Fast Company

IZen Garden: Another Entrepreneur Succeeds Despite Me

Some day I will learn to keep my big advice-giving mouth shut.

About three years ago a developer friend of mine named Jiva DeVoe who had just designed an iPhone app that was a staff pick in the App store, emailed me for advice. “Whom should I get in touch with for PR for my app,” he wanted to know.

I had already bought and tried his IZen Garden, which allowed me to design a sand garden on my iPhone. I tried it once and thought it would never get traction. It didn’t seem like a game, nor was it a productivity app. Who would make a garden on a tiny screen?

“Don’t invest your money in PR,” I told him blithely.”No one is going to make money off iPhone apps.”

So I was wrong. My advice sucked, and another entrepreneur is born. Good thing he didn’t Iisten to me! Or maybe he did, and now he gets his PR free. Jiva quit his day job two years ago. He has 347,000 installs. And now he has released IZen Garden for the IPad and it is gorgeous,

IZen Garden helps you arrange objects like stones, butterflies, and plants on sand and rake the sand into intricate designs, all with the touch screen. It is an application for creating beauty,a and on the IPad’s large bright screen it is indeed compelling. You can make the objects bigger and smaller by pinching them as you do with type, and you can also move objects on the screen into a design that can be endlessly tweaked and modified.

You can save your final designs in a gallery, or shake the iPad and rearrange the sand. Jiva’s wife photographed the objects used in the designs; she must be an incredible photographer. You can also set a timer and music within the app for meditation, and use the garden you just created as a meditation object. (Since Tiger Woods told the world this morning that he’s meditating, I think we all ought to create our Tiger Woods meditation gardens.)

This app Jiva has created is a work of art, for a device that is equally a work of art. He wants the app store to create a new category called “Coffee Table Apps” for the ones beautiful enough to display on the coffee table when the machine isn’t being used for something else. It won’t happen, but there should be a category for “Apps of Art.”

Try IZen Garden. it’s not as easy as you think to design a Zen Garden. But when that butterfly starts flapping it’s wings, life is a happy place.

No entrepreneur should listen to too much negative advice.  There's a moment in which, if you are passionate about what you are doing, your own judgment surpasses that of people who see other people's ideas every day.  And at that moment, your own idea is worth a gamble. Although there's something to be said for experience, there is a lot more to be said for passion and creativity.

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