The Stanford Twins create an entrepreneurial app for BYU Cross Country

BYU track stars Jacob and Garrett Stanford don’t only run on a day to day basis, but spend a lot of their extra time as entrepreneurial app developers.

Jacob and Garrett are twin brothers from Carlsbad, California. They run on the Cross Country team, but behind their track success, are geniuses in the making.  The Stanford twins are freelance app developers and entrepreneurs outside of running and have succeeded in making their apps go public to the App Store.

The twins grew up loving video games and playing them together whenever they could. They played the Wii, Mario Kart, and other games at a young age.  This was their way of bonding with each other.  With this, they found their interest and love for coding when they were just in fifth grade. 

“One summer our mom signed us up for a video game coding camp in fifth grade. And we loved it. Although it was simple coding, it was about video games, so it was right up our alley”, Garrett says.

Since then, they both figured that they wanted to make video games themselves and put them on the App Store for the public to play.  Once they got older, it was harder for them to get into the programming side of things, but they started using their basic skills from the fifth grade coding camp to become actual app developers in high school.  

As time has gone on, they learned how to code more on Swift, which enables them to put their apps on the iOS App Store.  When they were just teenagers, they published their first game called “Hay Bales” that was played on the computer. In the game your character runs and simply jumps over hay bales. Why the simple idea? They like to stick close to a “Cross Country” gameplay. 

After the first game release, they continued to make Hay Bales 2 at the age of 17, which was their first app on the App Store.  Funny enough, since they weren’t 18, they made the app public under their moms name at the time. Then shortly after, a Hay Bales 3 was made which, in fact, is still on the App Store today. 

They both then served a full time mission and picked up from where they left off right away.  The Stanford twins had a great opportunity to pitch an app idea this past semester to the Ballard Center at the BYU Marriott School of Business.  The event held is called “Change Makers”, a chance for any BYU student to pitch an idea that could essentially change or benefit the world around them.  They took the chance to pitch their most recent app idea and won funding to help get their app created.  However, it is much different than a video game this time around. 

“What we’re working on now is an app that has more utility than a video game. It is geared towards fans and athletes of the BYU Cross Country team” Jacob said. 

The twins have decided to start making general apps.  This app in particular was something that they felt meant a lot to them and to their teammates on the track team.  It’s something that can help recognize them more.

Their new app is called “BYU XC”, which was released just a few weeks ago. It has some game elements to it as well. 

“You can look at everyone’s personal records and race results in a place that is nice and concise and easy to find.  The game element is that you are able to play a sort of March Madness in a Cross Country sense” Jacob says.  

In the app, you can predict the outcome of the upcoming races by guessing what place each runner will get. Since placement in Cross Country is pretty important they use that as their metric. 

“The more accurate you are to the actual results once they come in, you can get in-game rewards including raffle tickets for real life prizes like signed merchandise and stuff like that” Jacob said. 

The main priority for their app is to raise awareness for the BYU Cross Country team and to have fans and people following their season, have a personal investment in how they do.  

“We were thinking that we have a ton of incredible teammates that we thought that our teammates deserve a spotlight. That is what it really came down to” Garett says.

Jacob and Garett saw the hard work their teammates put in and wanted to create an avenue to show the fans a little more about what happens race by race in the season and thought that it would increase engagement, giving their teammates more attention that they deserve. 

In the idea making process for their app, they noticed that compared to other sports, Cross Country and Track is very behind in regards to fan involvement, so they wanted to fix that.

“For students at BYU, it is so hard for them to know how we are doing. Maybe they hear about us, but as far as manifestation of our results, it is hard for the student body to be involved since we usually only run one race in Utah” Jacob said. 

The Stanford twins believe that this can be potentially the start of major change for BYU Cross Country and Track. A revolution for the sport. They hope that fans of Cross Country and Track can help recognize their teammates and their successes on their new BYU XC app. 

The BYU XC app is live in the App Store and available for any fans to download.  The twins already have another app in the making to help clean oceans and plan to innovate on more of their ideas to help change the world. 

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