Connor Turner explains Calgary’s yycApps


I had the chance to catch up with Connor Turner, they guy behind yycApps. He answered some of the questions I had about the site and shared what’s next – it seems Calgary and Edmonton are churning out a number of iPhone apps these days, so we’ll be sure to keep you posted! 

Sarah: Why did you start yycApps?

Connor: I started yycApps as a way to help promote the growing iPhone App development community in Calgary. Prior to launching the site, I had been spending time at local democamps and the iPhone dev camps familiarizing myself with some of the local developers and the apps being released. Over time, I found out about some really cool apps and fantastic local success stories. But when I would tell these stories to my circle of friends outside of the tech/design industry, I found that very few of them had an idea of what was going on.

So, I decided to do something about it. I’m not a developer, so I did what any good web designer would and started a web site. I wanted yycApps to become an online hub to help promote the great apps being produced in the city and hopefully showcase these great stories to local Calgarians.


Sarah: How did you come up with the idea?

Connor: The idea for yycApps came after a Democamp in early 2010. During the event there were a couple of great app demos from local developers and afterwards everyone started talking about the different projects they were working on. It was fascinating to see and afterwards I thought it would be a great idea to have an online way for people to continue promoting their apps. So I went home and pounded out a design in a couple of days, which ended up wit the first rendition of the site in mid Feburary. 

Sarah: Do you help developers find jobs?

Connor: At the moment, yycApps doesn’t have a dedicated job board for projects, but the site does get a lot of inquiries from local Calgarians looking for someone to help make their ideas a reality. Typically I’ll pass these inquires to our iPhone Developers list and suggest that they contact the companies on that list. There is a great selection of companies listed, which span the spectrum of client budgets. I’m looking into adding some features into the site to hopefully help foster some more connections between developers and potential clients.   

Sarah:  Do you promote everything equally? 

Connor: As much as I can.

There has been an explosion of new apps recently and the site has a big backlog of apps we’d love to review. The site is a volunteer driven side project, so it can be a bit difficult to keep on top of all the apps and stories coming out of the city. If a cool story about an app making an international or national splash comes across my radar then I’ll try and make that a priority to help give that app or designer a good shot bit of buzz.  

Sarah:  How would you like to grow yycApps over the next year?

Connor: The site recently started a new series of posts from local developer Gavin Miller, which are more technical and geared towards promoting different development techniques. These posts have been well received, so hopefully that will continue grow. There is also a new linkedin group for iPhone App developers leveraging the yycApps name. I’m hoping that over the next little while, that group will keep growing and cultivate some great discussions.  

I’d love to have even more app reviews on the site and to grow a larger base of writers to help our turn-around time for stories. There is so much going on in the Calgary iPhone Development community, that it is takes a lot of time just to keep up. I’d also like to expand the influence of the site to include a Job Board. A long-term dream for the site would to have it expand up north into Edmonton. I’d love to have someone from that community working on a sister site to help compliment the community up there.

Sarah:  Do you spend a lot of time researching who’s doing stuff in Calgary, or do people mostly find you?

Connor: It’s a mixed bag of research and people reaching out.

I try my best to keep my eye on different social media channels to see what’s going on with the community. Twitter, Facebook and Google Alerts are some of the ways I keep my eye on local yycApp developers. I do get alot of submissions of apps and developers from the site its self, which is another great way for people to get in touch. But the best way to get my attention is to be actively engaged on Twitter and to use the yycApps hashtag. If you have an iPhone related event, posting it on the Linkedin Group is a great way to get that information out there.

Sarah:  What can someone do if they are looking to get involved?

Connor: If you’re looking to get involved directly with yycApps, send me an email or use the contact form on the site. If you want to help promote the app community get engaged with discussion on Twitter (hashtag #yycApps) and Linkedin, or better yet attend a democamp or iPhone meet-up.