Two hours before we agreed to call, it’s Midas Kwant on the (i)phone. Kwant (14) is an Apple-fetisjist, and as an appdeveloper, probably one of the youngest successful mobile entrepreneurs in The Netherlands. On the phone, Kwant wants to know, if he should prepare anything for the interview, check check double check. His father is bringing him to the Apple store in Amsterdam in a few minutes; he’ll be heading to the Leidseplein to stand in line for more than 16 hours, to be one of the first people in The Netherlands possessing the iPad 3, that is being released this morning. We agree to call two hours later, and we hang up.
Kwant is a remarkable person, already. His Twitter-bio states: “Teen by day. Superhero & App Maker by night. UX/UI & Skiing. I want to work at Apple.” You might think he’s a hobbyist, but Kwant really is in business: the apps he sells (AppWall and PhotoWall) for 0,79 in Apple’s App store have been sold by the thousands, he’s making money and thus he’s a true internet entrepreneur at the age of 14.
Some two hours later, Kwant is in Amsterdam, enjoying the sun, eating a hamburger, waiting in line in front of the Apple Store to get his newest iPad. We’ve seen this consumer hysteria everywhere in the world, and even if a product is already 2 years in stores around the globe, people are waiting for it, for hours. Sometimes, as in Kwant’s case, 18 hours.
So, Midas. What’s it like, being out there? Shouldn’t you be in school, or something? Or building apps? Will you be on television?
Kwant (16.30, March 22): “We are now with six persons in line, I am fourth. Yes, being on national television would be great, I guess my sisters would think it is fun. We are chatting here, these are 100 percent Apple freaks, surrounding me. We feel a bit “looked at”, people who are coming by take pictures and start talking to us.”
Why is Apple for you THE brand. And why do you want to work just there. It appears, that they are not THAT great as an employer, walled as their garden is…
“I like the user experience of Apple so much. When you take a look at the full picture, it’s totally perfect, and that’s what I like most. There’s something inside of Apple, some kind of power. It makes you want to have each new product that is released. It’s not just the design, it’s the combination of excellent software AND design. You just keep on wanting to have Apple stuff. I don’t know what it’s like to work at Apple, but I really would love to experience that myself. The products they make, they are top of the bill, and that leaves me with the impression that the company is top of the bill, too. That’s why I am so heavily attracted to this company.”
What other brands do you like, and why? What exactly makes a brand cool, in your opinion?
I like Vans, it’s a very cool company. I used to be a skateboarder, and I wanted to be one, too, professionally. Vans IS skateboarding, in my opinion. The brand is also founded by Dutchmen, although in the United States, but still.”
What would you advice companies definitely NOT to do?
“The product a company manufactures, must be user friendly and it should make sense. Any product that isn’t userfriendly, I won’t buy it. An example of a product that is absolutely NOT userfriendly, is Google’s Android (operating system for smartphones and tablets, MvdB). I think Android is ugly, and very unuser friendly. Same goes for the developer environment of Android, it’s a total mess.”
So you’d rather not develop for Android, I guess?
“No. It’s a total chaos. Everything in the development environment appears unclear to me.”
That is costing you a lot of money. Android has the biggest share in the mobile operating system landscape at this moment…
My next app will be free of charge. It’s going to be called “Appmemory”, it’s a memorygame about app icons. I don’t need to make money or profit. I am not hunting for a pot of gold, I just want to do cool stuff. I don’t think about a business case or plan, I don’t look on forehand how many money I can make. I do like it a lot that my apps are being used a lot.”
What role do you parents have in you being an entrepreneur?
“My dad is an entrepreneur, too. He really enjoys the fact that I’m running a company. We’re doing practically the same, but I’m into apps, that’s the difference. We look a lot like each other. Also, my grandfather and grandmother really enjoy that I’m an entrepreneur. They call me a lot, they’re really interested in what I’m doing.”
Are you planning to go to college, or will you be fully focussed on the app-business?
“I don’t know yet. I just want to be building a lot of apps. I don’t worry about earning a living with it that much. But… I really would love to go and study at Stanford University in California, and then work at Apple. Maybe it’s not THAT great over there, then I’ll go on building apps and my own business.”
When is the store opening, anyway? What will you be doing in the meantime? And… will you unbox the iPad right away?
“Tomorrow morning at 8AM the store opens. I think I’ll get myself a hamburger every now and then and drink some RedBull, although my parents don’t really like that. We’re going to listen to music, and chill. And yes, when I get my hands on the iPad, I’ll unbox it right away. I’m very curious about the RETINA screen.”
Do you think, that you are more happy than you are now, holding your new iPad 3?
“I think having the iPad 3 in my hands will be a happiness-boost. But no, I don’t think I’ll be more happy tomorrow morning than I am now. The iPad is here, now. So I want it. As soon as possible.”