NOT EVEN A DOWNPOUR and a three-hour line could keep Lake Oswego high school student Tyler Jordan Pluhacek from getting his hands on an iPad the day it came out. Of course, Pluhacek—who goes by T.J.—had a big incentive to snag Apple’s latest must-have device on April 3: the 16-year-old has designed an iPad app, a note-taking program called NoteLook. That makes Pluhacek one of the youngest iPad app developers in the country.

“Nothing,” he says, “comes close to the software I have designed as far as organization is concerned.”

Youthful hubris—or sales pitch—aside, each iPad has a standard notes program pre-installed, but Pluhacek’s version lets users store notes in categories, such as folders on a desktop—something the basic program can’t claim.

A Steve Jobs with chubby cheeks and braces? Maybe. Pluhacek just learned how to program computers last year, and, shhh, he owned a PC until 2008. But his love of playing guitar prompted him to turn to Macs, which support the popular Garage Band music-recording software. Then, inspired by the experience—or mainly, the frustration—of taking notes as a student, Pluhacek spent two months developing NoteLook.

“During spring break I would stay up working until, like, 4 a.m.,” he says. “And then I would wake around 10 a.m. and just begin at it again.”

The overtime is certainly paying off. Pluhacek, who now aspires to start a software development business after college, makes 70 cents every time someone downloads NoteLook (it retails for 99 cents). And after a recent Fast Company article about him, Pluhacek says his sales increased by 300 percent. Envious? Us too. Too bad there isn’t an app for that. T.J.?

This article appeared in the June 2010 issue of Portland Monthly Magazine.

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