The following excerpts are from a Microsoft Press Pass. The full text can be found here.
Rowi may sound like some kind of rare New Zealand bird (which actually, it is) but it’s also a popular new Twitter app for Windows Phone created by two Microsoft employees. The moonlight creation of Erik Porter and Nathan Heskew, Rowi was developed to fully tap the social networking capabilities of the Windows Phone. Rowi lets Twitter users receive push notifications, and supports right-to-left (RTL) languages, the ability to pin Tweets to the Windows Phone start screen, and easier messaging and photo previews.
So why build an app for Twitter? Porter was originally not a fan of the concept of Twitter, and dismissed it as “public texting,” continuing instead to maintain his personal blog. “As you start using it, you realize we’re all lazy beings. I actually barely blog anymore, Twitter makes it easier to communicate,” Porter says.
Heskew says he is more of a Twitter reader than a Tweeter.
“I mainly use it to keep up on things, and more recently just to chat with folks and to coordinate things,” he says. For example, he used Twitter to navigate and communicate on a recent trip to the South by Southwest Music Conference and Festival (SXSW).
While it’s exciting to build a successful app, it requires a lot of work and balance, they say.
“We’ve actually wanted to build other apps, but this thing has sort of taken over. We both have busy day jobs – for two and a half months Nathan was unable to work on Rowi at all, and I’ll have a week here and a week there where I can’t touch it,” Porter says. “For the most part, our users have been really patient with us. We’re honest with them, and we try to stay in constant contact. We want them to feel like we’re there for them all the time. Except not all the time, because we both have families.”
Though building, maintaining and improving Rowi has kept them busy, they both like Windows Phone and want to help the platform in any way that they can, they say. They have also enjoyed stretching their app- and business-building legs.
“The big thing is to do it,” Heskew says, of their moonlight developing. “People always talk about starting things, but never actually do it. Just start.”