patch Kids (the Watermelon kind) and a couple of bottles of Vitamin Water. I never left the room. I don’t remember using the restroom. My eyelids never shut. I was obsessed with finishing this project.

And three weeks later, I did.

Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t easy. I coded the application through a series of trial and errors and - at one point - I even gave up. I was done. I was done with the headaches from the bright screen and the unanswered emails from computer science professors across the country. But I fought through. Jack Dorsey once said, “It’s really complex to make something really simple.” You see, the application that I was trying to create has never been done before, which was apart of the drive to create this. There are a number of applications that simply tell you a weather forecast, but there are absolutely none dynamic in their approach to telling you what you really want to know - Can I do a certain activity or wear certain clothes? So this is what I wanted and this just fueled my desire to completing the application. And it happened :)

A lot of the application has to do with things that were authentic to myself and my friends. The activities and the colors are all a reflection of some of my favorites and I’m glad to see that it’s some of yours as well. And the frozen yogurt cone (in homage to DC) represents innocence and adventure. My biggest thing in life is to never grow up too fast and live in the moment. I like to remember the days when things were so simple and (it’s full circle because) this app represents all things simple.

So to you, I thank you for the support. I hope this application brings you nothing but happiness. - Tywan x :) Thank you.



Jun 14, 2013 / 2 notes

Being Young, Happy, and Wise: An Entry from an Almost 20-Something

     I don’t know why it is, but it certainly doesn’t seem like a lot of almost 20-somethings are happy. I really can’t even count how many times my friends have told me that they feel so alone when they’re in a crowded room or how waking up sometimes feels like the least energetic part of their day. I mean, I get it more than anybody else. It’s a crazy time in our lives. We come home from college feeling stifled and frustrated only wanting to go back. We’re consistently agonizing over what the future has in store for us, especially with job opportunities. And don’t even mention how the days seems to be getting shorter as we think about the friends who have turned into complete strangers due to misappropriation of time. But the secret to dispelling all of your worries and being properly happy is this; Everything in our life happens for a reason and the sooner you embrace that, the happier you’ll be. It takes a while to really become comfortable with this adage, but it’ll make your days brighter and your life better. Now, saying that everything happens for a reason doesn’t mean camp out in your parents’ basement until you get that royalty check for your bestselling book (that has yet to be written), but it does mean to live the life of your wildest dreams and understand that things happen in divine order. From what I’ve experienced, I believe that we benefit the best, not only when the stars align in our favor, but in the favor of others as well. It’s the most radical approach to thinking about our lives because it’s the most selfless. But when you begin to think like this, all that stress and unhappiness will dwindle down and you’ll soon be smiling and laughing like never before. Life is honestly too short to be sweating the small stuff. I don’t know how many times in high school I stressed about people who didn’t want to be my friends or how my parents wouldn’t let me go to that rock concert that everyone else was going to. Well, let me tell you, today I don’t even remember the names of those “cool kids” and I’m old enough now to see the artists that I missed out on when I was younger (albeit better and more established because of the artists’ years of experience). Life is just a fantastic journey and it all happens the best when you surround yourself with great people and even better thoughts.

Live to learn. Learn to live.

- Tywan

Jun 14, 2013 / 4 notes

Seven Things at 18: Thoughts, Life-Lessons, and the Secret to Happiness!

1. Friendships take time. – Before coming to college, I certainly wasn’t under the pretense that making friends was going to be easy (especially since I don’t party), but what I didn’t realize was how hard it was going to be to find the ones who were really going to be consistent in their behavior and stick around. While it seems to be that everyone is seeking for new friendships, it’s important to know your self-worth and identify with the people who make you a better person. That doesn’t necessarily mean disregard those who aren’t, but it just means to not be so quick to label. Once you give someone the label of ‘friend’, you give them power in your life. But, when that day comes that something goes awry in the friendship, you may find yourself saying the usual, “But I thought you were my friend.” It takes a crazy amount of time to make friends in the real world. This isn’t like high school where you see the same strangers, in the same class, at the same hour, of everyday and then they become less of strangers and more of friends. This is a time for you to figure out who you are and then apply that identity to other people. Listen to the signs (as small and quiet as they may be) that tell you if someone is not going to be a friend for you. We live in a time where everyone thinks that we should have hundreds of friends, when in reality after every stage in our life, we’re only left with a couple (and we pray that they’re the same ones as before).

2. You are lucky to have someone in your life that cares about you. – Although my roommate and I weren’t necessarily friends during my freshman year of college, we were instantly very friendly to one another and cared about one another’s well-being. This is an anomaly in the real world and the lesson is to embrace this when it happens. Unless you go to school back home, expect to be alone for a couple of weeks until you find someone else who’s alone to (lol). Now alone doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re a recluse or a loser. It happens to everyone else. Just beware of the people who say they care for you, but don’t necessarily show that they do. The old adage, “Actions speak louder than words” applies here more than ever.

3. Your parents are always your best friends at the end of the day. – Although I have great parents, we never grew to be as close as we are now. My mom seemed to be like my interactive daily diary in my first-year of college as we exchanged stories and lessons to one another. Now, the calls happen less frequent as the years go on, but it’s important to have your parents as involved in your life as possible. For the most part, they’re going to be the only thing that’s consistent in your life. You don’t see it now – But your relationships with your parents will be so incredibly awesome as life goes. You can’t go through it without them. You’re just not big enough to live it alone!

4. The world is a really big place. – You get dumped and agonize over the fact that you’re going to have to see that person again every day – that thought, ladies and gentlemen, is so ‘high school’. In the real world, when something like that happens, you usually never see the person again (or for long enough where you don’t care about what they did anymore). It’s kind of a funny or beautiful thing. So, brush it off and wake up every day happy and inspired by the new opportunities that await.

5. When people tell you who they are, believe them. – Okay, this is really a quote by poet Maya Angelou, but it’s definitely one of my favorites for life. I don’t know how many times I’ve heard stories from people said that people told them through actions or literally that they didn’t really care about me, were liars, stole things, were unreliable, were users, or unfortunately, all of the above. One of the greatest lessons in life is looking for those signs and noticing them early on. It doesn’t mean to completely remove the person from your life (*cough* never delete phone numbers because you’ll regret it), but just be cautious of the trouble that may come. Trust me; this quote will serve you well in college and every facet of life.

6. Staying true to yourself is the best advice anyone can ever give you. – College is a place where it seems like everyone is trying to fit in. It’s less worse than high school, but you find yourself seeing a group of people as the same person. While this may be a bit judgmental, this lesson isn’t about what others are doing, but about what you MUST do. It’s something that you’re going to have to learn by yourself, but when you’re miles away and you feel like there’s no one to trust, always remember to be true to yourself. Know your morals and don’t change them just because you want to be in someone’s life for a couple of weeks. Because that first time turns into the twenty-fifth time and then you wake up one morning not knowing who you’re looking at in the mirror. Just be good to people and yourself, and everything will work itself out at the end of the day.

7. Every. Single. Thing. works out at the end of the day. – Don’t worry so much. Life’s going to be great no matter what happens. You have to realize that everything happens in order with a purpose. Just work hard and know that everything’s going to be great at the end of the day.