This Autumn, Apple invited us to attend a select cohort of women at their Apple Entrepreneur Camp. The programme aims to help female entrepreneurs improve their apps, and connect with Apple leaders and fellow women in tech. We were thrilled to be selected for such an exclusive opportunity. Soon enough, I was on a plane to my home state of California for an immersion into all things Apple. Joining me were our CTO and Co-Founder, Isabella Degen, and Nelia Kleiven, our Product Designer.
Our week at Apple was challenging but enlightening. We honed in on what makes our approach to diabetes different and how we’ll perfect our pioneering self-care experience. World-class designers and engineers gave us insightful feedback into our design and code. We met some incredible women both working at Apple and founding their own companies. It was an invaluable experience that has helped us on our path to a public launch of the Quin app. Here’s why you should apply for an upcoming cohort.
Understand how to work the Apple way
Apple’s approach to technology is almost philosophical. They focus on building beautiful, simple things in a way that merges technology with art. We already work hard to make using the Quin app quick and easy. People with diabetes are already overloaded and we don’t want to add to that. Apple’s approach to app design is very aligned with that respect for our users. They taught us tonnes about how to focus on what to improve about our app experience. We brainstormed four emotions we want our users to feel – confident, respected, etc. Everything we add to Quin must make our users feel these things as part of our quest to humanise diabetes.
Apple also taught us that the best apps are laser-focused on fulfilling a single statement of intent. Quin wants to help people know how much insulin to take and when.
Simple, right? Well, we could spend the rest of our lives solving this problem. But the clarity of our mission has forced us to prioritise what the app needs to be able to do before our public launch.
Upgrade your engineering
As an engineer developing for the Apple platform, the technical labs were a dream come true. We got one-on-one help and advice from core Apple engineers – the people that wrote the docs! This unblocked a bunch of issues that had been on our to-do list for a while. They also showed us how we could adopt the latest and greatest features of frameworks like Siri and CoreML. We’ve wanted to use these technologies for a long time and work out their potential to help our users. Thanks to Apple’s help, we’re now working on an experiment with Siri Shortcuts that will remind users to take insulin.
Women in tech
Working at Quin has been the first time in my professional life where women are the majority. Outside of that, I’m still usually one of a small handful of female software developers in any room. The entrepreneur camp was a refreshing change of scene. We met some amazing female founders, engineers, and designers from around the world. These women work on fascinating problems – everything from educational games to video remixing. We can’t wait to see them again and to meet alumni from other cohorts.
I appreciated the simple relief of not having to think about the gender breakdown of the room. Apple executives challenged the underrepresentation and underfunding of technical women and acknowledged the structural challenges, like lack of childcare, that hold women back. It’s encouraging that a company as huge as Apple are throwing their weight behind changing the status quo.
Personal, ongoing support
Although the camp was only a week, our local partnership manager will be supporting us for at least the next year. The support so far has been fantastic – ranging from what technologies we should tackle next to how to pitch ourselves.
We’re also thrilled to be travelling back to Cupertino next year to WWDC 2020. As entrepreneur camp attendees, we get two free tickets for a female founder and developer. We can’t wait to see our camp-mates again and see what’s upcoming in the world of iOS.
The Golden State
Last but not least, who doesn’t want an excuse to go to beautiful California? The Apple campus is stunning, and the sunshine was a lovely break from London’s miserable weather. Luckily, we had a weekend in the middle of our time there together to rest and take a breath. We rented a Tesla car and spent a full day exploring the beautiful Bay Area. As someone who grew up in Los Angeles, I can tell you nothing compares to a drive down the Pacific Coast Highway at sunset.
Although we worked hard to prepare, we were still blown away by all the things we learned during our week. It would not be an overstatement to say that it was a turning point for Quin. It’s transformed how we prioritise app features and confirmed our commitment to putting users at the heart of everything we do. And on top of that, we had a lot of fun.
To be eligible, your company must have a female co-founder or CEO as well as a female software developer proficient in Objective-C or Swift. You must also have an app or build that you can demo live. If you’re eligible, apply! It’s a once in a lifetime experience. You can find more details at https://developer.apple.com/entrepreneur-camp/.