I am a person who went from rags to riches in his early 20s. I'm Allen Wong, and I come bearing gifts. AMA!
Hi, I'm Allen Wong, founder of Rego Apps, Smartest Apps, and BriefKey.
My upbringing: My parents were raised in the slums of China. In the hopes of giving my brother and me a better life, they fled to New York City and raised us there. My mother worked in a sweatshop in Chinatown. And my father passed away unnaturally three months after I graduated from college. After his passing, no one in the family had a job.
How I got started: After my father's passing, my mother suffered from a prolonged psychotic episode. So I moved back to NYC from LA to take care of her. Since I was the only one in the family with a job due to the recession, I self-taught myself how to create apps during weekends and weeknights in hopes of making some side income. What I didn't expect was that this hobby ended up making much more than my full time job.
How the business is going: A few of my apps have topped the charts. Most recently, an app I created this year became the #1 Lifestyle app just a few months ago. Last year, my sneaker price guide app called "SPG" became the #1 Sports app. My most successful app, "5-0 Radio Police Scanner", is currently the #1 News app and has been and still is one of top downloaded apps since its creation in 2009.
What's new: I've been wheelchair bound for the past half year and am still recovering from surgery for something I was born with. I'm also being patent trolled for an app I created this summer called Remote S for Tesla. But despite all of this, I still try to stay hopeful and giving.
My gift to Redditors: Earlier this year, I co-founded BriefKey, where we spent the whole year developing a keyboard app for iOS called iGIF. It lets you swipe your words using two thumbs, convert your Live Photos to GIFs or .mov videos, predict emojis as you type, send animated stickers, and search/post GIFs as a gif, video, or web link. A part of the reason why I developed the iGIF keyboard was so that I could easily reply to people on Reddit using GIFs on my phone. So that is why, as my gift to Reddit, I am giving away the app for free today. Download here or go on your device and go to igif.co for the App Store link.
Go ahead, ask me anything*.
Verification Proof: My Facebook
*Feedback on the iGIF keyboard is welcome, too.
Edit: I never expected to do this for 17 hours straight and write/read through two thousand comments. But I'm dead tired now and need sleep because of my recovery from surgery. This has been great. Thanks for all the questions!