Sherwood Yao and the tapsBook Team: Winnerof the Kay Family Foundation Appreneur Award
A few years ago (Xiaohu (Sherwood) Yao) came to the US to study computer science. Finding himself physically separated from family and friends back in China, he needed a way to be able to communicate quickly and visually about his daily life in the States from his mobile device. Yao says, “My family didn’t use Facebook and many of the photo services were prohibitively expensive”.
Yao also was bothered by the “dispersed photo problem”. “Because people are taking more photos and storing them on them on multiple social networks there’s a lot of effort required in photo management. To help solve the problem , Yao connected with Xinrong Guo, another student in Fuqua. Guo is an active contributor from www.raywenderlich.com, an iOS developer community.
And so tapsBook was born. The creators call it the first 2-in-1 mobile app to organize and distribute photos. It can quickly organize photos into folders , create lovely photo books and then manage the distribution of the books across social networks and print. Yao and Guo believe it’s this process of organizing, creation and distribution that sets tapBooks apart.
Relying on classmates as beta testers, taught them a lot about intuitive UI design and helped inspire a new (Patent pending) photo rating systems that quickly rates photos with simple swiping gestures.
Yao says that classmates (lawyers, other app builders, business students) really helped create the entire ecosystem needed for a successful app. He says Fuqua and Duke’s encouragement of entrepreneurs was essential. Today tapBooks partners with Walgreen’s QuickPrint API for same day printing. “It’s all part of finding the right partners and colleagues, “says Yao.