Need weather apparel info? There’s an app for that — from Brookville
BROOKVILLE — It might just have been the best kept secret in Brookville.
But as AGLogic continues to serve more than a million users a day from its office space on Main Street, Brookville, its presence can’t be kept secret any longer.
Last January, when AGLogic developed its first app — swackett (sweater, jacket or coat?) — founder and director C. Scott Gilbert never imagined it would grow into the phenomenon it is today.
“It’s exceeded my wildest dreams,” Gilbert said. “On the first day, we were hoping for 1,000 downloads, and we thought we’d get 10,000 users in the first month or two — that was our expectation.”
But with 30,000 downloads in the first day, Gilbert knew he had something special.
Swackett, which first appeared on the home page of the Mac App Store Jan. 6, 2011, is a different kind of weather app, Gilbert said.
Instead of showing basic rain and cloud weather graphics, swackett shows people, also known as “peeps,” how to dress properly for the weather.
"It clearly stands out as something unique," Gilbert said. "We're showing you what you would normally do with weather information."
For instance, if it's snowing, swackett shows its users a peep dressed in a coat and scarf. Or, if it's slushy, the peep appears dressed in boots, and a user knows not to wear nice shoes or high heels.
And if it's really hot outside, a peep might be shown holding a water bottle and a bottle of sunscreen.
It's what Gilbert and the rest of his staff at AGLogic call a "visual weather report."
"It's refreshing," Gilbert said. "The artwork is brilliant. It's a fun way to look at the weather."
And with its clarity of design, swackett looks better than the competition, Gilbert said, which is something he worried about from the very beginning.
As it was AGLogic’s first app, Gilbert sketched it out and presented it to his team members who thought it was worth taking a risk, but a risk on what platform?
He originally wanted to design it for the Apple iPad, but when Apple founder Steve Jobs announced the opening of the Mac App Store, Gilbert and his team changed direction.
“I knew there were 1,000 other weather apps out there, literally for the iPhone, and not quite as many for the iPad, but I knew it was going to be hard for us to make it work with so many really good weather apps out there,” he said. “So we changed direction and instead focused our resources on developing a Mac app. I thought that would help us break out and get above the noise level.”
And it certainly did.
Wednesday, CNN named swackett as one of the top 50 new tech tools that people should know about. In October 2011, the swackett icon appeared on the front cover of Macworld Magazine and was named as one of the top 49 Mac apps.
In addition, swackett, a free app, has risen to become the No. 1 Mac weather app in 67 countries, with more than one million users worldwide.
“Literally, it’s used all around the world, 24 hours a day,” Gilbert said.
Since the debut of swackett, Gilbert and his team have continued to work tirelessly behind the scenes. To keep the momentum going, Swackett X, a newer, paid version of swackett, which includes all the bells and whistles users have asked for, debuted in the Mac App store over the summer.
The original version of swackett was also made available for the iPhone in November; in two months, a half million iPhone users downloaded swackett.
Swackett fans continue to surface because of the way AGLogic surprises and delights its users — the company does this through swackett easter eggs.
“We came up with a concept, where, once in a while, we’ll throw in an easter egg — a special peep, or set of peeps that commemorates people who inspire us,” Gilbert said. “We’re able to ‘peepify’ famous people.”
Including a very famous figure only 17 miles down the road in Punxsutawney — Punxsy Phil.
“We’ve peeped the groundhog from Punxsutawney,” Gilbert said. “We’re all familiar with Groundhog Day.”
This year in particular, AGLogic is planning a special series of Groundhog Day easter eggs that feature Bill Murray, who starred in the 1993 movie “Groundhog Day.”
“We are big fans of Bill Murray,” Gilbert said.
Although Gilbert and his team members, including key players Bill Hubauer and Mike Zug, both of Brookville, are fans of Groundhog Day, they also wanted a special mascot for themselves, considering they are weather experts as well.
Enter Belle, the llama.
Inspired by a llama farm in New Bethlehem, swackett has adopted a llama.
Sept. 2, Belle is virtually left out of her pen, and if she spits, there are six more weeks of Indian summer. But if she doesn’t spit, an early fall is predicted.
“We wanted something special on our end,” Gilbert said. “Punxsy Phil does weather in Punxsutawney, and we do weather in Brookville.”
Peepifying famous people has become so popular among swackett users, Zug is considered the senior peep artist.
“It’s turned out to be quite a hit with people, so much so that we try to produce a new peep every day,” Gilbert said. “There are fan sites that have sprung up that just feature swackett peeps. It’s a really fun way to see the weather.”
Users of swackett can also get their hands of a variety of editions. A 1950s edition shows how peeps would have dressed 60 years ago — women in poodle skirts and men in letterman jackets.
A new edition, academy peeps, targets high school students and is aimed at that “nerd in high school” who doesn’t know how to dress, Gilbert said.
Although AGLogic will continue to peepify famous people for its very first weather app, the company is also looking toward creating new apps, with the eventual goal to create a portfolio of 12 apps.
According to Gilbert, several ideas are under development. One of the plans is to release a new version, swackett X (version 2.0) for the iPad (native), iPhone and Mac. But he and his team are also looking toward developing a gaming and a medical app, with the hope to add four to five new apps this year.
Gilbert has also seen an increase in the number of iPhone users in the Brookville area, so he’s hoping the word continues to spread from the doors of the company office on Main Street.
“Swackett’s our first app and has done extremely well and is generating more revenue than we thought possible,” he said. “By adding another four or five apps, we will be able to build a thriving business that serves 67 countries around the world from Main Street Brookville,” he said.
“It’s a wonderful thing. We feel blessed. We’re just trying not to screw it up.”