App acts as social media address book
Mays Business School’s focus on the entrepreneurial mindset is personified in the success of Mays marketing senior Dylan Secrest ’17, the CEO and creator of SyncLink.
SyncLink is a new iPhone application that allows users to consolidate friends on all social media platforms, as well as store other forms of contact information, in one place. His vision was to “simplify the way the world connects, and essentially create a social media address book.”
Once a user has downloaded the app and created an account, he can sync social media profiles onto the SyncLink account and share it with the world. From there, the user can connect with other SyncLink users on social media with the click of a button.
Secrest has released the app locally, and has garnered more than 400 users and plans to expand further. He and his business partners – Noah Kaplan of Cornell University and Jay Dickey ’17, who graduated from Texas A&M University with a degree in political science and is now a prospective law student – recently joined Startup Aggieland, a business incubator on campus. They are working with several entrepreneurs-in-residence and software mentors, and have applied to MassChallenge Texas.
The inspiration behind SyncLink stretches back to when Secrest studied abroad in Hong Kong during the spring semester of 2017. During his time abroad, he was coming across and interacting with many different kinds of people and students from other universities. He learned very quickly that it was hard to keep track with the people he was meeting and connecting with them on social media, so “there needed to be a better way to do that.” That’s when the idea formed to create a way that you could connect with everybody across one platform.
Being surrounded by so many different people during his trip abroad that Secrest viewed were “out of his league in terms of education and skill,” he found motivation in wanting to do something that put him on par with those people. It was on this trip that everything started to come together. Not only did his initial idea receive great concept feedback from peers on the trip, but he also met and collaborated with Noah Kaplan, a computer sciences major at Cornell University, while on the trip. Kaplan is now a part of the team working as the primary app developer.
The impact of Mays
When asked about how his time at Mays has impacted him personally and professionally, Secrest quickly credited the individuals he has met, as well as his overall experience at Mays that have molded him into the young entrepreneur he is today. Secrest’s time at Mays has been “one of the most profound experiences of his life.” He has encountered so many different opportunities, such as the Center for International Business Studies providing him with the opportunity to travel to Hong Kong and Beijing. This experience allowed him, “as a young guy, to figure out what his strengths were and to grow in those strengths.”
Early in his career at Mays, Secrest found that marketing was his forte, and the classes he took at Mays allowed him to excel in that. Specifically, his classes taught him how to grow within teams, which directly impacted the way he sells his vision to his SyncLink team. “Mays gave me confidence,” he said. “When I was studying abroad, people came up to me and said, ‘Wow, you got into Mays Business School? That’s a hard school to get into.’ It made me feel like I was truly accomplishing something.”
Secrest’s personal journey was also impacted by several professors during his time at Mays. He was inspired by Henry Musoma because of “his story and his ability to transcend his circumstances and to be confident and poised in the position he is in now.”
Entrepreneurship professor Don Lewis has encouraged Secrest and had many conversations with him about the SyncLink app. Secrest attributes the success of the creation of the app to the material he learned in Lewis’ class because it was relative to the competitive landscape, core competencies, and overall, helpful in building his business.