Hi, I'm Allen Wong. I was told to create an AMA here after I posted a picture of my Lamborghini in the /r/Autos subreddit.

How I went from "rags to rich": I develop apps. My most popular app is called "5-0 Radio Police Scanner", which lets you listen to police radio chatter from around the world. You've probably seen this app used in the latest Spiderman movie (though, they rebranded it). My apps have been downloaded by somewhere between 15-20 million people.

The car that got me to do an AMA here: I drive the very beautiful Azure Blue Lamborghini Aventador. My previous car was a Verde Ithaca Lamborghini LP560-4.

My parents: My parents were raised in the slums of China. They fled here and raised my brother and me in New York City. My mother worked in a sweatshop in Chinatown before she quit to become a homemaker in her 30s. My father was a herbalist before he passed away unnaturally 3 months after I graduated from college. After his passing, no one in the family had a job (he passed away at the beginning of the 2008 recession).

How I got started: A few months passed and I found a full-time job at Columbia University. Since I was the only one in the family with an income, I self-taught myself how to create apps during my free time. I then created apps on the weekends and weeknights in hopes of making some side income. I didn't expect this hobby to end up making me millions.

What I do now: My father's sudden passing caused my mother to become mentally ill (though, she has mental problems before then as well). I take care of her now. During my free time, I code apps, do photography, write books, do volunteer work, give free advice to young entrepreneurs, help less fortunate people, and enjoy our short time here on Earth.

Here's my verification: Facebook post

A link to my Facebook can be found on regoapps.com and smartestapple.com

Ask me anything.

Final Edit: I think I've answered every question thrown at me. Thanks everyone for your condolences and praise. I greatly appreciate it. If you'd like to learn more about me, follow me on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr and YouTube. If you'd like to learn more about my past, advice from my father, and my app marketing strategies, then grab a copy of my autobiography. I am no longer checking in this AMA. The best way to ask me questions is to send your questions to the comment section of my Facebook status updates.

Comments: 959 • Responses: 97  • Date: 

GucciTheWalrus73 karma

I love hearing successful stories like this. I'd love for a hobby of mine to make some side money. Any advice you could give a 19 year old? :)

regoapps144 karma

I have a ton of advice for you. Since you're the first person to ask, if you PM me your email address, I'll send you a free copy of my autobiography. I wrote that book to give to my future children as fatherly advice (in case I pass away too early). It is full of advice that my own parents gave me, as well as wisdom I learned from my failures and successes.

foreverfae28 karma

Whats it called?!

s3rila386 karma

how i met my money

regoapps86 karma

Thanks for that. It's one of my favorite shows :)

regoapps48 karma

It's called Lifehacked. You can find the paperback on Amazon.com. Or you can get the cheaper eBook on my company's website.

dbfish40 karma

Kindle edition on amazon, $9.99. eBook on your website, $19.95....

regoapps31 karma

You were comparing a discount price with a retail price. The eBook on my website is $9.95 with a discount: http://regoapps.com/lifehacked/reddit


Are you happy?

regoapps90 karma

I have my ups and downs like everyone else. Sometimes it doesn't matter how much money you have when your mother is in a psychotic episode and tells you about how she thinks people are out to get her. Sometimes she's in a catatonic state, and just walks around the living room while mumbling to herself. I still haven't got used to it.

JohnWad64 karma

Probably gonna get laughed at for this but, how exactly do you make money off of free downloadable apps?

regoapps88 karma

You get an ad agency to put ads in your free app. Other companies pay those ad agencies to put their company's ads in your app. There are many ad agencies like Google's Adsense and Apple's iAds. They take about 30-50% of that ad revenue, and give the rest to you.

Elranzer42 karma

  • So please clear up this misconception about apps. Do you make more money off the "free" app (with ads) or the pay version app that has no ads? I've heard that generally free, ad-supported apps make more than pay-once apps.

  • Which ad company generally makes you more money? Google (AdSense) or Apple (iAds), or another one?

regoapps42 karma

I used to make more from pay-once apps. But lately I've been making more from ads. So I guess for short-term, paid apps might make more. But for long term, ads might make more. It's probably best to have both. I've mostly stuck with iAds, and then I have other ad companies fill out the ads when iAds doesn't.

jhenryf62650 karma

Estimated amount of money made from "5-0 Radio Police Scanner?

regoapps67 karma

I don't like to disclose my net worth. But I will say that it makes 7-figures per year.

kethinov28 karma

You hit the jackpot, man. Don't blow it all on fancy cars. Make sure you always have enough saved and invested so that if your app income takes a downturn you won't go from rags to riches back to rags.

Also remember that for every guy out there who gets as lucky as you, there are thousands more who work just as hard from backgrounds that are just as fucked up and never catch a break. Welcome to the 1%.

regoapps39 karma

Thanks. That's already what I'm doing. You might have missed the post where I said that I only spend 10% of my income.

thisguise49 karma

Hi Allen! Thank you for doing this AMA. I am a currently a senior marketing major and the whole focus of one of my classes this semester is to design and market an app. Reading through your comments has given me some great insight!

This might be going out on a limb, but I know my professor and class would go nuts if we could skype with you during class one day? Thoughts? :)

regoapps114 karma

Please PM me with more details.

EDIT: I ended up giving a lecture to this class. The YouTube video of this lecture has been uploaded.

I-C-U-P33 karma

How much better is life when you got a lot of money?

regoapps116 karma

I try not to spend too much of my money, so it's not significantly better. I just like the feeling of not being in debt and the ability to wake up whenever I want to. I also like having more free time to do volunteer work.

Laereom28 karma

On that note -- the real thing that having lots of money saves you is time.

Money does not buy happiness. I mean, really -- after a certain point, more money just doesn't make you more happy. We acclimate to whatever level of luxury we are accustomed to, so if we're willing to continually increase our spending, we may get some temporary happiness...but that's a terribly wasteful and unfulfilling way to live.

The two things most strongly related to the internal happiness 'set points' that people have are low levels neuroticism, and an internal locus of control.

regoapps18 karma

Pretty much. Building good relationships with people and helping people out are a better sources of happiness. Spending money is temporary happiness.

laketravisbb832 karma

  1. have you ever become overwhelmed with the sudden wealth? going from "rags to riches" must have been great, and good on you mate, but was there ever a time you were thinking maybe this is too much?

  2. has the police app been the most successful so far? or do you have others that are doing well, too?

regoapps79 karma

  1. My parents taught me to be humble, and I've kept myself grounded as much as I can. I try not to forget who I was just 5 years ago or so. I don't see myself as a "wealthy" person. I see myself as a middle-class person with small lottery winnings. I've tucked away about 90% of my income into savings/investments and promised myself to never touch those unless it's an emergency. I also kept my friends from childhood, as they are my true friends. What I'd say was "too much" was that I'm the only person taking care of my mother, who was diagnosed with paranoid psychosis. She shows signs of schizophrenia as well. Taking care of her has been stressful, but I'm the only one who's willing to do it, so I do.
  2. It's the most successful, but my other apps have made small fortunes as well.

jduece32 karma

"Humble" says the kid with the blue lambo, lol. That's a little flashy.. At least if it were black, I might consider you humble. But not blue lol

I'm not hating, I'm just sayin...

regoapps155 karma

That's a fair assessment. But that's assuming that I drive my car everywhere and go "stunting" or whatever. My car doesn't define me, nor do I want it to define me. The way I talk to strangers and treat people is how I'd like to be defined. I've been through a messed-up life and getting a nice car is how I dealt with it. My car is my fortress of solitude, where I can be alone for a few minutes and enjoy my life. As for the color, I thought blue wasn't that flashy. It's a pretty classy color for a Lamborghini. Definitely much less flashier than the lime green that I used to have.

ZombieBarney5 karma

You've got to live in Alaska to be left alone in THAT car.

regoapps21 karma

Sometimes I just turn on the music and drive in the middle of the night for a cruise. Usually there is nobody on the streets to bother me then. It's just me, the car, and good music.

iamdanhi17 karma

I'm just reading this since it was linked in another thread. A little late but:

This is one of my absolute favorite things to do. Wake up at 3-4 in the morning and just drive during the summer. Sometimes until the sun rises.

Sometimes I do it in the winter too during a big blizzard. I know most people hate driving in the snow but with some practice it's really fun.

regoapps17 karma

I've been doing this even when I didn't have a Lambo. Sounds like you're a fellow car guy who enjoys driving :)

lycopersiyum19 karma

I just wanted to say that I am so happy for you that you were able to achieve what you have achieved. I don't feel very dissimilar to you in terms of life story (except that I'm white American, not Chinese only to be specific).

You are one of those real heroes of life that don't make the "news for idiots" channels (by which I mean all of them). I am a better person for simply having read your story.

regoapps23 karma

Thanks. I was initially hesitant to post a short summary of life, because I was taught to be modest. But now I'm glad I did.

FordSVT114 karma

Don't be afraid or too prideful to pay for professional help with your mother.

regoapps20 karma

I tried. But my mother doesn't believe that she has mental problems. When her doctor gave her anti-psychotic medicine, she threw them out.

RandomCDN15 karma

I found this book very helpful in understanding a family member problems. "I Am Not Sick, I Don't Need Help!: How to Help Someone with Mental Illness Accept Treatment" By Xavier Amado

regoapps24 karma

I actually have that book.

PotatoPop22 karma

How long did it take you to learn how to make apps? Did you have any previous programming experience before trying? I'm trying to get myself motivated enough to start teaching myself programming. It seems like such a daunting task without a textbook and course. I can't afford to take classes since I've been unemployed for 2 years. Thankfully I got a call today for an interview Friday.

edit: Beautiful color on that Aventador btw. I've never seen that color before.

regoapps48 karma

It took me only a few weekends to learn how to make basic apps. Then a few months to learn the advanced stuff. My C.S. degree helped me learn it faster, though. I might make some free video tutorials on how to program/code apps for beginners. I think that might be helpful for people who can't afford classes. I couldn't afford classes myself when I started. I was forced to learn by self-teaching myself by reading free tutorials online (though many were poorly written) and experimenting.

It's the only one in that color, so that might be why you've never seen it in that color before.

barske9 karma

please do make some videos that would be really useful, I am looking into building some entrepreneurial skills and app building definitely seems very useful in today's age. Or if not could you recommend some books and links that you used to learn? I have almost no knowledge of programming. Also that color is absolutely gorgeous.

regoapps4 karma

It's been 4 years or so. I don't remember which websites/books I read. There were too many.

good006 karma

what programming languages do you recommend for iphone apps and why? Did you do Android apps too?

regoapps8 karma

Objective-C. Because it's the native language for iOS. Java for Android. Same reason.

tevinanderson20 karma

First, Thanks for doing this AMA. Also, my condolences to you and your family for your loss.

I have so many questions for someone like you, but I'll just keep it to a few. Thanks in advance for your time.

Do you build your apps yourself as a developer? Or do you have the idea, and have a team build them for you?

Was there ever a "hump" to get over, before getting the massive amount of downloads you now have? If so, how did you get over that hump (viral marketing? paid advertising? "luck"?)?

What's the fastest you've ever gotten your car up to? On the track or otherwise...

regoapps41 karma

Thank you for your condolences. I build apps myself, though I've done consulting work for other app companies as well where I don't code. Yes, there was a hump to get over. My app used to be a paid app, and it did pretty well (but not extremely well). I then created a free version for it and advertised the free version on many forums. The free version became the #4 free app at some point with 80,000 downloads a day. The people liked the free version so much that they bought the paid version and shot the paid version to the #1 paid app for a month back in 2009. Edit: Spelling

Fastest I've gone is probably 180. I always keep running out of road to go faster.

heyhowmuchfun19 karma

How did you get the idea for the app, why the Radio Police scanner?

regoapps68 karma

Since I grew up in NYC, I always hear sirens and police cars passing by. I also went to a middle school across the street from a police precinct, so I walked by police officers a lot. And when I was 5 or so, someone asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I told her that I wanted to be a “cop”. When she asked why, I said that I wanted to protect people and help them. I never ended up being a police officer, but I still wanted to help out in a way. That’s really where the police scanner app came into play. That app has helped a lot of people in numerous ways. I get emails from policemen and firemen thanking me for the app, because sometimes their own radio wouldn’t work, and they’d switch over to my app. And then I'd get emails from people who said that the app helped them during natural disasters to get real-time information that the news media are a bit slow to report on.

mrpickles12 karma

Wow, that's really cool that your app is helping people in their time of need. I always just thought it was a novelty hobby for some people to listen. Never thought to use it in the ways you described.

regoapps14 karma

There's a lot of other useful uses. Sometimes ER doctors use it to get real-time information about who's going to their ER before they even arrive. This gives them more time to prepare for the victim. During Detroit's Devil Nights (look it up), volunteer firefighters use my app to get information about arson fires and they help put them out.

CentipedeArm11 karma

Admit it, you needed a reliable and mobile police scanner so that you could become a superhero. You realized you couldn't truly help protect the people with all the red tape that comes with being an officer of the law, so you've taken it into your own hands.

I'm onto you Regoapps!

regoapps16 karma

Did the Aventador give it away?


Dont you think it would be used more for bad then good? Drug dealers and criminals keeping an eye out for police.

regoapps27 karma

SWAT/Raid type of communications aren't really going to be on the dispatch channels. We block those feeds for a reason.

throwaway5098915 karma

Did you have a CS degree? What can someone do if they want to get into the same thing (making apps or other things)?

regoapps22 karma

I have a B.S. in Computer Science and Computer Engineering. If you want to get started, I'd say that you should learn how to do some programming (through class or books or free tutorials online). I actually started programming in my early teens. So if a teenager could learn it, then almost anyone smarter than a teenager can. I also started off as a web developer, and that made it easier for me to learn programming.

I'm thinking about making free video tutorials on how to code apps, since I get this question very often.

wheels_go_round15 karma

(Hi from the other thread!) Besides your gorgeous Aventador, what cars do you own?

regoapps29 karma

Unlike most Aventador owners, I don’t actually collect cars. I buy cars to drive them. I sold my Verde Ithaca Lamborghini LP560-4, because I knew that I wouldn’t drive it after getting an Aventador. So right now, I don’t have a large collection of exotic cars in my garage. I’m not the type of guy who keeps expensive cars in his garage for the sake of having bragging rights.

wheels_go_round9 karma

Do you have any daily cars or is the Aventador your one and only vehicle?

regoapps40 karma

Sometimes I drive my mom's 2001 Toyota Corolla that she's kept for 13 years now when I need more seats (the Lambo only has 2). I mostly drive my Aventador as my daily driver. I don't have a commute, so it's not really that bad. Here's a pic of me at Walmart getting groceries.

slymuthafucka90 karma

Says he's keeping it humble, license plate says "boss" ;)

regoapps85 karma

It's more of a joke than a statement. I'm a fan of The Lonely Island.

slymuthafucka33 karma

Just givin' you shit man :)

What kind of volunteer work do you do? I seem to do a lot of disaster relief myself.

regoapps21 karma

In Florida, I've worked with a local volunteer group that packs dried healthy foods for no-income families (a.k.a. families with hungry children). Here's a picture of our volunteer group. It's a bit blurry, because I didn't have time to do a proper photo. And I don't do it for publicity, so you won't see me posing with hungry children and what not.

In NYC, I've worked with my car club to raise funds for charity. We also went to NYU Hospital to give the seriously-ill children a free car show. Some of the children got free rides in the exotic cars (with parent's permission of course). They're really cool kids. They don't take life for granted.

Edit: Picture was deleted, so I removed the link.

blahtherr1 karma

im horrified that you would park so close to other cars, let alone in a walmart parking lot. have you ever got any dings or anything in your cars?

regoapps13 karma

Nope. Walmart isn't actually that bad. People mostly just take pictures and pose with the car. When I parked at Walt Disney World, it was bad. Some kids there treated my car like it was a Hot Wheels toy.

nootdude12 karma

Did all the money and nice cars help you get laid?

regoapps81 karma

I'm not a man-whore, so I didn't sleep around enough to answer that question. The cars are good ice breakers, though. Normally you'd have to start up the conversation with an attractive girl. But with the car, they approach you instead (and act nervous). Though, I should mention that sometimes this works against you. A girl once told me that she avoided me, because she assumed that I got my cars by ill means. My other friends who drive Lambo's tell me that it's easy to get laid with the car. But I don't think the girls who will sleep with me because of my car are girls I'd want to be with. I'm not a casual sex kind of guy.

MetalGearFlaccid10 karma

Were you the fresh prince of bel air before you made your money? How do all your friends have Lamborghinis?

regoapps72 karma

I made a couple of new friends in my car club. Not all my friends have Lamborghini's... some have Ferrari's, Bugatti's, Rolls Royce...

lightfragments12 karma

Allen, I was severely depressed with thoughts of suicide and then I discovered this. My parents also came from poor villages and my mother and brother are disabled. My dad is a cab driver in nyc which is very hard because there are so many grandiose people. I have been supporting them and knowing I will be the only one to take care of them has put a lot of pressure on me. It has also made me work harder and I also feel living for others is real life. Your success has given me new insight, inspiration and hope. I can tell your sincerity from the way you answered the questions. Thank you for being a kind person and helping others.

regoapps27 karma

Thanks very much for your kind words. I am not afraid to admit that I've had thoughts of suicide as well after my father passed away and my mother became mentally ill. I felt like giving up to end the stress. But I knew that if I did, then nobody would take care of my mother. And I'd be running away from my responsibilities. So I kept fighting and I kept working harder. I wrote about it more in my autobiography. PM me your email, I'll send you a free copy. I think it will help you.

vadvaro1012 karma

i am very proud for you. i've used your app. it is great.

sadly, i'm a 30-something that made the reverse trip from riches to rages. oh well, maybe my 40s will seesaw back :)

regoapps5 karma

Thanks! Sorry to hear about that. Life has its ups and downs (even for people like me).

zaneluke10 karma

As a father can I just tell you that your dad would be very proud of you. I am not talking about the financial success, but your positive attitude. It appears that you did not let it get to your head. Your dad would be very very proud of you.

regoapps8 karma

This made me tear-up a bit. My dad never got the chance to say such things to me. Thanks for that.

s3rila10 karma

  1. What get you more money? Android app , iphone app , windwos phone(if you do them) , ad on android or ad on Iphone ?

  2. Witch platform do think is the best to program to ?

  3. what's the thing you are the most proud of in your apps?

regoapps37 karma

  1. From what I hear, iPhones paid apps make more money than Android. Android users tend to get free apps, so there's ad revenue there. And Windows... I don't think they're even in the same league.
  2. For paid apps, go iOS. For free apps, go iOS and Android.
  3. I'm pretty proud of 5-0 Radio for Windows 8. I self-taught myself how to code a Windows 8 app in under a month by reading a 800-page eBook, and finished coding it in 5 days. Though it was 5 days straight of coding with only around 4 hours of sleep between each day. That 800-page eBook is free from Microsoft, by the way, if anyone's interested in reading it.

trueneverland6 karma

Link to the eBook? Thanks

ttgl2 karma

I'd be interested in reading it .__.

forza1017 karma

No question here. It's just nice to see that it doesn't seem that money will change you. It's nice that you help others when you can.

Also, if you like motorsports, you should check out Formula 1. It's awesome.

regoapps13 karma

Thanks. I try not to let money control me. That's a slippery slope. It should be the other way around. I also help others when I can because when I was going through bad circumstances, I wished people would lend me a hand. Sometimes I think that this world would be a much nicer place to live in if people just put themselves in other people's shoes.

dangerz7 karma

What inspires you to make an app? How do you get your ideas?

Car question: What's the gas mileage like? :) Have you gotten it on the track? Beautiful car.

regoapps14 karma

I make things that I'd use myself. My litmus test for an app is that if even I'm not using it, then it's not a great app. I've created a lot of failed apps and successful apps. And the successful ones are usually the ones I actually use myself. The failed ones are usually app ideas that people throw at me. The trick is to keep improving the successful ones and move on from failed ones. I've made almost 26 major updates to 5-0 Radio. Gas mileage is bad (single digits). I can literally watch the gas tank indicator drop as I'm driving. I haven't gotten it on the track yet, though I want to.

karmehameha6 karma

Hey Allen.

What is the best way to start learning how to code apps ?

What programming languages do you use to code your apps ?

What is Robert Himler like in person and how was it working with him ?

regoapps5 karma

Hey, You may want to learn how to program first. I learned programming first, so I don't know if it's possible to just skip to coding apps. But if you want to learn it the right way, you should probably go to a class for it or read a book on it. As a last resort, I'd go to some free online tutorials. I'm also thinking about making some free video tutorials to teach beginners and get them started. I'll post them on my Facebook or something when I finish them. Objective-C for iOS and HTML5/Javascript for Windows 8. Robert Himler was pretty nice to me and others. I mostly hung out with him rather than worked with him. He's pretty competitive.

karmehameha2 karma

I have taken programming classes in highschool and can code .NET decently. I can also code database orientated. Is this a good start ? or do you suggest I start learning C# first ?

regoapps2 karma

I learned them all. You probably want to learn as many languages as you can, as you'll never know which one you may end up needing. I've learned about two dozen languages or so, but only use about half of them. Some almost must-learns are: HTML, CSS, Javascript, SQL, PHP (or Ruby on Rails or something), some C or Java language (preferably all of them).

Robbinthehood56 karma

I work for one of the top 3 mobile advertising platforms to help people like you monetize their apps. I'm familiar with your police App and I must say it doesn't have the highest of click thru rates :)

My question is which of the mobile ad platforms has been the best to work with and brought you the most income?

regoapps14 karma

Yes, that's a problem with having a radio app. People are listening to it, but not looking at the screen. Therefore, my app gets bad click-thru rates =/ Each mobile ad platform has their moments. Sometimes MillennialMedia gives me the highest eCPM, sometimes iAd, sometimes JumpTap. I don't have a favorite at the moment. I just split it evenly among all of them. But anytime an employee from one of the ad platform calls me or emails me to tell me about a great ad campaign with high eCPM, then I'd give that company more impressions. I had a phone call once from QuattroWireless (now called iAd), and they had a Tide ad campaign going on. In one week, my 5-0 Radio app raised $70,000 in ad revenue. That's what I call a great mobile ad company. Edit: Spelling

tevinanderson6 karma

That's amazing. But I'm almost certain that Tide probably wasted a fortune on mobile ads and is now rethinking their mobile ad marketing strategy :-p

regoapps17 karma

A lot of people were experimental with mobile ads in the beginning. I try not to question their marketing tactics. They're a billion dollar company. I'm just a multimillion.

Cheezis_Chrust5 karma

After buying your app, I bought a developer account. I thought "Hey..if all these people can do it, then why can't I?" I have no official programming experience, no training in that area. I only have random google searches.

I've written code only for specific applications, such as IRC scripts, game servers, and simple web pages. I work in healthcare IT, so I've also written many simple vbscripts for computers at work. Just things to make life easier.

So after buying the SDK, I took to google. I tried to learn the secrets of iOS development, only to realize you basically have to have a Mac just to do it. I don't have the money lying around to spend that much on a laptop, so I took an old Dell laptop and converted it to OS X.

I installed the SDK and developer tools, played around with the programs I downloaded, but I had no idea where to even start. My gears wouldn't turn, I couldn't come up with ANYTHING that hadn't been done before. And I had no idea what I could do to make existing ideas better. I was stuck.

TL;DR I ended up wasting $99 because it wasn't as easy as I thought it would be. There's no real point in making all the effort to learn to code if you can't come up with an idea in the first place.

So, props to you for having a great idea, and actually succeeding where many others have failed! This story really makes me want to take a second chance at iOS apps, but I'm hesitant..obviously.

I love your car, as well. My first choices would have been an Aston Martin DB-S or Bentley Brooklands. Can't hate on an Aventador though, they're amazing machines.

ComptechNSX6 karma

Try a different approach. Don't try to make something that hasn't been done before or make something better. Start with something very basic. Your own flashlight app or grocery list app. Much is learned from small beginnings. :)

regoapps5 karma

Exactly. Start small. I didn't start off with 5-0 Radio. That's a pretty advanced app that took the experience from making simpler apps to make.

zsnowmanz5 karma

Did you know you app would be a bit hit when you invented it?

regoapps7 karma

I always assume that my apps wouldn't be successful. I rather be pleasantly surprised than overly disappointed. It also keeps me from being lazy, because it forces me to keep improving the app until people really really liked it.

015unknown5 karma

Has your ethnicity ever acted as a hurdle or even as an advantage in your success?

regoapps28 karma

Good question. I don't think it mattered. I think what matter more was that I was nerdy-looking in school (with the grandma glasses and all), so not many girls at school talked to me. I think this freed up a lot of my time to learn things, such as learning how to code websites/programs. I think that if I spent my high school years dating instead of learning how to code, things might have turned out differently. So, bullies, don't beat up the nerds. They might be your boss someday! :)

Dr_StrangeClouds4 karma

Any advice for entrepreneurs

regoapps18 karma

That's a bit too generic of a question, because I could write a whole book of advice for entrepreneurs. In fact, I actually did. It's called "Lifehacked" and can be found on Amazon.com. But here's some quick advice, "Don't fear failure. — Not failure, but low aim, is the crime. In great attempts it is glorious even to fail." - Bruce Lee

Mattgopow3 karma

Florida, huh?

Are you friends with Robert Himler at all? I know he has a few nice cars in the Winter Park area.

regoapps13 karma

I co-own Razzi.me with Robert Himler.

voze5 karma

What do the say to the fact the guy has arguably been outed as a fraud?

regoapps13 karma

The accusations made were mostly true. I wish I could add more to it, but a lot has already been said and I still have a business contract with him with Razzi. I know him personally and I know that most of his cars belonged to his dad's dealership and were not his.

Mattgopow5 karma

Oh hey, that's pretty cool! In that case, where is that spot you volunteer at? (considering you also live in CFL).

I've done some work at Harvest Time International and occasionally make the drive to St. Pete to help out Salvation Army etc. Always looking for more cool volunteer opportunities though!

regoapps2 karma

I volunteer at different places (usually people post volunteer work in my towns' forums and I try to help out).

rockstarlove20093 karma

No questions for you, just wanted to let you know that my 57 year old father got his first Android phone (just 3 months ago mind you) for the sole purpose of listening to your app. He plays the shit all day long no matter where he is -.- Congrats on your success tho lol

regoapps6 karma

Nice. I like hearing stories like these.

lawlshane3 karma

If you're ever in Toronto, can I give you a high five?

regoapps3 karma

:) Sure, why not.

refuah3 karma

I love your app. I use it everyday!!!! I love knowing stuff going on around :)

regoapps2 karma


JamesRPhoto3 karma

Great, and very inspiring AMA. When I was 19, coming from a lower income family I took a big risk and put the rest of my tuition money into opening a photography studio after quitting college. For me, the first few thousand was really my big exciting moment, having rarely seen 4 figures in my bank account before-hand.

I'm 20 now, half a year later and the studio's still running and picking up steam, while I don't expect to every see 7 figures in my bank account, my goal is that I will be able to help out my family like that in a few years. Keep on keeping on, man!

regoapps2 karma

Thanks for reading/visiting my AMA. My hope for this AMA is to let people know that all hope isn't lost. It's still possible to turn your life around. Your story reinforces that.

trueneverland3 karma

I'm curious, where is the source for the scanner stuff come from?

regoapps4 karma

Behind every feed is someone with a real police scanner providing my app with the feeds. Sometimes it's the police department. Sometimes it's a hobbyist.

trueneverland2 karma

Crazy. How did you go about finding these when you thought up the app idea.

regoapps2 karma

There was already a really big database that had all the feeds. I just made the app that accessed it.

dexigo2 karma

How did you find the database of feeds?

regoapps11 karma

My former boss who worked at Earthlink posted a message on his Facebook about police scanners. Someone posted a link to radioreference.com. I contacted the owner of that website and drew up a contract with him. That Facebook post changed my life. I sent him a gift after my success happened.

xuriouz3 karma

I just want to say thank you. The 5-0 flashlight actually helped me find my home quite a few times. It was the first app I ever had with the flashlight ability.

regoapps5 karma

Ah, you're welcome. For those who don't know, he's referring to the flashlight feature I have in my Police Scanner+ app.

Eff3ction3 karma

I'm curious about how you got the police plate, and frame, and what you're involvement is with them to get such? And what all that entails during... day to day driving?

regoapps4 karma

You make a donation to the police department and they give you one. It's not difficult to get one. I don't know if it makes a difference to day to day driving. But I haven't gotten pulled over yet (fingers crossed).

Ferdaayz3 karma

nice car! have you ever considered starting a youtube channel with videos of your car to share the piece of art, like DoctaM3?

regoapps4 karma

I actually do have a small youtube channel under the username "regovids". I haven't posted much videos of my car lately, because I've been busy coding 5-0 Radio for Windows 8. But I'll be adding more videos of my car on there in the coming weeks.

ellemmenne3 karma

Thanks for doing this AMA. I think "rags to riches" app developer stories are always great and interesting.

App-ish questions:

  1. I've been told that it's best to create a company before publishing an app. Why is this? (Well, I think Apple requires it now, but other platforms like Windows Phone still don't.)

  2. You mentioned in another post that you "code from scratch." Does this mean you don't use any other public libraries that are available? Do you literally code every part of your apps by yourself?

Life-ish questions:

  1. What do you think your life would be like right now if you hadn't created a multi-million dollar app?

  2. How do you plan on spending the rest of your life?

regoapps2 karma

  1. The only reason would be for liability reasons and privacy reasons.
  2. I use public libraries sometimes. But I don't always find public libraries to be bug-free. I always end up having to code something myself.
  3. I'd be working at my 9-5 job at Columbia University or some tech company. I'd probably still be making side income, though. Probably through other things (like making websites).
  4. I think I'm supposed to find a wife, get married, have kids, and raise a family. I'm not sure if that's happening anytime soon.

hkgrx82 karma

Car Question lol... So how long did you have to wait from the day you ordered till the day you actually pick up the car? And how much over the MSRP did you pay?

regoapps2 karma

I ordered it in around November 2011. They told me to expect the car in December 2012. Sometime in 2012, the person who was supposed to get the car in June 2012 bailed on payment, so I managed to take his build slot. So I got the car in August 2012. There were only 3 build slots for my dealership that year. I paid exactly MSRP. No more, no less.

Robbbbbbbbb2 karma

Razzi.com and a Lamborghini - Are you and Robert Himler friends?

Joking, but just poking fun at the similarity.

regoapps6 karma

I co-own Razzi.me with Robert Himler.

NiceAsACanadian2 karma

Thanks for doing this and congratulations on the success!

What's the smartest investment you made? And what sort of things would you like to accomplish next?

regoapps10 karma

Probably the smartest investment was buying real estate in Florida while they were cheap. As for what's next... I'm working on some new apps. I can't disclose what they are, though. As long as apps keep making me money, I'll keep making them.

hellorachelle2 karma

what is your main mantra in life? what do you want to get out of life?

regoapps12 karma

Before my father passed away, he said something along the lines of: "Pride, disappointment, and fear all go away when you don't expect to live another day. What's left is what's important. Our time on this Earth is short. Make it count, son." Bruce Lee once said, "Real living is living for others."

clothingoptionalx2 karma

If I have an idea for an App, but am worthless with coding, what is the best way to keep the idea from being stolen, but still having it worked on?

regoapps10 karma

Best way would be to patent the idea. That would also be the expensive way. The other way is to make the developer sign an NDA. However, you should realize that once your app is out there (and is popular), it will be cloned by copycats. I've run into this problem many times. The solution is to create an app that's so good that nobody wants to switch to something else.

trueneverland2 karma

I'm confused, why does your app says Dr James Leung on the iTunes page

regoapps4 karma

You must be referring to the "Copyright" field. You can put whatever you want in that field. I've sold my apps under a fake alias for a while. I didn't want anyone to know who I really was. I led a pretty private life throughout my life.

kroiler2 karma

Since you are so young, sounds like you got a big pile of money dumped on you all at once...

What are some of the first significant things you purchased with the money??? Car, new home, vacation???

regoapps3 karma

New house

Jamesismynames2 karma


regoapps3 karma

Yes. Quality and design is probably the most important. People are superficial and will download apps based on looks (icons/screenshots). The content is what makes people keep the app and tell their friends about it.

Volvo8022 karma

Its nice to hear a success story. My condolences to your family. Family is what means the most to me. I've begun learning code from as many free sites as I can. I'm hoping to try and excel at it and at least make a decent living. Seems like coding is quite a trade to get into if you can. I guess I don't have any questions for you that aren't personal. Though if you'd ever care to take me for a ride in your Lamborghini, it would probably the most exciting part of my life to date. I've always had an extreme desire to be around such cars, as how they aren't just machines but works of art. Though I can say I'll likely never have the opportunity too. I'll likely be sticking to my basic "single" turbo cars :P I just appreciate your time on AMA as its an inspiration for me to keep going.

Volvo8022 karma

Actually, I thought of some. How long on average does it take you to program an app, and do you use a program or start from scratch? If you use a program, it'd be nice to know.

regoapps3 karma

You're kind of forced to use a program to code (Xcode for iOS, Eclipse for Android, Visual Studio for Windows). But if you're talking about templates, then no. I don't use templates. I code from scratch, because I've learned how to. Btw, Aventadors actually don't have turbos.

MK-Crusher2 karma

Downloaded your app in 2011. It was pretty cool lol. Remember thinking that I was doing something illegal by listening into police dispatch. Very weird putting a voice to that app. Congratulations!

regoapps2 karma

Thanks! I bump into a few people who've downloaded or heard of my app. I've kept a private life all these years, so that's why you never heard of me.

scott1d2 karma


regoapps2 karma

I knew C++ and a lot of web development languages. I also knew a lot of languages that I don't really use (I blame college for that).

iateone2 karma

How do you keep a car like that in NYC?

Why do you have Florida plates on a New York Car?

regoapps3 karma

I live in both states.

ShannonChanel2 karma

What did you study in college?

regoapps3 karma

Computer Science and Computer Engineering.

solecollector1 karma

Do you believe in the phrase, "If I can do it you can do it?" If so, would you use that?

regoapps5 karma

No. That sounds like something a "get rich quick" marketer would say. The circumstances that made me successful may not make another person successful. Also, if someone were to copy me, he/she may not be able to duplicate my success because of factors beyond his/her control. Edit: Spelling.

sabana_1 karma

As someone who has to choose what to study in college next year... http://cdn.memegenerator.net/instances/400x/34136427.jpg

regoapps2 karma

:) My advice for those people: See if you like it first... some people try it and hate it.

Mblaeser1 karma

What are the titles of all the books you've written? I recently just graduated from college with a bachelors in marketing and I'm pretty lost on what I'm going to do. I've been applying for tons of jobs but haven't even received so much as a phone call. I know there's a lot of other people in the same boat but I'm starting to become very discouraged, could your books help with situation? Or is there any advice you could give me?

regoapps1 karma

I'm not sure if my book will help you in your case. It's more for people who've been through a tragedy or want advice in entrepreneurship. Perhaps you should speak with your classmates who have found a job in your sector? Sorry that I can't be more helpful, but this seems to be beyond my scope of expertise.

inhindsite1 karma

My condolences of course but im interested in how exactly your dad died? Purely because you said it was unnatural.

What was your initial reaction when you saw the money coming in from your app, surprised? Shocked? Did it feel like you won the lottery? How did you celebrate, apart from buying a sweet sweet car.

Very happy for you, i do love a success story.

regoapps1 karma

I really don't want to talk about the way he died. The people who caused his death got away with it, and for me to talk about it will just cause me to dwell on emotions/memories that I've spent a long time getting rid of/moving on from. It was a gruesome death. I actually didn't buy the car right away. I paid off my debts, and I saved my money. I also bought some real estate. As for the feeling, yes, it felt surreal. I talk about the feeling in the first few pages of my book. You can read the first few chapters for free on Amazon.com

shuxin1 karma

have you ever been in China to get education? if you do, and in comparison to China, what do you think it is in the U.S that gives you the environment or inspiration to engage in that kind of career?

regoapps4 karma

I haven't. I was raised in New York City. As for inspiration, I once saw a young guy in a white Lamborghini Murcielago pass by neighborhood (which is rare, because I didn't live in a rich neighborhood). I told my friends that I'd be him one day. They laughed at me.

Mrflyvholm1 karma

If you should give any advices on innovation and find ideal apps, which will reach a lot of people, what would that be?

regoapps1 karma

Reaching a lot of people is easy. Just have your app connect to their social media accounts (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) and have the app post on their social media accounts. This will make them advertise your app for you. The real question is, is your app worthy of people wanting to advertise it? If yes, then you've hit the jackpot.

[deleted]1 karma


regoapps1 karma

I sent you an email.

ApiVat1 karma

Nothing to ask, happy for your success! You seem like a really cool guy to be honest. The way you reply appears to be very humble. I would kill for a free copy of your autobiography, if you have it as pdf.

regoapps1 karma

Thanks! PM me your email address.

moiph1 karma

How do you go about deciding which apps to make, when there are many already existing in the market?

regoapps1 karma

Try to come up with something original. Or, you can always take existing popular apps and make an even better version of them. For example, the popular Ruzzle game is just a copy of Scramble with Friends.

Cyber_Janee1 karma

You're the one that exposed that man child fraud Tim Sykes? Awesome.

Do you also trade penny stocks?

regoapps1 karma

I didn't know that that was something to be known for. I do not trade penny stocks.

blahtherr1 karma

Do you ever let anyone else drive your cars?

regoapps3 karma

Only in rare occasions.

pogiface1 karma

Now that you have money and a nice car, do you worry that people speak to you just because of these things? How do you trust that women for example, if they see the car and talk to you that they really like you or are just after money?

Or maybe sudden "friends (male or female) " that try and befriend you how can you trust them?

regoapps2 karma

I usually give people the benefit of the doubt... until they ask me for a $50,000 "loan" (happened twice already).

Archniles1 karma

From one fellow computer science individual to another, cheers and well done! Enjoyed reading this and the rebuttals to the questions. A question: looking back at your education, how much do you think you could of just picked up a book and taught yourself? After several years of schooling, I find it easier for myself to just pick up a book, read, and experiment.

regoapps1 karma

Most of it could be self-taught. Just picking up a book and experimenting is the best way to learn in my opinion. You can always ask questions online if you have any.

razihk1 karma

I want to learn how to create apps, where do i go? You are living the american dream! You are such an inspiration man. My family is coming from nothing, living in canada - and we're just all working our ass off. Best wishes to you. :)

regoapps1 karma

To be honest, I'm not exactly sure where to point you, because I learned how to code apps years ago. Try searching Google for some tutorials? That's how I did it. However, I do have plans on making free video tutorials on how to start creating apps, because I get asked this question a lot. I'll post them on my Youtube account when I'm done.

m-blake1 karma

Happy for your success bro! You sound very grounded.

regoapps5 karma

Thanks very much. I understand that posting pictures of my car can seem to be the opposite of being humble. But I hope that people understand that I'm posting pictures of my car to share its beauty with the world. I don't post them to put people down or boast. I hope people will notice the difference.

tonybanks0 karma

I'm less fortunate....will you help me?

regoapps5 karma

PM me your email address. I'll send you my book of wisdom for free. "Teach a man to fish..."