Press article in the French newspaper Corse-Matin about iCorsica for iPhone, iPod Touch & iPad, on September 6th, 2011.
Nicolas Spehler, a young prodigy who turns his dreams into apps
Just under sixteen, the French high school student is the youngest Apple developer in France. Teaming up with a friend, he just designed a tourist guide for Corsica. It seems there are people who immediately know what their mission in life is. They just keep going without getting lost on back roads littered with mistakes and experiments. They simply know, the lucky devils. Keen eye, quick phrasing, and easy chat. At sixteen, Nicolas Spehler distills his expertise with unyielding determination.
As we asked what kind of kid he was, he replied « The kind that loves computers ». One may believe he was born an Internet-savvy wiz. « I created my first website at nine and my first application on November 24, 2010 », he utters without bragging, smiling as he lets out well-oiled speeches. Indeed, he is clearly fond of high-impact slogans: « What I enjoy most about this adventure is opening an access worldwide ».
« Highlighting Corsica »
We find him in a downtown coffee shop, a few days before school starts. His goal: « Promote his iCorsica application ». A native of Mulhouse, the teen leads the conversation, as an all-knowing VRP would do. « It came out of my meeting with Catherine Lehmann, who had the idea of creating a tourist guide to Corsica as a tablet and smartphone application », explains Nicolas. « The aim is to highlight Corsica, its history, heritage, traditions and gastronomy ».
Results can’t be more compelling so far. Over 300 downloads and counting in no time. Designed as an extremely dynamic application, it is kept current via daily content updates.
« This is undoubtedly one of the major differentiators of iCorsica over paper guides », he hastens to clarify. In addition, the app supports GPS positioning and an audio guide system that
« as you approach a site, provide a detailed commentary on its history and characteristics », adds Nicolas, who should take pride in the six apps under his belt* and being the youngest apps designer in France for Apple. For all his efforts, he has not hit a goldmine yet. In any case, he will not tell how the app is faring revenue-wise. On this point, the future entrepreneur clarifies: « I’m not doing this for money but just for fun ».
Resourceful, with the right amount of ambition and business sense, Nicolas Spehler has already created six applications for smartphone and tablet… The latest one, named iCorsica, is a tour guide whose content is updated daily.
« Earn your bachelor’s first! »
And as he ventures out of business talk, he is equally at home. He talks about golf, a sport he practiced a lot in his early youth.
« I was ranked 20 », he quips before admitting that he barely has « any time off these days ».
While his personal drive and passion helped craft his current success, this did not happen overnight or by sheer chance. « Getting here takes a long time. Just for this last application, I worked really hard twelve hours a day, all summer long », he says. A true full-time work for this French high school student who enters into final ES this Friday and claims to put aside his dreams for a while « to concentrate on his bachelor’s and enter a business school ». And last not but least, to please his parents who keep repeating « Earn your bachelor’s first! ».*His applications : Pieta Photography, The CookBook, The CookBook HD, Campus Richter – Université de Montpellier, Les Nuits de la Guitare and iCorsica.
- Éric Capomaccio