COLM O'REGAN: Colm O'Regan considers entering the world of apps

I DON’T know Brian Acton or Jan Koum, the founders of the $19 billion WhatsApp, so their success does not make me resentful — thankfully.

Imagine bumping into them in Lidl while you were getting the cheaper mince and their trolley was stacked high with the ‘’Deluxe’ 21-day-aged steak.

What’s troubling is that as time goes on I’m now older than most of these tech geniuses.

I have just about got over the precocity of footballers. The difference is that these tech-magnates are doing something I once did. I worked ‘in computers’.

Obviously I never had the advantages they had. Jan Koum was self-taught. I was taught by someone else – so it’s clearly their fault. Luckily, Koum is 37 so I have 18 months to make a few billion.

The other problem is that the companies are so new, I can remember quite clearly what I was doing when they were having their eureka moment.

In 2009, Koum bought an early iPhone and started thinking about ‘apps’.

Around the same time I bought a phone too; the Nokia Tis Grand. I was also in tech, but my time was spent wondering why Excel thought NOW WAS A GOOD TIME TO CRASH.

Acton and Koum were not overnight successes. Acton was rejected for a job in both Facebook and Twitter. Koum was a temp for a while at Ernst and Young. They once took a year off to go ultimate frisbeeing – the wasters! I’m thinking now that it might be useful to do a quick inventory of my acquaintances. Is there anyone that I’m sniggering at now who might in about five years’ time be paid $19 billion for their company? Are there any ‘oddballs’ ‘whodoesyermanthinkheises’ or ‘flaky as f*cks’ that are in fact just hibernating the next big idea. If Jesus were alive today he would say, “Treat people right because you don’t know who might be designing an App these days”.

I’m not expecting share options in future for being sound in the present. I just don’t want to hear “Hi Colm, remember you said I would never amount to anything?”

Or I could come up with an smartphone app of my own. I have some ideas. Whisht delivers a small electric shock to your leg to remind you your phone’s still on when you go into a venue where your phone should be ‘on silent’. Whisht would listen out for “IN A WORLD WHERE ...” at the cinema and “Is it the parish priest this week? We’ll be a while so.” at Mass. Blather is an extension to the RTE Player which translates only the key words of what an interviewee says. It automatically leaves out “With all due respect”, “I didn’t interrupt you” and “Irish audiences are the best.” The whole of Prime Time could be reduced to “I don’t know any more than you do but if you hang on till this crowd are gone I’ll make a few phone calls.” The Late Late Show could be summarised as “Just come to the effin gig and I’ll do roughly what I did in the other countries.” Venture capitalists, my door is open.


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