Ethan Duggan got the idea for his app one afternoon when he was playing video games after school. “My mom comes home and she has a bunch of dresses, like twenty,” he recalled. “She goes into her room, tries the dresses on, comes back to me, and says ‘How do I look?’ I say she looks great. Then I realized, I have a phone.” Thus LazyHusband — available now, at $0.99, for iOS (s AAPL) and Android (s GOOG) — was born.
Ethan and I met in the press room of the Austin Convention Center. He was accompanied by his dad, Rick Duggan — a systems director at Zappos — and his mom, Marni Klein. With only a little bit of prompting from his parents, Ethan walked me through the app, which comes with a series of phrases like “No, you don’t look fat.” Users can record their own voices saying the phrases and can add new ones, then play them back in any awkward or boring dress-trying-on situation. LazyKid and LazyWife apps are coming soon. The LazyKid app will include phrases like “Yes, I’ve done my homework,” “I love you,” and, Ethan’s favorite, “one second.”
Ethan’s also working on other apps. Soon he’ll release Bargument, which pulls up fake Wikipedia pages to prove “false facts” to people. (The idea is to use it to trick drunk people in a bar.) “My example is that there are 30,000 seagulls in Africa,” he said.
Ethan spent four months learning to code through Codecademy, then began programming his app. He also got a bunch of help from the Las Vegas tech community. “Geoff Saunders [the cofounder of user authentication app LaunchKey] got me a two-hour crash course in CSS,” Ethan said. “From that, I learned the basics.” George Moncrief, the tech director at Raster Media, helped him learn PhoneGap. “Pretty much a lot of people, like ten people, have helped me from VegasTech,” Ethan said.
I asked Ethan what he thought of SXSW (which he got to miss a couple of days of school to attend). He described his experience as “a blessing and a curse at the same time. The good thing is, I get promoted, I get to talk to a lot of cool people, I get to get a lot of connection and stuff. The curse is that I have to do a lo-o-t of walking.”
His tip for other first-time SXSW attendees: “Bring your back backpack one-third full. You will leave with it completely packed.”