IT alum returns to Illinois State to launch first app ENY
Geoff Godwin ’12 doesn’t want you to miss out.
When he was an Illinois State student, it bugged Godwin whenever there was an event on the Quad or a concert off-campus and he didn’t know until it was too late. What if there was an app that could tell you when there were events taking place near you that matched what you were interested in?
That’s how Godwin’s ENY (Events Near You) app was born. The School of Information Technology graduate is testing ENY at Illinois State this fall, and the app is already available in the Google Play Store.
“The whole idea in the first place came from my time as a student,” said Godwin. “The purpose of the app is to make it so people don’t miss out on all these micro-events in their lives.”
This is Godwin’s first time creating an app—and his first time launching his own business.
The Naperville native arrived at Illinois State with a different major, and switched on a whim to computer science. But within the first hour of his first IT class—Java programming—he knew he’d made the right decision.
“I thought, ‘I totally get this. I understand this.’ I was hooked. I was very curious. I started poring over books and soaking it up,” Godwin said. “Thank goodness that I made the right, random choice.”
Instructors like Mary Elaine Califf (now the director of the School of IT) ignited his passion for IT even further. The School of IT’s career fair helped him land a job at Discover, where he still works today.
In all his spare time, however, he’s working on ENY along with two developers and two other team members. (A third ENY developer, Matt Jones ’13, left the team for a job at Google.)
ENY allows any registered user to upload events (called “pings”) for everyone to see, from small events like pickup basketball to a big concert. Users will get a “ping” whenever they are within 1 mile of an event that matches their interests (using hashtags). For those looking to upload lots of pings, or to extend their reach beyond 1 mile, ENY offers paid accounts to advanced and business users.
Currently, event information is spread out across all sorts of campus calendars and websites. And it’s tough to find events amid “the sensory overload” on Facebook and Twitter, Godwin said.
ENY is starting on college campuses, high-density areas where young people are more likely to try something new and, if they like it, spread it to their friends when they return home for breaks.
ENY’s team has been at Illinois State this fall trying to build awareness among students. While the app is only on Android right now, Godwin expects it to be available in the App Store (iOS) in time for Homecoming.
Because this was Godwin’s first time creating an app, he didn’t know what to expect. It was overwhelming at first, he said, but he realized he could do it if he committed 100 percent to the idea. He found that projecting confidence is key, especially as he pitches to potential investors or new hires.
“You have to convince others before you can convince yourself,” Godwin said. “Do you want people to invest in you? Then they need to be sure you’re a rock in the river, that you’re not going to float off on a whim. You need to become that person. You become what you need to be.”
Ryan Denham can be reached at rmdenha@IllinoisState.edu.