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St. Charles Man Having Fun Developing Apps

Jason Seelye is a systems engineer who didn't want to leave St. Charles when his company moved out East. So he stayed — and is working from home to develop mobile apps.

Jason Seelye loves his family and the St. Charles area, and when his company, Goodrich ISR Systems, asked him to move with it out East, he just couldn’t do it.

“We really love the area … we didn’t want to leave the area or our family here,” said Seelye, who was a systems engineer who spent 10 years with Goodrich designing spy cameras for the military.

Seelye accepted what he describes as a generous severance package and, at age 36, decided to embark on his own venture. He started Seelye Engineering in May 2012 with a focus on mobile application development.

“We launched our first (and currently only) app, F-Stop Media Gallery on the Google Play Store on July 16th, 2012 and on the Amazon App Store on August 23rd, 2012,” he wrote in an email to St. Charles Patch by way of introduction.

The company has seen 60,000 downloads al over the world of the free version of the app, which was designed for Android devices. The pay version, he said, has seen significantly fewer downloads. But, he adds, that’s OK — the company earns money from advertising via the free version.

From his home, Seelye established a partnership with Goran Nagy, an app developer from Slovenia.

Seelye said that when he first started his company, he intended to do his own coding — another word for developing and writing the apps. However, he said an app in the Google app store that caught his eye — the free app Infinity Photo Album, which offered Android users an alternative way of displaying photos on their devices. The app had been developed by Nagy over eight months and had been on Google’s app store since December 2011.

When he first contacted Nagy, he intended to buy the code from him so that Seelye could develop his own app with more advanced features. He soon realized, however, that in Nagy he had found a talented partner. The partnership benefits Nagy in several ways, including the ability to actually sell the app. Google does not presently allow app sales in Slovenia.

Since then, they’ve worked together from halfway around the world to develop new features for F-Stop Media Gallery, which they continue to improve — as well as “fix.” Code-intensive programs sometimes develop “bugs” that require coding changes to fix. He and Nagy work together to improve it and to plan new features as they go.

“We have users from all over the world,” he said Monday by phone.

That creates its own dynamic, some of which Seelye said surprised him. Because F-Stop Media Gallery is being used worldwide, inquiries come by email — whether to request bug fixes or to suggest new features or other improvements. Because the emails come from all over, Seelye said, he finds himself sometimes up at all hours — even until 4 a.m. on some occasions.

He’s also come to rely on Google Translator to read email that is written in many diverse languages.

“Goran does all the coding and most of the tech support,” Seelye said. On his end, Seelye handles the business aspects of their venture, including marketing, some design work and the development of the promo video his company has posted on Youtube.

Seelye and Goran work together on technical issues and the development of new features for F-Stop Media Gallery.

Right now, Seelye is his only “employee,” but he hopes to grow his company, which he is financing with his severance package from his former job. Still, he keeps putting out resumes, just in case.

“I really enjoy what I do,” he said. “We started (Seelye Engineering) in May and I launched (F-Stop Media Gallery) in mid-July.

Considering the popularity of mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets, there is plenty of opportunity for developing apps. Seelye hopes it will prove lucrative, as well.

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