Startup Interview: Devan Stormont of Weather Route
Background: Weather Route is an app that displays what the weather will be at any given stage from your present position to your destination, based on when you’re expected to be there.
Hello, Devan. Thank you for
joining me for this interview. Why don’t we start by having you give a
little background about yourself?
Hi Trevor, it’s my pleasure to join
you. I’m a software engineer at a mid-size company here in Reno, where I’m
heavily involved with product development and internal training. On the side, I
wrote a little app
called Weather Route.
What inspired you to create the
Weather Route App?
Two winters ago, I had plans to visit
my out-of-state parents for Christmas. A large weather system moved in that
wasn’t completely a “bad storm”. It had areas of being clear, but
they would shift around as the weather system moved. I tried for a while to
plan a road trip through the storm, but getting information about which roads
were clear and which were not was almost impossible from existing weather
sites, especially when long hours of driving were factored in.
Eventually, I gave up and canceled my
plans for the trip. But, Weather Route was born!
Currently, Weather Route is limited to
the United States. Do you have plans to expand to International Markets?
Yes. I just completed a big overhaul
in the weather forecasting that will allow the app to work internationally.
I’ve begun rolling this out to some foreign markets.
I understand you’re coming off some
pretty significant gains in membership after this holiday season. What can
you tell me about that?
Absolutely! This was a very exciting
winter for me. Once the weather started turning bad, I began getting very
consistent user growth – about 12% user growth a week, very regularly, almost
like clockwork. By the time that had slowed down with the winter trailing off,
I had 5x as many users as I’d started with.
Reno has been getting some buzz lately
for a number of tech startups in the area, how does it feel to be a part of
this movement and have you had a chance to work with any other entrepreneurs in
It’s very exciting to see the local
tech industry growing with such momentum. I haven’t been as involved as I
should be, but I have participated in a couple of hackathons (the annual Space
Apps Challenge). That has been a great way to meet other entrepreneurs and see
what they’re working on. Colin Loretz at the Reno Collective, Eric Jennings at
Pinocc.io, and Joe Chavez (who runs the local Space Apps Challenge) are each
fantastic local entrepreneurs.
Will Weather Route be available in
Yes. Right now, it is English-only,
but I am planning on providing multiple languages, if the international version
picks up well.
How can I find Weather Route?
The app is available on Google Play
Just type in “Weather Route” and it will pop
What kind of users make up your core
demographic and what markets are you trying to expand into?
I wrote the app to target vacationers,
originally. What took me by surprise was the number of truckers that have
started to use it. One thing I’d like to do is target that segment more with
Can you tell me any future plans for
We’ve already touched on a couple
areas – expanding to international markets and providing localization for other
languages. I’m also examining porting the app over to the iPhone, as well. I’ve
gotten some requests from coworkers to do so, indicating that the demand is
Customer satisfaction is arguably the
core reason apps exist. How do you keep your customers satisfied and do
customer suggestions affect the development of future versions of the app?
I pay very close attention to what my
users are telling me. Some of the best ways to get users impassioned about your
product is when they complain to you about a problem or a missing feature and you
go above-and-beyond in response. There’s always some part of code I’d like to
fix or some new feature I’d like to put in, but I take a “drop
everything” approach with user feedback. If a user reports a problem, I’ll
hunker down until it’s fixed. And if I start to hear about a wanted feature
from two or three users, you can bet I’m working on implementing it!
Ultimately, it’s users who drive
adoption of an app forward. If a developer gets in the way of that adoption,
they’re only hurting themselves. Plus, it’s just great to hear directly from
users that you’ve fixed their issue!
Thank you for taking the time to
answer some questions, now get back to work!