Aggie turns app development into side job
Published: Tuesday, February 15, 2011
Updated: Wednesday, July 25, 2012 22:07
Brice Milliorn Class of 2002 is the creator of these popular apps, is not your typical programmer. With no prior technological experience, Milliorn taught himself the basics of programming through books and online resources, and sells 670,000 apps.
The full-time financial adviser for Edward Jones published his first application for the Apple iPhone less than two years ago. The creator of such celebrated apps such as "Prank Me" and "iSpy" never expected to be the owner of his own business, JBMJBM, LLC.
He credits part of his success to his time at A&M and his degree in agribusiness. Though he took no programming classes, he uses the business skills he picked up in classes to assist him in designing and marketing apps.
"Having a business degree certainly helps when trying to sell apps," Milliron said. "Texas A&M taught me how to run a business, and having classmates who've started their own businesses helps, too."
Milliorn's success has inspired students with dreams of entrepreneurship, such as John Tee, sophomore anthropology major and creator of several T-shirt designs sold on Zazzle.com.
"His story teaches me I can do something I like and actually make money. For example, I did computer graphics in high school and was able to sell the designs online," Tee said.
Tee first learned about Milliorn when using "Prank Me." The app, once ranked 94th on iTune's top downloads list, features voices of characters such as a police dispatcher and debt collector, and lets users construct humorous situations, which are then sent on to friends.
"I found it very, very amusing," Tee recalls. "It literally made me laugh out loud."
But despite achieving national recognition, Milliorn has even higher aspirations.
"My goal is to be listed in the Aggie 100," he said.
The Aggie 100 is an annual list which documents the 100 fastest-growing and most successful businesses owned or operated by graduates of Texas A&M. Published by the Mays Business School, it requires a company to demonstrate continued success for at least five years. Though Milliorn's two-year old business certainly has a way to go, he is optimistic.
"With Verizon starting to carry the iPhone, I expect business to go up significantly," he said.
Milliorn expects to adjust to the expansion of the app market by creating new apps. He currently releases a new app roughly once per month, and is constantly on the lookout for new opportunities to make an app.
"Sometimes an idea just pops into my mind, like when I'm driving on the highway," Milliorn explained. "But usually, I see an app on the market that I think lacks some important elements, so I improve on it."
One of the products of this method is Milliorn's iPhone application Geolerts. Geolerts, which allows users to program notifications to come up at various landmarks tracked by a GPS signal, such as "buy milk" at a grocery store, was born out of Milliorn's frustration with similar but inferior apps.
As long as Milliorn continues to have ideas for new and improved apps, he hopes to continue publishing them. Milliorn has refused several offers from people seeking to buy JBMJBM, though he plans to eventually sell the company to devote more time to his family and career at Edward Jones.
To those at A&M hoping to one day develop a business, Milliorn has one recommendation.
"If you put your mind to it, you can figure out anything. Just follow your passion."