Boulder High School Students Ryan Orbuch And Michael Hansen Create 'Finsh,' Best-Selling iPhone App (VIDEO)

Boulder Students Create Best-Selling App

Procrastination is the key to Ryan Orbuch and Michael Hansen's success.

It started during finals week at Boulder High School last spring.

"We noticed so many friends were really stressed and struggling with all of the stuff they had to do and procrastinating everything," says Orbuch, 16, of Boulder. "This gave us an idea what we needed to do."

They decided to create an iPhone app to help people juggle all their deadlines and to-dos. An app that would automatically prioritize tasks chronologically by due date -- and also give you a heads-up when a future project was creeping closer, so nothing could take you by surprise.

Orbuch would design and market it. Hansen, also a junior, would handle the technical side.

Now, where to begin?

"We didn't know where to start for a while," Orbuch says. "It was kind of scary, in that we really did have no idea what we were doing."

But they kept pushing and learning, reaching out to other designers, joining forums, making mock-up after mock-up -- until a little more than a year later, they submitted it to Apple. Apple liked it and released it Jan. 16.

The app, called "Finish," skyrocketed to the No. 1 ranking for productivity apps the day it launched and spent the entire day in the top spot. In overall charts across all categories, it peaked at about No. 50.

Through the end of March, it continued to hover in the top 200 in productivity charts, fluctuating throughout the day and week.

Apple also has featured "Finish" in the "new and noteworthy" category. iTunes has had a large banner that Orbuch designed spreading across the top of the productivity category.

"It's been crazy successful," Orbuch says. "It's been pretty incredible."

In the first few weeks, more than 14,500 people in 50 countries downloaded "Finish" for 99 cents. Hundreds of reviews rate the app overall a 4.5 of five stars.

The few criticisms range from "I wish I could see my accomplished tasks" to international blips the partners didn't anticipate, such as the week starting on Monday instead of Sunday in Europe. Hansen has been working on an update.

"With such a significant launch user base after a couple of weeks, there is a ton of expansion potential," Orbuch says. "We've been lucky to talk to amazing people about some ideas for the future, partnerships."

He hopes to launch a version for the iPad, Mac and other platforms.

Orbuch believes the app's success stems from its "effective balance of functionality and simplicity, especially for 99 cents."

The app itself is easy to use: It takes only two taps to add a task, and the app automatically categorizes it as a short-, mid- or long-term task. Every morning, the app lets you know what's on your plate for that day, and it also gives you a heads-up when a task moves time frames (from mid-term into short-term, for example). You can prioritize tasks with stars, check them off with a swipe and easily change due dates and details.

"I use it for homework, errands, meeting with people about business stuff -- everything," Orbuch says. "What's really nice is I'll hear an assignment in class, add it in and I can keep my eye on it, without it feeling overwhelming."

The app also offers "focus mode," where it displays only the first few short-term tasks, one mid-term task and one long-term task and it collapses the others (with an option to view more).

"That lets you add in 50 things, but it still won't look overwhelming -- not so much info that you feel like you're never going to get it done," Orbuch says. "It's easy to get overwhelmed, but once you get into the groove of using it, a lot of that goes away."

To learn more about "Finish," visit ___

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