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Background and History - RowStat Lite

Where did the wave come from?
Jim Hunter was President/Representative Director for a Japanese software company. He found the woodblock print by the Japanese artist Hokusai. An example of ukiyo-e art, it was published sometime between 1830 and 1833 (during the Edo Period), at the National Museum in Tokyo. Jim bought a copy, of the wood block print, at the museum store, framed it and it's in his home. 

Over time the wave concept was used by him to design his his company's logo and he even has the Google Voice number 408-905-WAVE (9283).

Where did the green Android icon come from?
Google requires or recommends several different graphics for a Google App placed on Google Play. The size range is from an icon on the phone setting screen to a large 500 x 500 pixel graphic. Jim wanted to use a simple recognizable icon, that also represented the rowing sport, as well as using the Google Android. Several versions later the RowStat "Rowbot" was created. Obviously rowing a stylized shell. Obviously for the Rowbot, "Need to row faster?" is a good motto. 

Where did the idea for an Android App for the rowing sport?
Jim and Barrie worked together at a Silicon Valley Company, Barrie was Canadian Manager and Jim worked in a variety of positions (Director OEM Marketing & Sales, VP Business Development, VP Marketing and Sales). They stayed in touch over the years since and in late 2010 during a phone conversation Barrie mentioned the OaRATER and wanting to do a successor, with several new features, being asked for by his distributors. Jim asked Barrie if he had thought about using an Android smart phone, instead of doing tooling for molds, micro-controller and doing another smarter iteration.  Which still may happen, in addition to the Android Apps.

Where did Alan Solis come from?
A young man named Bill Fetzner worked for me at a software company, located in Los Angeles that developed TCP/IP protocol stacks, Bill eventually became the NW (USA) District Sales Manager, based in San Jose. We had lunch, in late 2010 at Buck's and I was explaining the idea of using a smart phone as a platform to build specialized Apps like Rowing on. He asked if I was looking for a technical contributor and proceed to give Alan a "Glowing" referral  as an excellent Tennis player and by the way a very creative programmer. Alan and I talked and we agreed to do a partnership for the development of an Android App for Rowing. The objectives were straight forward, while there was a small short term economic motive, it was obvious the market niche was very specialized and somewhat limited. The programming was challenging because we started at Android version 2.2 we're now at version 4.1........ The amount of change is amazing and we continue to be pleasently surprised that we are "mostly" compatible with most versions...thanks to Alan.....and we're waiting for the shoe to drop, as Google continues to evolve and develop Android!

The Reasons to Develop an Android App called "RowStat"?
  • An opportunity to actually do the entire process of designing, developing, marketing and distributing an Android App.
  • An opportunity to develop an App which uses more of the sensors and communication capabilities, in an Android phone platform.
  • Barrie Robinson's personal experience in the sport and as a coach, as well as the developer of OaRATER.
  • The Android Rowing App had the potential advantage of distribution through Barrie's existing specialized rowing distributors, world wide.
  • The potential beyond education and experience of possibly some sales is the demonstrated ability to provide other companies custom Android Apps as a consulting service.
Where did the product name "RowStat" come from?
There were many discussions "OaRATER 2" was proposed, as were other names. Finally the facts were the App was for rowing and a feature was the collecting, saving and uploading the data collected to a PC or Mac for analysis and graphing. The key being the ability to objectively compare the performance of crews, coxswains and equipment over time and when changes were made. Ah ha! sounds like statistics.............. and RowStat was born, it also helped the domain name was available. The current generation of marketers call that building a "brand identity".

"and everyone lived happily ever after"................
Tom Birmingham was part of the original team. Tom is a talented musician and programmer who lived in Truckee, CA. Presently living in Los Angeles. Shortly after we began talking of products and naturally music Apps featured in our discussions. Several ideas were discussed one of which really excited Tom. he decided that his interest was in doing a music App, but for Google TV. we decided to go separate ways Alan and I focused on completing the Android rowing App and Tom began development of a music oriented App. Which I'm happy to say is making progress-Go Tom!

As development progressed Alan wanted to get some in person experience with rowing and in particular coaching. He met a rowing coach named Patrick Lynch.   Patrick was generous he looked at the App and suggested that some added features might be useful to coaches. Alan implemented the GPS Split and GPS screens, as a result of several visits to practices and some discussions.

Time dragged on a bit as both Alan and I had personal issues and the need to make a living, a bit at least. When you bootstrap a technical product with minimal resources, everything causes schedule slips..............so finally in early September 2012 we finally got RowStat uploaded to Google Play (aka Market).

Alan, Barrie and Jim are looking at other new products and features for OaRATER and RowStat. Visit this website or our RowStat blog. 

What's next?
We're working on an automatic stroke detection feature using the built in accelerometer in many Android phones. We're hoping for some suggestions from RowStat Lite that will gives some idea of what features are desired by most users. Drop us a note at info@rowstat.com