Homework, work from home working well for KC transplant Rodrigo Neri
Rodrigo Neri made his way to the U.S. in 2005 to play college basketball, but after suffering an injury his sophomore year, he found his passion to be behind the laptop versus on the court. Photo from facebook.com.
Rodrigo "Rigo" Neri, a Brazilian native who made his way to the Kansas City nearly seven years ago, has a knack for working at home, or more appropriately, homework.
"I have fun creating new things," Neri, the maker of myHomework mobile app by night and a senior software engineer at Cerner Corporation by day, said in an email interview yesterday, "so while some people are at home playing video games or are out partying in the weekends like maniacs, I'm usually at home (or a coffee shop) coding and designing things, so to me work is a hobby at the same time."
When he arrived in the U.S. as a 17-year-old, however, coding wasn't his hobby, instead it was basketball. "The only thing I really cared about was basketball and how to succeed at it," Neri, who was recruited to play the sport at Park University in Kansas City, writes on his personal site.
"During my sophomore year," Neri writes, "my life changed a bit."
Or a lot. He broke his arm, lost his athletic scholarship and found himself with time on his hands and no hobby to occupy it. "After seven years of playing basketball I found a new hobby and occupation," Neri writes. "I noticed that I was doing really well on my programming classes, so I started dedicating most of my extra time designing and developing apps."
Four years and an iPhone, Android and web app later, Neri's most successful app, myHomework, an app that helps students keep track of their homework, classes and projects (for example, left, it notifies a user when something is due), has surpassed the 1 million download mark, recorded downloads in 150 countries and established a revenue stream.
"About a year ago me, Ryan Niemeyer and Keith Entzeroth got together and decided to make myHomework bigger than what it was," Neri said in the email interview. "So about 7 months ago we released a new version of the iPhone app, an Android app and the website with the sync feature. We decided to keep the apps for free but with the 99 cents in-app purchase for the ability to use the website and sync."
Today, myHomework has 10,000 paying users.
A new assignment: Spint.ly
Neri, who has two other apps in the App Store, recently picked up a second gig to fill his hours at home after reading a tweet from Joe Stump, former lead architect of Digg and co-founder of SimpleGeo.
Stump's tweet was a call for contract work on his new project, Sprint.ly, a self-described "innovative new way to manage products."
"So I sent him an email saying that I would do the work in return for a tweet about myHomework," Neri said, "he liked the idea and asked me to give it a shot."
Over a weekend, Neri wrote a full web app with a working prototype and sent to off to Stump – "[Stump] and his co-founder loved it," Neri said. "After that they asked me if I wanted to continue working with them and in return Joe would do some advising for myHomework, which I agreed to."
Stump continued: "Rodrigo has a great design eye, as well. He's also a great person. I expect great things from Rodrigo in the future as he possesses all of the core assets of a rock star developer. It's all about continuing to learn and grow from here."
Neri said he's spending a few hours every week working with Spint.ly, and added, "The prototype I worked on that weekend turned into the dashboard of Sprint.ly."
Photo Credit: Photo of Stump by Scott Beale / Laughing Squid.