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December 25, 2012
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Breckenridge tech wiz makes apps with altitude

You've done it - hiked your first 14,000-foot mountain. You took the time, strained your muscles, braved the elevation and the elements, claimed the peak and now you're back down on level ground, basking in the glory, when the unthinkable happens. Among the crowd of faithful listeners is an unbeliever, someone who challenges the facts. In answer, you whip out your iPhone to display your photo of proof, stamped with the name of your location and the above-sea-level altitude.

This is the idea behind Explore More, an iPhone app developed by Breckenridge-based programmer Kristy Lee Gogolen. The app uses the iPhone's GPS to find the altitude and then stamps the number along with the location name on the user's photo. The photos can then be uploaded to social media websites or sent to friends.

The active lifestyle of Summit County helped to inspire the Explore More app, Gogolen said.

"It was something that was relevant to me and it would be relevant to other people in the area," she explained. "It took on a life of its own; it became a social aspect with the photos."

Gogolen's decisions for app development revolve around "stuff that I dreamed up and that I want to make," she said.

Gogolen launched her company, LadyBits Mobile Development, Sept. 20 of this year. It's a Summit County-based mobile development group that makes mobile apps as well as mobile and standard version websites.

Explore More is the first app developed by LadyBits. It took eight months to finish, though Gogolen said most apps will generally take from two to three months. She was working on other projects during its design. She hopes to release her second app next month.

Gogolen works out of her home near Breckenridge and works with businesses, mostly (but not exclusively) local, to design websites and apps.

"I would like to focus more on the mobile side of things and that is the direction I'm moving in," she said. "A lot of businesses are using apps to market their business and (as) a way to keep in touch with their clients, and for marketing and promotion. It's a great way to be right at the fingertips of your client."

Working remotely with Gogolen is a team of programmers and experts, all of whom she knows well and trusts to turn in professional work.

"I built relationships with these people and I work with them on a regular basis. It's more about finding the right person, and once I find the right person I work with them."

She prefers to "let the geniuses do their job."

Though deeply immersed in technology, Gogolen isn't about to drop the interactive, human element of the business. She wants to be able to sit down with a client or prospective client for face-to-face discussions. Being considered "approachable" is also important.

"Right now I'm trying to focus on the Summit County community because I feel like I'm here and it's easy for me to sit down with people and talk to them," she said. "I really make an effort to be approachable, I want to help people with their projects and help them succeed. I want to help them to learn."

Gogolen knows a lot about learning; everything she knows about computers and programming is self-taught. She's been building websites for 10 years. Her first foray into the world of computers occurred in her native state of New Jersey. Gogolen was working for a nonprofit organization for at-risk teens when she was asked to design the organization's website. Though she had never done it before, she was hooked.

"I loved it," she said. "It makes sense to me and it's always been something that really interested me. Programming is like long distance running, you either love it or you hate it, there's no in between."

Gogolen acquired her hard-earned knowledge by studying, reading books, articles on the internet, anything she could get her hands on.

"(I spent) a lot of long days studying," she said. "It's definitely worth it. It's been paying off for me and it's something that I really love and enjoy."


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The Summit Daily Updated Dec 26, 2012 08:01PM Published Dec 25, 2012 11:10PM Copyright 2012 The Summit Daily. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.