Glen and Ken Aspeslagh are the cofounders of Ecamm which offers products such as call recorder, iglasses, printopia and many more. Over the past 12 years they have sold hundreds of thousands of software and hardware products and have been honored as Best in Show at Macworld
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What will you learn in this interview?
>How did they transition from full time jobs to going out on their own?
>How did they come up with their business ideas and know it was worth it to pursue ?
>What was it like early on when they were trying to get their first customers?
> What were some of the challenges on their entrepreneurial journey?
Glen did midnight puppet shows in the freshman dorms with his twin brother Ken as an outlet for their creativity.
They have been honored as Best in Show at Macworld and most of their apps have been featured in Macworld magazine.
Business Mentors, Tools, Books mentioned:
Ecamm call recorder
A little background about Glen and Ken Aspeslagh:
Glen and Ken Aspeslagh are twin brothers from Massachusetts that hatched Ecamm in the late nineties with a simple goal of building apps to solve problems. Their strategy: If an app is useful, well designed and properly maintained, it will sell itself, without the need for clever advertising and glitzy marketing.
Ecamm is a leading provider of Mac software. They make PhoneView, Call Recorder for Skype, Printopia and iGlasses for Mac.
Glen Aspeslagh is co-founder of Ecamm Network. He sold his first app, a Palm OS app for astronomers to calculate the position of the stars, while at Wheaton. It cost $8!
He put it up on PilotGear.com, which was kind of like an App Store for Palm Pilots. They kept 20% of the revenue and mailed the rest to developers. Well, the next day, he had $6.40 in the account!
I guess that could be considered Ecamm’s first software sale.
Early on they did a bunch of Palm Pilot apps. The most popular was TrekSounds, which added Star Trek sound effects to the Palm Pilot. It was the world’s biggest hack, but people loved it. We sold that for years.
Another was a utility that let you send things to other devices using infrared beaming. The operating system severely limited what could be beamed, and BeamPRO solved that problem. Another utility, “Nutshell” let you create self-expanding installers for Palm OS. It solved a lot of issues with Palm Pilot app installation, and became the de facto way of creating installers. Palm, the company, started using it to distribute software and patches.
They did a ton of business through Pilotgear and other stores, but eventually set up our own store, that let them process credit cards with no middle man. Definitely one of the best things we ever did, and we still use this system 10 years later
Meanwhile, Ken was writing his first Mac app sales was an add-on called iChatter. It did one simple thing, it added text-to-speech capability to iChat. It was neat, if you got a message while you were on the other side of the dorm room, you could listen to it as it came in.
This was when we realized there was a great market opportunity for Mac add-ons.
It was a moderate success, but nothing like the next one: iChatUSBCam. Quite simply it was “the software that makes our website work with iChat.” THat’s a great example of a product that solved a simple problem, elegantly, and affordably. People didn’t have to go out and get a new webcam, just to use iChat. They’d just give us $10 instead. This was so much demand that at one point it was actually being bundled with webcams.
Then, iGlasses. Which made the Apple iSight camera not look terrible.
Conference Recorder and Call Recorder
PhoneView started out as iPhoneDrive in 2007, at the very beginning of the iPhone. We designed and wrote it over a weekend, and expected it to be so successful, (hence the name, which we have to change to comply with Apple’s copyright on the name iPhone) It’s now one of our more popular apps.
Printopia was a successful collaboration with a fellow computer programmer. Actually, Chris was the same friend who we sold rocks with 20 years earlier.
After receiving a degree in computer science from Wheaton College, Ken worked writing code for Avid Technology, and in 2002, co-founded software company Ecamm Network.
Inspired by his experience working with Bruce McBrien and Amesbury Elementary School’s Tech Helpers, Ken conceived of Code & Circuit as a way to give back to the community, and inspire a new generation of computer scientists and careers in programming.
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