Day One Reflection

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Although I’ve been working on Timmo’s Challenge for over a year and a half now, in some ways today was like “Day 1”. Today was the first day people actually paid to use the app.

A strange week indeed

There was no way I could have anticipated the events of this week when I scheduled the launch of the Boston version of the challenge. I wasn’t planning a huge event – no press releases, no advertising, just basic social media marketing. And that was compounded by a lack of action this week as I tried to decide if I should even go forward with the launch or not. Right up to last night! So I wasn’t expecting much today.

Boston itself was quite amazing today. A lot of people were out. Everyone was in a toned down, but good mood. A big chunk of Boylston Street was still blocked off and crowds looked on as a still large police presence continued their investigations.

Team Highlights

Team YOLOMama, consisting of my wife, my daughter, and my daughter’s boyfriend started off okay enough. They finished Level 1 easy enough, but then the problems started. They got confused about which steps and level they were on (TC Tip: Don’t let a 16 year old control the directions in an unfamiliar city) and then took a long route around the blocked off streets. The extra walking got them tired out early and they were only able to get through the first step of level 3.

Team “Apple Store”, consisting of my friend Hank and my son Caleb started off after Team YOLOMama, but passed them when they got lost. They were able to get through the end of level 3.

No team made it to level 4 – Beacon Hill.

Store Highlights

I stayed back at the Microsoft store and talked to store employees and customers about the app. A few purchased it right away and others looked forward to doing it when they had more time. I got some great feedback on the concept and some good suggestions for future changes.

The store was really busy. It was great to see the momentum for Windows Phone and new Windows 8 devices, especially the Surface.

Great Support

I got some great support from Eliza and Alison from Microsoft. They were really excited about the app and did a great job of talking it up to customers.

It was also great to see Lance McCarthy, a Nokia ambassador, who came and hung out with me all day. He is really passionate about what he’s doing and it shows. He is working on some really cool stuff too!

And I was especially grateful for the support of my wife Deb, my kids, and my good friend Hank. They were exhausted by the end of the day, but still smiling. So I guess that was a good thing.

Now on to analyze my next steps and keep moving the needle with app downloads!


Boston Challenge Update

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Well traffic is light this morning in Boston as I expected. But we do have some teams out on the challenge. I’ll update this post with player updates throughout the day.

1:39 pm: YOLOMama has retaken the points lead. The teams are tiring though. Lets see if any can finish.

11:45 am: Uh oh… Nokia Ambassador Lance McCarthy has entered the challenge. Let’s see if he can catch up to the other teams. 🙂

11:26 am: Apple Store has taken the lead. Grrr. YOLOMama got totally lost going into level 2 and is just now starting it.

10:47 am:  YOLOMama is still leading. Apple Store is catching up… darn. Weather is getting warmer!

10:27 am – YOLOMama is in the lead with 367 points! My friend Hank who used the player name “Apple Store” is in last place. Which he should stay with a lame name like that.

Boston Challenge Still On

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At this point we are still scheduled to launch the Boston Challenge tomorrow, April 20th at the Microsoft Store at the Prudential Center.

We will have Windows Phones for those that do not have them and want to try the app out.

Here is the schedule:

-10 am we will be doing an intro to the app and doing a Q&A
-10:30 am players or teams will head out to see how far they can go
-3 pm we will meet back at the Microsoft Store for giveaways and refreshments

Hopefully we will also be celebrating the end of this horrible week in Boston.

Questions can be sent to

Boston Challenge Update

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The situation in Boston is very fluid right now and the launch event scheduled for Saturday is questionable.

If the Prudential Center is open at 10 am on Saturday then the event will go on as scheduled. If it is closed we will post a new date once we get one.

Continuing on with purpose

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In the afternoon of Monday April 15th 2013 I was driving with my kids from Connecticut, where we live, to my sister’s house in Pennsylvania. It was during the drive that we heard about the tragic events in Boston at the Marathon. We were only hearing bits and pieces of information on the radio as we sat in traffic in New York and New Jersey. But it brought back memories of hearing news about 9/11, Sandy Hook, and other senseless tragedies we have experienced in our corner of the world in recent years. A sense of helplessness.

If those other events taught me anything about how to deal with the most recent issue, is that we all need to continue on with more love, happiness, and kindness to overwhelm the grief. To engulf it with ten times more positive energy and not let these lunatics create fear or anger amongst us.

That is why I have decided to continue on with the launch of Timmo’s Challenge Boston this Saturday. The Boston version skirts the very street that this terrible event happened. But it also winds its way throughout the rest of the great city of Boston. I think that anyone willing to take on the Boston Challenge will help to show the resilience and strength of the city.

But we also wanted to add that extra positive energy into the launch event. So we’ve decided to donate all proceed from this app to The One Fund, a fund created by Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick and Boston Mayor Tom Menino to help the people most effected by the explosions. We will donate every single dollar we earn from the challenge to The One Fund, even if people don’t actually take the challenge themselves.

You can download the app for $4.99 from the Windows Phone Store here…

Boston Challenge

We will still offer the practice version of the app as well for free for those that want to try out the first two levels Boston Challenge. You can download that version here…

And we will still be holding the Launch Party at the Microsoft Store at the Prudential Center at 10 am on Saturday. We will be doing a quick tutorial, answering questions, and then people can go out and try out the app for themselves. Then at 3 pm we will meet back at the store for refreshments and feedback. We’ll have giveaways and a raffle or two. You can RSVP to the launch party here…

Coventry Launching Too

Also immediately available is the Historic Coventry version of Timmo’s Challenge that takes place in my home town of Coventry, Connecticut. This app can be downloaded for FREE from the Windows Phone Store here…

Coventry Challenge

This is a fun way to learn about how Timmo’s Challenge works. It is set in a small town, not a city like the rest of the challenges. And it has levels at historic locations and town parks throughout the town.

If you have any questions about these or other Timmo’s Challenge locations please contact me.

Excellence in Music


I spent this past weekend in Boston with my son, Caleb. It was really great to spend the whole weekend with him since I was gone the whole month of March.

Originally we were going to go up and work on levels for Timmo’s Challenge Boston. But then we learned that Berklee was having their spring open house Saturday morning. Caleb really wants to go to Berklee so we added that to the agenda.

Berklee College of Music - Boston

Berklee College of Music – Boston

Berklee is known world wide as the best music college there is. I was really able to learn why during the open house and tours. It reminded me of AppCademy when Pekka talked about design excellence. Berklee strives for excellence from their school and in particular all of it’s students. From the faculty to the facilities the place was impressive. They produce the best because they have built a community of people that all strive to be the best at what they do.

The three things that impressed me the most about the school were:

1 – You do not choose a major until after your first two semesters. This seems smart to me because most freshman in college do not really have an idea of what they want to do for the rest of their life. Berklee exposes freshman to a variety of careers in music so that when they are asked to choose a major they are able to make an informed decision.

2 – They focus on careers from day one. Berklee doesn’t just churn out diploma, they bring their students into the industry right away and help them build a career in music. This, as a parent, is important because music isn’t usually something you would think of for your kids as a secure and stable profession.

3 – Over 25% of Berklee’s students are international students. After spending time in Finland with guys from around the world it has become even more important to me that my kids are exposed to the world outside of the US. We are rapidly becoming a global society and if US kids do not realize this now, they will when they are competing for jobs later in life.

After the open house Caleb and I had a great day capturing more levels in Boston. I learned a lot more about Boston than I had in my previous trips there. And it was great to experience it with Caleb and see him enjoying the process of building this thing with me.

Trinity Church

Trinity Church

Caleb tested a couple of my existing levels, including level 2 which starts at Trinity Church in Copley Square.

State House

State House

We went through the Public Gardens and Boston Commons and then headed towards Beacon Hill.

Love the wavy brick streets of Beacon Hill

Love the wavy brick streets of Beacon Hill

Some of the best New England residential architecture for sure.

This copper accent was even more amazing in person

This copper accent was even more amazing in person

We headed towards the Charles River using a footbridge over Storrow Drive.

Footbridge over Storrow Drive

Footbridge over Storrow Drive

Caleb really enjoyed seeing the sites

Caleb really enjoyed seeing the sites

We walked along the Charles River and got some of the best clues for the next level of Boston. This level is going to be one of the best so far.

Warm day

Warm day

Sailboat Races in the background

Sailboat Races in the background

Overall this was such a great father-son experience. I hope we get to do it a lot more in the future. And I hope I am able to teach him that doing his best at anything he attempts is worth it – whether it be at Berklee or any other college.