Safeer Mohiuddin is a nineteen year old developer and the Co-Founder of mezz. Mezz is a real-time hyper local mobile application and platform that allows you to discover and share activities, events, food and other happenings nearby. You can follow him on Twitter @SafeerMohiuddin.
Me: When did you start learning how to program and how did you learn?
Safeer Mohiuddin (SM): I started learning how to program in my freshman year at Monta Vista High School. I took one Java course and then after that I took several other programming courses at the local community college while I was in high school.
Me: What made you interested in learning iOS development?
SM: I got the iPhone when it first came out and it’s been truly amazing to see how far the platform and the apps have come along. I wanted to develop an app that other people would use and I thought it was something achievable in a short amount of time.
Me: How did you think of the idea for mezz? Has the app been successful?
SM: As a kid who has lived in the suburbs my entire life, I always wanted to experience the city life. The city life is always vibrant and there’s always things going on but it’s really hard to find about all that stuff. Over the summer, My friends and I hung out a lot but there were too many times where the conversation would go like What do you wanna do?I don’t know. Repeat that happening like 50 times in one day. Besides Xbox and movies we wanted to find something new to do. Whether it was just a pickup game, music in the park, concerts, new restaurantsâ€¦we just wanted an easy way to find something to do.
We did a soft launch in Mid-November and have a couple thousand users. We are working on making sure we are providing the highest level of quality of local happenings. I believe that we are on a path to major success and that there have been certainly mini-successes that we have achieved. The most important thing at such an early stage is to get user’s feedback and improve and iterate.
Me: How do you manage college and work on Mezz at the same time?
SM: It’s extremely difficult. I tried it for a month and I wasn’t doing my best at school or Mezz. I needed to prioritize the two and dedicate 100% of my time to one. I decided that opportunities like this don’t come too often and took on Mezz full time.
Me: What’s your work setup like and workflow on a given task?
SM: I spend a lot of time thinking about the task before I actually go out and do it simply because as a small startup there is so much to do with so little resources and tasks need to be prioritized.
Me: How do you handle a deadline?
SM: I’m very conscious of deadlines. Obviously things can go wrong and things can take longer but it’s important to stay focused. If working on a task is significantly delaying other tasks than it needs to be reprioritized.
Me: What are your thoughts on Android’s Market potential as an actual sales drive? vs the App Store?
SM: As a developer for both Android and iPhone, the fragmentation on Android in terms of development and the number of different markets is very distracting. It drives focus away from development.
Me: Thoughts on an openvs. a closedOS? What benefits do you think each one brings to a developer?
SM: This is a very feisty debate but as a developer I prefer a closed OS. If users want the highest level of experience on their smartphones than the opportunity must be given to developers to develop something that they can fully control. If there are too many variables in the equation, it is very difficult for developers to be able to develop an app with high quality standards.
Me: Do you think a consumer cares about whether or not the OS they are using is open?
SM: I don’t think they care but that doesn’t mean that they will be affected by it. I think many consumers don’t realize what are the end results of an open’ vs closed’ platform.
Me: If you can share, what cool projects are you working on right now?
SM: Right now I am working only on mezz. Mezz is a real-time hyper local mobile app and platform that allows you to discover activities, events, things to do, food and much more. The content on mezz comes from anyone posting on mezz as well as locally relevant Tweets and other API’s. We envision mezz to be the aggregator of all local content.
In my little spare time, I’m helping a couple other people jumpstart their companies by giving them advice and support.
Me: What are you most proud of?
SM: When I was 16, I started buying and selling iPhones. I made enough money to buy my own car. It was a major personal accomplishment for me because it gave me a sense of ownership and responsibility. It wasn’t about getting a car because I could have easily asked my parents but more of a step towards independence and a start towards an entrepreneurial journey.