StatusNow Appwas created by Susan Melnick—entrepreneur, wife, and mother of 4 children—with the goal of helping people to stay connected to those most important to them, while also giving them the peace of mind to completely disconnect from their phones whenever they want to. This practical tool is a FREE App and virtual, digital assistant that enables users tailor messages to individuals or groups so that they don’t have to miss an important call. Private groups, Calendar Integrations, Setup Connections, Create a Status, or Check a Status are just some of the features available. Be connected when you disconnect.
The Indie Source Magazinecaught up with Susan for an interview about her life as a mother of 4 and decisive entrepreneur who found a gap in the market for a virtual digital assistant that enables users to tap into the App so they can tap off their phone without worry. Take a closer look at the latest App being downloaded by professionals, parents, grandparents, and kids alike!
Please tell us about yourself in three to five sentences: your background, family life, work life, etc.
I spent most of my career at Accenture but started off in programing and taught Computer Science at my hometown of Pittsburgh. I have been married almost 15 years and live in Minneapolis with my husband and kids. I am a mother of 4 kids ranging in ages of 4-11.
How did you first come up with the idea of StatusNow? Tell us the story.
There was literally one night when something big was happening with all of my children. My youngest had her 2ndday of camp and developed a 105 fever. We had just gotten back from Brazil and was worried she had Zika. My younger son had an incident at a camp swimming pool that could have been severe, and my two older kids were leaving for overnight camp for the first time. Everything just felt overwhelming. A friend said to me,“go for a walk or do something for yourself,”and my response was—I cannot be away from my phone. I was just waiting for something else to happen. That’s when I realized there needs to be a change where I could do these things and hit my reset button. I don’t want to be tied to my phone all the time.
What has the overall reaction been?
Very positive. Almost everyone I have spoken to has been able to provide an example instantly about a time when they could have used the app
What made you decide to put it into motion? From idea to something tangible?
I started just by talking to a couple of people and hearing their thoughts/reactions. I just kept going until someone gave me a reason to stop, which hasn’t happened. The more I did research, I realized that this has to exist. Fast forward to two years later, and I now am so glad that I am creating something to help my 11-year son, as he is getting his first phone to set limits and expectations.
How long did it take to create the app?
It was 20 months in the planning and beta.
What does this App accomplish?
The App accomplishes many different things. Overall, it’s peace of mind for everyone using it. It identifies an emergency. For example, just because I see my kids’school calling on my phone or watch, doesn’t mean it’s urgent. It might just be to see if I can volunteer, a kids forgot something, etc., but I don’t know why they’re calling. Now, I know that if I see them calling and don’t answer, they have the App. They can call wherever I am if it’s truly urgent, or I can leave instructions on who else they should be calling if I’m somewhere I cannot be disturbed. It also sets boundaries and works to eliminate the instant response that we are all so used to. The App can be an out of office or an assistant. It communicates with people to let you know when you’ll be back and eliminates the guessing game when you’ll be responding.
Is this app for everyone?
Where can people download the App?
Is there anything similar to this app on the market?
Nothing exactly like this.
Did something happen that made you realize you needed this App in your life?
SHOULD I RETELL THE STORY HERE ABOUT HOW I CAME UP WITH IT? The other thing I would add to my story is that my father passed away. During the time he was sick, I got myself very used to having my phone with me all the time. I would answer the phone every time my mom called. Most of the time it wasn’t an emergency. I realized I got myself into a habit of keeping my phone out 100% of the time.
Is this app available in other languages?
No, it’s just available in the US
How did you come up with the name StatusNow?
We went through a couple different names before decided on StatusNow. We were trying to come up with a name that would resonate with the person looking for someone and also for the someone posting. StatusNow is for both –if you’re looking for someone’s current status and also if you are posting your status. It also conveys that this NOW, real-time.
What are the benefits to using this App? How has it impacted your everyday?
I have peace of mind. I feel like the App “has my back.”The other day, a neighbor texted me last minute to go for a walk. Instead of texting my babysitter I was leaving, my husband that I may not be home when he gets back, etc., I put the status on my phone that I am out for a walk for 30 minutes and left my phone. It was a “one stop”place to let everyone know just in case they needed me. I also love when I am waiting for a response for someone from work, and I look at the app to see they’re in a meeting, and I know when I should expect a response.
Are kids/teens with phones also able to use the App? Is it user-friendly?
It is very user-friendly and a great App for kids/teens. One example, invite your core friends to connect with you, the people you hang out with the most. If you’re somewhere away from your phone (family dinner, sporting event, etc), create a status letting them know when you’ll be back. This way if you get invited somewhere last minute, your friends will know when to expect you back.You won’t miss out, and the person doing the inviting knows when they should hear from you.
Can the App sync with your Calendar?
Is the App just for Away messages or does it offer alerts and connect with other organizations?
There are no alerts. We want to eliminate unnecessary communication. People only goes to the AppIF they need something. Therefore, I’m not sending emails and communications to my kids teachers (for example). It’s only if they need me, they could find me.
What other functions can the App provide?
I have three favorite features:
1. It syncs with the calendar on your phone to eliminate a step. You can still create custom events,but if you want to using something existing, all you have to do is select who can view it.
2. If you have something that’s recurring, you can set up a repeat event.
3. When you invite someone to connect, you can set an expiration. The reason this is useful is that it will keep your groups very current. For example, if I invite summer counselors and create a summer group, I can invite them to be part of my list for 6 weeks. This way, I also know if I am giving permission to the “summer group”to see a status that I posted that it’s this summer.
Can you make phone calls from the App?
Is the App free to download?
Where can we find more information about the App?
Jimmy Stars World
I host the Jimmy Star Show With Ron Russell, the #1 Webshow (tv/radio) in the world with 4 million weekly viewers, as well as hosting the new television show Backstage with Jimmy Star, am a best selling author/ journalist with one of the top pop culture blogs in the world www.jimmystarsworld.com as well as being a PR/Social Media Guru.