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Teenage Entrepreneur Wins Big In Tech Market

Jud Bowman; CEO of Appia

In the late '90s the Internet was king and everybody wanted a piece of it. Jud Bowman was a student at the North Carolina School of Science and Math when he had an idea for an Internet start up. It was called Motricity, and he managed to get investors onboard before things went south in the Internet market.

We were extraordinarily lucky to have raised the $5 million right before the bubble burst. -- Jud Bowman

  “We were extraordinarily lucky to have raised the $5 million right before the bubble burst ,” he said.

Still, he wasn’t able to get Motricity off the ground. It was an idea before its time. After his money ran out, Bowman went to Stanford to continue his education, but he didn’t feel right. Then one morning, he heard the sound that would change his life.

“That was one of those crazy moments in your life… it’s 8 am and the alarm clock goes off… the alarm was karaoke music.”

His roommate tossed him this clam shell cell phone -- the "alarm clock" -- from Japan that was stocked with ringtones. And Bowman had an idea.

“For me, it really was like a sign,” he said.

He went back to work on Motricity and eventually became one of the biggest players on the ringtone market. Not content with this success, he eventually decided to start another company: Appia.

"I was starting to get the entrepreneurial itch to do something new and fresh," he said.

Inspired by the Apple App Store, he realized that apps were the next big thing and created his company, which is now one of the largest open app marketplaces in the world.

Jud Bowman delivers the commencement speech for the class of 2008 at North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics.

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Alex Granados joined The State of Things in July 2010. He got his start in radio as an intern for the show in 2005 and loved it so much that after trying his hand as a government reporter, reader liaison, features, copy and editorial page editor at a small newspaper in Manassas, Virginia, he returned to WUNC. Born in Baltimore but raised in Morgantown, West Virginia, Alex moved to Raleigh in time to do third grade twice and adjust to public school after having spent years in the sheltered confines of a Christian elementary education. Alex received a degree in journalism from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He also has a minor in philosophy, which basically means that he used to think he was really smart but realized he wasn’t in time to switch majors. Fishing, reading science fiction, watching crazy movies, writing bad short stories, and shooting pool are some of his favorite things to do. Alex still doesn’t know what he wants to be when he grows up, but he is holding out for astronaut.
Longtime NPR correspondent Frank Stasio was named permanent host of The State of Things in June 2006. A native of Buffalo, Frank has been in radio since the age of 19. He began his public radio career at WOI in Ames, Iowa, where he was a magazine show anchor and the station's News Director.