TikTok of people passing by Md. man spurs thousands of app downloads


For 3 days, Megan Foulk watched hundreds of individuals stroll by her father, Jeff, with no look. Jeff Foulk had traveled to Chicago to promote his marine navigation app for iPhones and Androids, however few folks stopped at his sales space.

Feeling sorry for him, Megan secretly recorded onlookers ignoring her 62-year-old dad as he tried to distribute pamphlets. She posted the video on TikTok earlier this month with the caption, “Assist blow up my dads boating app, he’s labored so arduous on it and simply needs folks to strive it out.”

By the subsequent morning, greater than 1 million folks had watched the video. Over the subsequent three days, the applying, Argo — Boating Navigation, acquired extra downloads than it had in three years and reached the highest of Apple’s obtain charts within the navigation class.

“I simply wished to strive one thing that’d assist him blow up and get him extra followers and customers,” Megan, 20, instructed The Washington Publish. “I simply didn’t count on it to work.”

After graduating from the College of Delaware, Jeff Foulk moved right into a Joppatowne, Md., condominium round 1984. With the Chesapeake Bay close by, Jeff turned enamored with boating on his Grady-White.

Though he finally ended up working as a protection contractor, Jeff mentioned he thought typically about constructing a marine navigation app. He had wished there was a handy solution to find eating places, marinas and anchorages throughout the water. After years of speaking about constructing his supreme app, his spouse, Jean, instructed him: “Cease eager about it or do it.”

In November 2018, Jeff partnered with software program firm ByteLion to create Argo. Its title was impressed by the legendary ship in Greek mythology.

Jeff mentioned he mixed options from Waze, Yelp and social media platforms for an utility that implies routes throughout each physique of water in the US. It supplies updates on hazards, police and climate, and customers can share their experiences and photographs.

When the free utility launched in September 2019, it consumed Jeff’s life. He talked about his progress at household dinners and on automobile rides and walks. Sooner or later, his household gave him a navy blue shirt that learn: “WARNING! I’ll let you know about my app.” He mentioned he answered each touch upon the applying beneath “Captain Jeff,” an alias his 24-year-old daughter Kelly urged.

Argo attracted 1,000 downloads after 4 months and 100,000 by November 2022. Nonetheless, the app had not turn out to be important among the many boating group. Jeff mentioned he has not but profited from Argo.

“I didn’t focus a lot on advertising,” he mentioned. “It was actually all about ensuring the product was proper.”

“We knew it might be a lot greater and have such a bigger attain,” Megan added.

Megan, who mentioned she admires her dad’s work ethic, helped her dad get his first huge breakthrough at a Jan. 14 boat present at a Chicago conference middle. She uploaded a 12-second video to her roughly 200 followers, accompanied by a piano association of Wiz Khalifa’s “See You Once more.”

When Megan seen a couple of hours later that the TikTok had acquired 1,000 likes, Jeff wasn’t impressed. However that modified as downloads accelerated.

Inside 24 hours, about 93,000 folks had downloaded Argo. Over three days, that grew to almost 152,000 downloads. Its roughly 1,200 critiques on the Apple app retailer exploded to 18,000.

At one level, on-line visitors was so intense that it brought about the app to crash.

The following morning, Jeff mentioned he awoke to round 4,000 emails, all of which he has tried to reply to. It was the ultimate day of the Chicago boat present, and Jeff mentioned a number of individuals who had stopped by Argo’s sales space talked about seeing his app on TikTok.

Argo stays one of many seven most downloaded navigation apps on Apple, the place it’s competing with widespread apps corresponding to Google Maps, Waze and ParkMobile. The corporate’s TikTok web page exceeded 210,000 followers this previous weekend, and Jeff is brainstorming options for his app’s new customers.

With one other boat present in Fort Myers, Fla., this week, Jeff and Megan are excited to satisfy extra TikTok followers.

“No one expects something to go viral,” Jeff mentioned. “I suppose it occurs once you’re not making an attempt too arduous.”