In the Spotlight With Marcel Widarto of SOGABEE

Developer Marcel Widarto of Sogabee released Sightwords Hangman last year after he saw a need to provide an educational app that could help early elementary students practice their sight words – words that their teacher requires them to know by the end of the school year. He literally took the words from his daughter’s list that was sent home from school and decided that he would make an app. Marcel explains more below in our interview about how the idea came to him.   His initiative shows us that anything is possible if you set your mind to it!  And I have to say I am quite impressed with the quality of Sight Words Hangman and his new release, Pixopop Sight Words. 

Here is what Marcel had to say about getting into this business of producing  apps:

Why did you decide to make these educational apps?

I actually stumbled into educational apps by accidents. When I decided that I want to get into the mobile app development world, I didn’t really know what kind of app I want to do. I started by doing few online tutorials and few books but I never managed to finished any of them because I wasn’t really interested in the app that the tutorials and the books were building. I decided that I need to build something I can either use or interested in it. At the time, my daughter was in kindergarten and every week she comes home with a new sight words list that she has to learn. She loves practicing sight words so much that she always want to do them no matter where we were. One day, while waiting in the doctor office, my daughter wanted to practice her sight words and that’s when I had the idea that I should build an app that can help her practice her sight words. Since then, I’ve built and published Sight Words Hangman and Sight Words & Spelling with Pixopop and I am currently working on a new app that I am not ready to disclose yet at the moment.

What has been your biggest challenge?

The biggest challenge that I have is definitely marketing my apps and getting people to know about them. The app market is so crowded and the competitions are so fierce that without a good marketing campaign, even a good app will get drown out.

What incident/comment has made all of your hard work worth it?

One of the best moment/feeling I have is waking up in the morning to an email from complete stranger thanking me for making the app because it has really help their kid(s) or student(s) in learning. Reading notes like this made me forget about all the late night hours coding and the struggles that I have in marketing the apps. It also kept me focused and motivated in developing more educational apps.

You can read more of my review of the Pixopop Sight Words App here:

New Giveaway:

And best of all for Penelope’s mates is that Marcel is offering some great giveaway prizes for us including a just-released Pixopop 3″ doll (see below – LOVE this doll!), a $10 Gift Card, promo codes for Pixopop and Sight Words Hangman and a mini original sketch of Stitch (one of the characters in Pixopop) by the artist!  So stay tuned – the giveaway will be up on Monday!


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