THIS TEEN IS SAVING LIVES BY PREVENTING TEXTING AND DRIVING
When I did a blog post interview with the teenage entrepreneur Caleb Maddox a couple of months ago, I was pretty confident that he was unique. Now another teenage entrepreneur has appeared out of nowhere. My first reaction was not to do the interview, because where would I stop? I could see myself talking to teenage entrepreneurs for the rest of my life. One forgets the Law of Big Numbers on the Internet at one’s peril.
But as I dug into what Allan is up to a little more deeply, the cause seemed so good that I couldn’t resist. Why? Allan has designed an app for the mobile phone that prevents teens (anyone, really) from texting while driving. Now I don’t commute every day, but when I do, what I see is easily half my fellow drivers looking down at their cell phones while hurtling in a 2,000-pound chunk of metal and plastic in a forward direction at approximately 60 miles per hour. That’s scary.
So if an app can help make the highways safer, and specifically for teens, then I’m all for it. I have a granddaughter who just started driving, and I want her to live for a long, long time, so I’ll be getting her this app.
That’s your cue, Allan.
Allan Maman is a junior in high school. He’s 16 years old. He’s created this app, Safe Ride, for Android/Google, that saves lives. How? Here’s how Allan describes it: “You’re driving down the road and you get a text from your friend. However, you being the responsible citizen, you can’t check your phone and respond to them. Yet, at the same time you definitely do not want to leave your friend thinking that you’re annoying them (by not responding). So when my application is turned on, it has an automated response to tell your friend that you are driving.”
Allan got to the final stage of Shark Tank Casting with the app before being eliminated. But that didn’t stop him from launching it without Shark Tank’s help.
Nick Morgan: What gave you the idea for the app, Allan?
Allan Maman: I’m currently in the 11th grade with a not-so-strong GPA. The beginning of last summer, I realized that I wanted to do something more useful than just being a standard kid. I taught myself how to code and hired developers from India to put together a qualified team. I then decided to create the app, Safe Ride. Safe Ride isn’t some game, it’s an application that saves lives. It does this by preventing texting and driving. It’s currently on the play store. I had learned in health class and read online on how many people were killed/injured from distracted driving. Since I was only a few months away from gaining my driving permit, I looked for a viable solution to minimize my driving problems. There were similar concepts out there; however, the one trend I noticed was that every other app was either spammed with ads, glitchy, or was confusing. I thought, “Hey, why not just keep this as simple as a light switch where on is on and off is off?”
Morgan: What gave you the confidence – and the knowledge — that you could do this?
Maman: I gained the confidence to do this by telling myself a few things. First, the app not only would this benefit me, but many other users. Second, I had the idea, why not execute it? What could I possibly have been doing that would be more productive in June than this? Not to mention, it would allow me to be taken more seriously for networking and if there was a possibility it was bought out, I could fund future projects.
I learned direct advice from resources like books and YouTube videos. I know that I’ve always had a drive for something like this since a young age, but I was never taught from anyone what entrepreneurship really is. The fact that there are so many free resources out there to learn and get advice is amazing. I would suggest for any kids reading this that if you have the drive and motivation for money you should take advantage of what’s out there and learn more about entrepreneurship.
Morgan: Tell us about your heroes – who inspires you?
Maman: If I had to consider just one person a hero it would be Elon Musk. He’s someone who never stops innovating and truly means the best for humanity. I love his entrepreneurial advice and not to mention, he’s got a pretty good sense of humor. Now besides Musk, guys like Travis Kalanick and Chris Sacca inspire me too. Travis has the mentality of making aspects of life easier for everyone and has dealt with lots of controversy and things like overcoming mafia driven taxi companies (and now Apple). Chris is a pretty cool guy who connects with lots of people and tells it how it is. I really enjoy the fact that he is very real because we don’t have a lot of that nowadays. Not only that, he and his company invest in things that can benefit the future in positive ways.
Morgan: What does the future hold for Allan Maman?
Maman: I hope that I can keep on innovating and making more money as I go. This summer I will be working out of NYC in a shared office with my co-founders Cooper Weiss and Jordan Berger and we will keep on doing whatever we can to our best ability.
Other than that, I hope that if I go to college to try to work in as many places as possible. Not just for the money but for the experience. I want to be able to experience as many things earlier in life so I can start becoming more productive after that instead of waiting for things to experience.