App Maker Spotlight: Sam Leung

by: | Feb 26, 2015
Sam Leung App Development Innovator

SAM LEUNG / App Maker
ArcTouch Director of Client Services

[Editor’s note: This is part of an ongoing series that highlights ArcTouch’s talented team members. Our staff are all “app makers” in the spirit of the maker movement — we crave getting our hands on the latest tech or finding creative solutions to our clients’ challenges.]

Sam Leung’s foray into mobile app development started with his own app idea. Frustrated by long waits at restaurants that don’t take reservations, he conjured up an idea to make an app that would allow people to check-in without being there in person.

His app idea never went anywhere. But it forever changed his career path.

“After doing some research, and going through some of the steps to define what it would take to make an app successful, I became obsessed,” Leung said.

Fast forward seven years and Leung, 33, is typically the first point of contact for companies and individuals that come to ArcTouch with their app ideas. He works with those potential clients to help flesh out their ideas, identify opportunities, and provide recommendations on how they can move forward with ArcTouch. He then manages that relationship — also working closely with the ArcTouch project team — all the way through to the launch of the app.

In the midst of a calendar filled with client update meetings and new business phone calls, Sam sat down with me recently to answer a few questions.

Do you consider yourself a salesperson?

Not in the traditional sense. I’m not that guy from the used car lot pressing you to buy today before the sale ends. My role is much more about vetting the needs of the client against the capabilities that we have at ArcTouch — and seeing if there’s a fit. I’ve found this consultative approach to be best for everyone. At the end of the day, we want our customers to make the decisions that are best for their business and their app.

What do you like most about your job?

Being an entrepreneur at heart, I enjoy hearing all of the potential startup ideas that I am presented with. They get my own creative juices and imagination going. I also love seeing someone’s idea come to life in the form of an app that the whole world can experience.

What’s the craziest idea you’ve heard?

I’ve heard lots of “interesting” ideas — someone may approach us with a vision for an app that integrates every imaginable social platform with every possible device platform, and would require enormous infrastructure — and they don’t have any budget. I try to do my best to educate people on our process for making an app, the technology that would be needed to enable their idea and a rough idea of related costs. Sometimes, it’s pretty clear that ArcTouch is just not a good fit — and out of respect for everyone’s time, we try to get to that stage quickly and at least point them to some other resources.

What’s the best idea you’ve heard?

I’ve heard a lot of great ideas, and it’s hard to pinpoint which is the best. My favorite idea though, is currently in the very early stages of development. You’ll have to stay tuned on that one.

Some companies have different sales team members to manage prospect and client relationships at different stages. How hard is it to do both?

It is definitely challenging, but I enjoy the process of staying with a client from start to finish. I get to see the results of the initial discussion come to life, and that in itself is very rewarding. And our clients love the continuity — instead of being passed from one account person to another.

What’s the most difficult aspect of your job?

The hardest part of my job is when there is a great idea that I think could be the next big thing, but the potential client doesn’t have the funding to execute on an MVP. Having to pass on the opportunity to work on a great idea is very difficult.

Having worked with a lot of customers and being the recipient of a lot of feedback, what do you think it is that makes ArcTouch different?

ArcTouch takes pride in the work that we do, and it starts from the initial contact and extends through to the completion of the product. There’s no magic, our team is what makes us unique — starting from the top with our executives to the product managers, designers, and engineers. They sweat the details throughout the project to make sure we are developing the best possible app to meet our customers’ goals in the most effective way.

Those of us in the SF office get to see lots of pictures of your 7-month-old son. When he grows up, will you recommend a career in app development?

Haha. Let’s be honest — apps as we know them today will be much different in 10 years, let alone when my son is getting ready for the workforce. But if he were ready today, I would absolutely recommend a career in app development. I wouldn’t want to be in any other industry.