Donald Cassel, the inventor of the Grind King skateboard truck, which
set new standards for ingenuity and quality in the skate world, has
launched an entirely different sort of company: a software development
house that combines technical innovation with zeitgeist savvy to develop
iPhone apps with an underground ethos and mass appeal.
During two decades in the action sports industry, Cassel launched or
co-launched a flurry of hot brands, including big names like Van Dutch,
Termite, Dogtown licensed products, and Haz-mat. When the economic
downturn devastated the industry, Cassel responded by shifting his
talents from the tangible realm of skateboards and streetwear to the
virtual arena of mobile entertainment apps. Cassel explains that it’s
not as big a stretch as it sounds. "We’re taking our skills developing
brands in streetwear and action sports, where it’s all about novelty,
humor, and style, and we’re going digital. It’s faster, cleaner, and
just as much fun."
Cassel’s fledgling company, Venus Fly Apps, has just released a new
entry in the iTunes store. "MUGSHOT MAKER" lets users take a walk on the
wild side or poke fun at their friends’ foibles after a notorious night
on the town, turning any snapshot into a sordid police booking photo
that looks ripped-from-the-headlines of a newspaper or celebrity scandal
Not only does the app add a police-station background and a gritty
black-and-white look to users’ photos, it also includes an
official-looking title card for the alleged crime (either a customized
offense or one chosen from a random list of 19, including everything
from "Skateboarding" to "Public Intoxication" or the unforgivable
"Farting in a Restaurant.") Like many of the entertainment apps fueled
by buzz and novelty, Mugshot Maker takes advantage of social networking,
letting users instantly share their jailbird photos, either around the
barstool or on their Facebook wall.
Venus Fly Apps is counting on the viral buzz factor to build sales,
letting users download the app from the iTunes store and try it at half
price for the first few days. "Everyone’s got at least one photo that
deserves the Mugshots treatment. So we’re letting folks try it and share
their mugshots with the world at a discounted price," says Cassel.
Early adopters already include notorious skateboarding badboy Jay Adams,
who posted his mugshot to his Facebook fanpage. His crime? "Being
Despite the struggling economy, the mobile app market is growing at a
dazzling pace, selling anywhere from $200 million to $2.4 billion
dollars per year (depending on who’s estimating). Venus Fly Apps launch
their next app in April, promising to keep the rowdy rebel vibe going
with a sexy interactive app called "SKIRT."
- iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad
- Requires iPhone OS 2.2.1 or later
- 2.4 MB
Pricing and Availability:
Mugshot Maker 1.3 is only $0.99 USD (or equivalent amount in other
currencies) and available worldwide exclusively through the App Store in
the Entertainment category.