Picture this!

Published 12:00 am Monday, July 8, 2013

If you find yourself doodling on scraps of paper or wish you could caption your own photos and post them to your social networking sites, wait no more.
Salisbury natives Steve Bauk, Aaron Goss and Tom Thriveni have got you covered.
The men have created an app called Picture This, which allows users to draw on photos or a blank canvas, then share the pictures and drawings through Facebook, Twitter and email.
The free app was released a few days ago and is now available via the Apple App Store for Apple IOS devices. The developers say it will be available for Android devices.
It can be used on the computer, a tablet and a smartphone.
Bauk, 25, whose family has connections to Cheerwine, now lives and teaches in Winston-Salem. Thriveni, 24, is in venture capital and private equity with a company in Boston. Goss, 30, lives in Salisbury with his wife and is an attorney with Wallace & Graham.
Goss graduated from Catawba College at 16 and taught himself programming. He also has a degree in computer science and worked for eight years in computer programming. Although Goss did not program the app, his background made it easy to relay what the three business partners wanted in their app to the programmers.
Bauk had been working on another app when he reconnected with Goss through their parents, who are friends. Bauk and Thriveni both graduated from Salisbury High School and went on to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Although Goss could have done all of the coding required for the app, they all decided to leave that to someone else.
“Having had a background in computers, it’s easy to write it out and be able to hire a programmer,” Goss said.
When the others had ideas, Goss was also able to say whether the ideas were a possibility before the ideas were sent to the developers, he said.
The men put together a business plan in November and looked through multiple portfolios before they found programmers soon after. The project was delayed and the three found a new team of programmers around February. They connected with web developers in Pakistan who took all of their ideas and made them a reality.
They communicated with programmers via emailed instructions and Skype or video conferencing.
Creating an app was fun, Goss said, but time-consuming. Bauk said it didn’t really feel like work.
“Getting the right balance of simplicity and functionality is much more difficult than it would seem,” Thriveni said. “We’ve spent a lot of time to develop a product that has all the features a customer would want while keeping it user-friendly. It’s much more difficult to replicate than it would seem at first blush.”
The app immediately opens to a blank canvas for drawing. It has large buttons that allow the user to select colors, erase and add text to pictures.
The app is touch-oriented and includes a zoom feature, Bauk said.
Goss said the app will likely appeal to a younger set, but can certainly be used by adults.
Bauk said other drawing apps are available but a perk of the Picture This app is the ability to share it with friends, family and anyone through social media.
“There is still no clear market leader among the apps that enable users to edit and caption photos. Given how easy Picture This makes it to share photos via social media, we think ours has the potential to break away and emerge as a leader,” Thriveni said.
The three business partners say they intended to keep the app simple and user-friendly enough for young and older users of all skill levels.
Bauk said they were drawn to the drawing app because they thought it wouldn’t require too many resources, including time and money. He said they have plenty more ideas, not all necessarily apps, but thought this was a good one to start.
“For now, we want to provide all of our users with an easy, fun experience regardless of how tech savvy they are. And we want to continue to improve our product so that more people can enjoy it,” Thriveni said.
“Parents with young kids can give it to them and let them doodle,” Bauk said.
Both Goss and Bauk said using the app is a fun way to communicate and a good outlet for creativity.
“It has been a lot of work,” Goss said.
When asked if all the hard work will deter him from creating another app, Goss said he would “absolutely” create another app.
The three will have upgrades of the app available as well as other web development projects in the works.
Bauk shifted focus and is now pursuing a master’s degree in information technology and management at UNC-Greensboro. In the beginning, he didn’t know much about coding and programming and now as he furthers his studies, Bauk can understand some of the programming language Goss mentions.
For more information about the Picture This app, visit www.picthisapp.com, Twitter via @picthisapp or Facebook via Picture This App.

Contact reporter Shavonne Potts at 704-797-4253. Twitter: www.twitter.com/salpostpotts Facebook: www.facebook.com/Shavonne.SalisburyPost.