Apple Inc. approves Nashville techies' iPhone game
By Milt Capps Updated 12:42 p.m. June 9, 2009
Nashvillian Nicholas Holland believes that, at age 30, with a new baby at home and his business thriving, it's time to take some freshly calculated risks.
Thus, this week, roughly nine months after the project was conceived, Holland and fellow tech entrepreneur Jackson Miller, 31, proudly announced their gpsAssassin game has earned coveted Apple Inc. approval for iPhone users.
The geolocation-based product's initial release has been downloaded by more than 600 users in the past few days, Holland said, despite a $4.95 charge that will soon, according to plan, give way to a refined version that will be offered without charge. A quick move to the "free" basic services will, say the owners, build the user base and, in turn, accelerate growth of the gpsAssassin audience for paying advertisers and others.
gpsAssassin is the first of a series of new products and services Holland and Jackson intend to spawn through their new company, SideHobby LLC.
Holland, whose five-year-old CentreSource interactive marketing agency did $1.8 million in business last year, said SideHobby has put about $10,000 into gpsAssassin, mainly to pay a California-based software developer.
In a series of interviews, Holland acknowledged the odds of a SideHobby creation becoming the next Google are slim. Still, he said, he believes only such an initiative is likely to produce the "big win" that most observers believe Nashville needs in the digital sector, to firmly establish the city's place in the tech world.
Holland also emphasized the online game market is spawning real success stories, including San Francisco-based Zynga, the powerhouse in social gaming that has gained VC investment from Kleiner Perkins Caulfield & Byers, and others.
Perhaps equally important, Holland notes that his involvement in such undertakings heightens awareness of the brands and credibility of both CentreSource, which now has 22 fulltimers, and its sole owner, Nick Holland.
Holland said that although the gpsAssassin project took about eight months longer to reach fruition than he imagined it would, "it's been a fantastic learning experience, it's been a fantastic credibility-building experience and it's been a heckuva lot of fun."
SideHobby's first offering now joins a field of thousands of applications in the iPhone App Store vying for user adoption and spending.
Both were also among those who shared authorship of last October's first Nashville Startup Weekend, where the gpsAssassin concept first sprang to life, during a weekend of volunteer collaboration among tech-sector professionals. A second Startup Weekend is tentatively slated for this fall.
SideHobby plans a gpsAssassin launch party June 16, at CentreSource offices, 1313 4th Ave. North(37208). ♦