SAM STOWERS

Converse App

Screenshot of the landing page

Did you ever write pen pal letters in grade school?

Spent some time writing a letter, then weeks later you'd get a response from someone somewhere far away. It was awesome, right? The idea for Converse was to bring that experience to smartphones and to make the entire process easier.

I started building it in March 2015 from zero coding experience. After seeking advice from my developer friends, I built it with JavaScript on Firebase. The project got me to San Francisco for the Thiel Fellowship Summit, and I used what I learned there to finish the prototype by July 2015.

Home screen

I then tested it with 20 users from various countries. Unfortunately, I made a few crucial omissions in my platform, including a lack of notifications and a lack of profile pictures. By the time I added email notifications (with SendGrid) and began work on pictures, the majority of testers stopped using it.

At that point (August 2015), I decided to improve my development skills and return to the project once I had more experience, particularly with back-end work. Though I'm no longer hosting the site, you can still see the source code (some of the first code I ever wrote) at https://github.com/StartupSam/Converse.