By: Richard Partheymuller II
“Here’s to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the round pegs in the square holes… The ones who see things differently — they’re not fond of rules… You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them, but the only thing you can’t do is ignore them because they change things… They push the human race forward, and while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius, because the ones who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones who do.”
Steve Jobs certainly lived a fruitful life. Many consider the Apple Inc. founder to be the epitome of the American dream. A man who came to be successful after continually driving himself toward the ideas that are now synonymous with his name. The merit was gathered through all of the hard work and planning of one man. When Jobs passed away in 2011, Apple Inc. found trouble in the fact that they just simply could not replace their founder. The intelligence and the ambition that Jobs exhibited are also synonymous with him, because there was only one person who defied the odds to effectively live his dreams. That ambition and drive are what bring people from the planning stages, right passed the naysayers, and straight over the expectations of others.
Big goals come from determined people, for sure.
One young man from Wayne, New Jersey, has set out to put his goal into the hands of every college student in America. John Rondi, 21, has been working hard to prepare his tutoring app, “Stunited” for its maiden launch on August 10, 2017.
Rondi plans on hosting a celebration for the launch that night, where all in attendance will download the app once it becomes available on the App Store at 10pm. For those who know Rondi, and those who know what kind of app Stunited is, this is certainly a cause for celebration.
The app is built around the concept of “students helping students” in which student users can come into contact with other students who are in need of academic help. A user can open up the app and tailor their profile to display what areas and subjects they need tutoring assistance with. In a bartering-style fashion, the user can also display their strengths as well on their profiles. This information in profiles will help students determine if they would be willing to strike a partnership with them. After deciding, users can then contact each other directly to work out arrangements. Through these means, Rondi hopes to help students struggling with course material to find help a lot easier.
Rondi knows from experience that getting ahold of that help is easier said than done. A senior finance major at Rowan University in Glassboro, N.J., Rondi has a mind geared toward logical and mathematical thinking. On the other hand, Rondi has experienced trouble with writing essays, particularly one that was due for his English class during his sophomore year of college. He recalls staying up late to work on the paper, and deciding that it would be in his best interest to get help. He had no luck finding help online or locating a tutor.
“I reached out to one of my friends from across the hall, who I knew she was pretty good with writing. I explained to her the situation, I said “listen, I’m really struggling right now, I could really use your help. Would you mind helping me out?” She said “John, I’d really love to help, but the problem is I’m up now doing my calc homework,”” Rondi said.
Rondi then came up with a means to ease both of their pain.
“I said “well you know, I’m pretty good with math. Maybe we could solve assignments. I could help you with your math and you could help me with my writing,” Rondi said. “We went on for several weeks and we continued to do this whole kind of bartering and exchanging of information skills, and I liked the idea so much that I kind of did it with other students as well.”
Spring-boarding from these experiences, Rondi began morphing the concept into a business. Before he knew it, Rondi was tweaking out ideas for what a student-generated academic app would physically look like. Rondi said that computer and app coding are not skills that are particularly prominent for him. So, he set out to find people who could help put the skeleton of the app together. In late-August of last year, Rondi hired the Brooklyn app agency, App Partner, to help him with developing the app. From there, the agency worked with Rondi to create the internal layout and overall presentation of the app, as well as its logo.
When it was done with basic design and functionality, Rondi was ready to bring his bona fide app to the public’s attention. He did this by entering into Rowan’s Rohrer Business Model Competition on April 8, 2017, where he would go on to bring home a competition win, as well as a $2,000 prize. This victory gave Rondi even more fuel for his ambition to make Stunited into an app that would help more students.
As far as the business end of the app goes, Rondi looks to other social-matching apps for inspiration, such as Tinder and Bumble. According to Rondi, the app is completely free, and he plans on keeping it that way. The plan as of now is to bring in as many students as possible to download and use the app. Looking down the road, Rondi said that he wants to steer clear of a model that relies on advertisements to make money. Rondi hopes that he could possibly partner with a larger app/technology company such as Chegg to sponsor Stunited.
That isn’t Rondi’s main goal, of course. Rondi has big ambitions for his creation. Since winning the competition, Rondi has enlisted the help of friends to serve as ambassadors and sales representatives for Stunited. Outreach and bringing more attention to the app are huge priorities for Rondi. The effort Rondi has put into this venture go to show just how passionate he is about his app and the effects it could have.
“I saw a need for this and I decided to go “why not?” Why not go through with this and make it into something that I could truly believe can be successful. You know, I don’t see this as being just a quick way to make money or anything like that. I truly believe that this is going to be an app that’s going to be used by every college student in America. Once I decided that, I was like “I’m going to pursue this,” Rondi said.
Rondi’s enthusiasm doesn’t go ignored, that is certain. Rondi’s friends have been aiding and supporting him through this venture. Sebastian Hull, 20, also from Wayne, N.J., is a finance major at Rowan University just like Rondi. Hull and Rondi have been close friends since high school, having been teammates for football and wrestling. Hull has respect for Rondi’s ambition.
“John is hungry, you know, and he has this great idea here and I know he’s a smart guy and he’s got a good mentality. He wants to succeed and I think that’s a pretty good idea to help him out along the way. He’s definitely one of the few people I know that could get this done, in my opinion. So, I think it’s a good fit,” Hull said.
With that fire in his belly, Rondi has set his sails for August 10. He’s hungry, eager, and thrilled to finally see the launch of Stunited…
….And beyond that, of course.