MyAppTemplates Founder Talks About Walking The Richard Branson Path And His iPhone App Templates
Tapha Ngum is the sole founder of Tapha Media Ltd. Why is he a startup entrepreneur? He can’t not be. His latest project is MyAppTemplates. For entrepreneurs or developers trying to place an app in the App Store, but lacking either design skills or money to spend on design, MyAppTemplates provides custom designed iPhone app templates for $79. Ngum says of his venture, “We are to iPhone apps what WordPress themes are to blogs.”
Ngum admits readily that he has a lot of work to do, but he has his sights on hitting revenues over $200k by the end of 2012. He’s inspired, hard working, and primed for discovery. KillerStartups managed to keep him still long enough for a look under the microscope at the DNA of a budding, serial entrepreneur.
How did you go about starting your company?
The company started in late 2011 when I decided that I wanted to leave work again and jump back into entrepreneurship. I took a job after my 2nd company (Dummy Limited) failed to show the results I wanted. Though we did have some positive results, it was very hard to monetize our product –Blurb.fm (it made short summaries of non-fiction books and sent them out via email). You can actually still find our archived newsletters here. It had a bunch of very well known subscribers, such as Vinod Khosla (Founder of Sun Microsystems. Who tweeted us — link :)) and Derek Sivers (Founder of CDBaby.com).
After my ambitions for blurb.fm failed to reap enough benefits for me to continue, I taught myself to program and ended up joining a small web development shop near Heathrow Airport, London. I joined as a php developer, but eventually ended up as the marketing manager and had (still have) a small share in the company. We developed a recruitment website.
Though I was happy at the job, I got itchy feet and wanted to be the master of my own destiny again. Having a small share in another person’s company has never been my main ambition. So I decided to start Tapha Media Ltd. I started with a very small budget, less than £2,000. I do most of the development myself, so costs are still pretty low. So far we have attracted a decent amount of business, but I have a lot more work to do if I really want to see this–MyAppTemplates–be the dominant player in the space.
When do your best ideas come to you? In bed in the morning? During dinner? While out jogging?
I tend to get my best ideas while watching Mixergy interviews, or when I’m browsing reddit or hacker news. Exercising doesn’t usually produce a lot of my ideas WHILE I’m doing it. But I do find that I am more creative for some hours after. I have had one or two good ideas in the shower, but never ones that I’ve actually thought were great. The ones in the shower tend to be a bit more airy fairy and harder to act on.
I love Mixergy interviews! Andrew Warner is so great at really getting awesome info from people! Speaking of… We want to know about where you spend your day! What’s on your desk right now?
Right now, there’s a Macbook pro (hugs laptop), which is basically my life . There’s a piece of paper with my goal for the month on it, on the right where I can see it. A TV behind my laptop; I can’t actually see it, but the background noise helps me focus. And there are speakers on each side. Which almost never get used.
I spend my day going through my list of 21 things that I try to do everyday to improve my business and move it forward. It’s the only productivity method I’ve found to work for me. The things I do vary from day to day–they could be blogging, answering email, editing a page on the site or designing a new template. I don’t always meet the 21 things goal, but I find it to be a great number to shoot for as it makes sure that I at least get more than 10 good things done for my business everyday.
Favorite book? Author?
Think And Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill. I know, cliched answer, but that book inspired me and still continues to inspire me to this day. Especially when things aren’t going as well as I’d like, it’s always nice to think back on the message Hill tried to put forward – that if you want something bad enough and don’t give up, you can have it!
Can you share what your latest “WOW” moment was?
My latest Wow moment was probably seeing Richard Branson successfully test his Virgin Galactic spacecraft and actually get it into orbit! I mean, the guy’s starting a frickin’ space travel company! If that’s not WOW, I don’t know what is!
What’s your office environment like?
I work alone, so I like to keep my surroundings quiet. I’m very easily distracted, so an open work environment would be hell for me. That said, music and other distractions that I have control over tend to help me concentrate on the task in front of me a lot better than pure silence.
Who or what inspires YOU? Role models? Quotes? Running? Video games? Snack food?
Donald Trump, Richard Branson and Napoleon Hill. I also love sports, football [soccer if you’re from the US] especially. I get a lot of inspiration from the players who really want to win and push themselves to do above what most people would consider reasonable. Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo would be examples. My favorite inspirational thing would probably be this video:
Web App or site you couldn’t live without and why:
Gmail. I literally live IN it. Email is the life and soul of my business, so I really couldn’t live without it. And gmail makes it pleasant and easy to deal with email.
Mobile App you’re in love with:
I really like tweetbot. It’s just got a design that’s so innovative and unique that I can’t stop using it. The pshh, csss sounds when you swipe the screen–and all the other little details that no other app like it has–makes using it a really enjoyable experience.
Dogs or cats?
iOS or Android?
What would you be doing if you had one year off and $500,000 to spend?
I’d look for the best niche that could be profitably exploited for $50,000, then rinse/repeat until I find one that hits. Having that 9-10x runway would make it A LOT easier. I’d also take 5% of the total cash pool every year for living expenses.
A lot of people have big ideas. What gave you the confidence to buckle down and try to realize yours?
There’s never really been a choice for me. I’ve wanted to be an entrepreneur all my life. So it’s more of an inevitability for me than it might be for other people. I’ve never actually thought of doing anything else.
How do you picture your company in 5 years?
In 5 years, I would hope that our company’s products are each seen as the brand leaders in all the various spaces that they are in. I really admire Richard Branson and how he has managed to branch out into many different industries, and then become a well-known brand name in them. I hope to do the same with Tapha Media. The products needn’t all have the same name though (as Virgin does).
Where can our readers reach you? Facebook? Twitter? Google+? Personal blog? Any other projects you’re working on that we should check out?
I’m always reachable by email at tapha[at]taphamedia.com. Coming in at a close 2nd is my twitter account. I am always blogging daily over at the MyAppTemplates Blog, so commenting there will get right to me!