Turning a passion for technology into something bigger

Alexus Bomar

With the help of employees on campus, students can turn an everyday problem into an everyday solution.

Timothy Miko, senior computer science major at OU, solved the issue of keeping up with daily habits, thoughts and experiences by creating two smartphone applications.

While Miko was a freshman, Lorenzo Smith, former associate dean of the School of Engineering and Computer Science (SECS), gave what Miko called an “inspirational talk” to students.  He took advantage of Smith’s open door and things started working out for him.

“About three or four years ago, I switched to using Android for a while, and at the time, I’d been using an iOS app called ‘Day One,’ and when I switched to Android there wasn’t an equivalent to it,” Miko said.

After waiting for an app to be created, Miko decided to create his own for Android devices, which is similar to “Day One” and is called “Narrate.”

“Narrate” allows users record their thoughts and experiences.

“I released this app two years ago — will be two years in August — but it took me six months to create, and for a good year, I’d just been thinking about doing it,” he said.

In terms of the creation process for “Narrate,” Miko didn’t have an official process of planning.

“That was the very first thing I created and I didn’t have much experience professionally doing it so a lot of it was on my own,” he said.

Since its August 2014 release, “Narrate” has been downloaded more than 40,000 times, with 5,000 active users every month, according to OU’s Communications and Marketing Deparment.

“Narrate” is free on the Google Play Store (Android).

In the fall, he released his second app, “Routines,” an iOS app that helps the user reinforce his or her daily habits, such as a morning routine or a workout.

One of the defining moments of Miko’s early career was when he started working with a startup company through OU INC, OU’s business accelerator, said OU’s Communications and Marketing department.

According to its website, “OU INC is a SmartZone Business Accelerator, in collaboration with the City of Rochester Hills, Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC), and various industry partners.”

OU INC fosters a healthy environment for the growth of new startup companies, and provides support for existing entities through its facility and business development resources.

“Getting involved has provided me with a lot of business experience,” he told OU’s Communications and Marketing department. “Not only did it teach me how to work with people, but I learned how to network with people and it has opened a lot of doors for me.”

During his sophomore year, he landed a job as a software developer at Vectorform, a tech firm in Royal Oak. He still works there.

“At Vectorform, I learned a lot about how to put an app together as well as information in general about an app,” he said.

Miko said he has always been interested in technology and “if I didn’t come [to OU], I wouldn’t have that experience, that motivation and that culture of creating things.”

“You can really do anything if you put in work, think about it and find something you’re passionate about,” he said.