Names: Sofia and Isabella Mandich
Job Titles and Descriptions: Co-creators of Synchronicity
Years in school: Sophomore high-school students
What does your current job entail? Is there such a thing as a typical day?
SM: We are both in tenth grade in a French academic program, so school is our first priority. We also play tennis on our high school team and love spending our free time coming up with new features for our apps or discussing ideas for brand new apps as our interests grow and our knowledge expands. Therefore, a typical day for us would be to go to school, finish our homework, on certain days practice tennis or play matches during the season, and have discussions with each other about changes we’re making to our current apps as well as new app ideas.
IM: Our current job (besides being a high school student, of course) is to work on our apps, meaning making any decisions related to our current projects that involve changes to features based on research or user feedback, brainstorming new marketing ideas or coming up with new ideas to keep our apps growing and relevant.
What is the best part of your job?
SM: My favorite part about creating apps is that the iOS platform lets me express my personal interests in a creative way and share them with other people. In addition, it is a great feeling to see people interested in a product you came up with and helped develop.
IM: The best part is knowing that you are creating something that people will use and hopefully enjoy or find useful.
How did you come up with the idea for your app, Synchronicity?
SM: We came up with Synchronicity while searching for songs on our cousin’s phone. We realized that it is inefficient to take someone’s phone and scroll through all of their songs to find one that you might like and eventually download on your own phone. We wanted to create a way to compare music quickly and efficiently but also make it interesting, which is why we came up with the Synchronicity index that shows you how compatible you are with your friends in music.
IM: We never thought that music suggestions by strangers were accurate at all, so instead we would always look through each other’s phones to find new music. We realized that the most effective and interesting way to discover new music is through your friends, and that is how Synchronicity came to be.
What words of wisdom do you find most valuable?
SM: I was once listening to a talk given by a parent, a successful entrepreneur, at our school, and the one thing he said that resonated with me the most was that success isn’t having the best job or most money, but if you are happy and enjoy what you do, you have succeeded.
IM: Whenever I find myself in a challenging situation, I think of my dad’s story. He moved to New York from Montenegro speaking no English when he was 16. He did great in college because he worked extra hard in science and math, but also was able to get on a tennis team. His story is inspiring because he had to overcome quite a few obstacles to integrate into a new society successfully, so this always gives me perspective on any difficult situations I have to deal with. I always have hope that if I apply myself, I will most likely succeed in what I have started.
What is one mistake you made along the way and what did you learn from it?
SM: One mistake that we made was that for the first app we created, we wanted to wait for the app to be absolutely perfect before releasing it. Since then, we learned that it is more important to release a good app that you can then improve with new features and new updates based on comments from your users.
IM: We always made sure that our apps are great products but didn’t always develop marketing plans – we are still learning how to do this. We definitely learned how much marketing matters when you are trying to get your new product noticed. This applies to any product, not only apps.
What has been the most surreal moment of your career thus far?
SM: The most surreal moments I have had while working on apps were both times we got accepted to attend Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference as student scholars in 2015 and 2016. I feel that attending the conferences was a great learning experience, and it was a wonderful way to meet many people that share our interests and passion for bringing technology to good use. It gave us confidence that as girls, we can make it in a world of technology still mostly dominated by men.
IM: The most surreal moment for me was when Synchronicity got featured in the App Store. It helped me realize the progress we have made throughout the years of learning, and that it is definitely a career worth pursuing.
What advice would you give to a 20-something with similar aspirations?
SM: I would tell them not to be afraid to ask for help. In my opinion, the best way to start developing apps is to do it with friends or family who may be interested in different aspects of app development. A lot of the time, you can find the help that you need among the people you know. I am sure this can be applied to anything that you would like to start while you are in college.
IM: I would tell this person not to be discouraged by such gigantic competition where it may seem like it’s not even a career worth pursuing. I never let the tough competition get in the way because I firmly believe that if you are passionate about something and work diligently on it, you will do well and find creative ways to make it a success. And then, of course, the longer you stick with it, the more lessons you learn, the better your app or any product gets.