Words of Wisdom from a 12-Year-Old App Developer

Ethan Duggan launched his fifth mobile app at South by Southwest offshoot V2V.

Ethan Duggan at V2V. | Photo by Nicole Ely

Ethan Duggan at V2V. | Photo by Nicole Ely

Wearing a smile and a T-shirt that read “I’m 12. Ask me about the apps I’ve developed,” Henderson resident Ethan Duggan launched his new mobile app Bargument at the South by Southwest offshoot V2Vthis week. The app, the fifth he’s developed, creates a fake Wikipedia page after a user types in any subject. You know, to win an argument … in a bar.

To Duggan, coding is the substitute for sports. The preteen, who owned a laptop at the age of 2, taught himself to code during the summer break between fifth and sixth grades. He got the idea for his first app,Lazy Husband, while reciting encouraging comments to his mother while she was trying on outfits. (The app plays back sentences like, “It doesn’t make you look fat” and, “You look nice.”) Now there’s a Lazy Kid and a Lazy Wife (only available on Android, because, as Ethan puts it, Apple doesn’t believe there are lazy wives.)

Now, the revenue from downloads is being tucked away in a college fund while Ethan pursues more app ideas. Although Rick Duggan, Zappos’ director of website systems and Ethan’s father, declined to reveal the amount of revenue, he did say it would pay for a car. Well, “a small car.”

So what are important tips for aspiring app developers? Ethan, who has participated in Startup Weekend, an event where entrepreneurs gather and pitch ideas, said he excelled because he learned to be adaptable and had the support of a community such as Vegas Tech.

Oh, and Google it. “If you have a question, chances are 300 people have already asked that question on a forum,” he says.

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