We are a small team here at Zuvolo and we refer to ourselves as ‘The Zuvolati’ - pronounced zoo-va-lattee
We’re everyday people, just like you. We developed this app because we are passionate about cycling and outdoor activities and wanted to create an app because we couldn’t find anything that fitted our criteria on the App Store. Luckily, we are also skilled in development…who knew! Our ultimate goal is to build a community of like-minded cyclists and outdoor enthusiasts who enjoy using Zuvolo and get true value from the app whilst making your life just that little bit easier.
Steven loves to be outdoors, cycling and walking and finding great places to chill and have a coffee. Steven is normally well-balanced and can hold a normal conversation unless football comes up – then he is incomprehensible. Having worked for Microsoft for many years, Steven has acquired a vast array of mugs, squeaky toys and other useless objects with the Microsoft logo on them. He keeps them in a display cabinet by his bed and looks at them occasionally, remembering fondly the halcyon days of his long departed youth. Steven has recently defected to Apple hardware – at last!
Steven is Zuvolo’s founder and product owner – he makes sure that all the lovely new features that we dream up are properly defined and organised and scheduled for inclusion in the Zuvolo app. He asks a lot of very awkward and searching questions about some of our ideas – we sometimes make up the answers. He mainly logs features as bugs, we don’t argue!
Chris is a genius at making things that require brains and typing. He makes rare objects of desire in code and is the envy of the known world and beyond – at least this is what he tells us. And we believe him because he is cool and hip. Chris has earned an enviable reputation as a mean bagpipe player and has toured the world and elsewhere. His fusion of Gaelic laments and Modern Jazz is definitely something to behold – preferably from within a soundproofed room, many miles away from the actual performance.
Chris is Zuvolo’s iOS developer and designer – he makes sure that the outlandish and frankly ridiculous screen designs actually come to life in the app. He sometimes uses bad words.
The Cable Guy
Richard, or Flo as we like to affectionately call him is renowned for his attention to detail, in fact, some say that he is such a perfectionist he uses a pair of nail clippers to cut his lawn.
He knows absolutely nothing about design, ask him to draw a wheel and he’ll start with a square but we don’t care, because his knowledge and experience when it comes to anything that requires very clever server code is second to none. We can ask him for the most outrageous feature and instead of just cackling in your face like many backend developers, he simply just nods, licks his lips and gets to work. In fact, we don’t think he has ever spoken since he joined us.
Flo is most comfortable in his den like surroundings which no one has ever seen, we can only assume it’s like something out of the Matrix but all we know is that it’s the engine room of Zuvolo and without Flo, Zuvolo wouldn’t do very much at all!
You’ll find Flo at home on Sundays waxing his car with sandpaper and buffing up the paint work with his tongue, we tend not to ask any questions!
Frazier likes to tinker with stuff – until it breaks! He will then ask awkward questions of whoever made the thing he broke until they feel very guilty about it and painstakingly fix it for him. Frazier knows a lot about Physics, so we don’t ask him about it – that way we don’t look stupid. Frazier cycles all the time. He races, he cycles up mountains and down the other side again, then he races some more. When we go out riding with Frazier he drops us at the first hill, does 100km more than us and STILL beats us back to base. He is young – this is our excuse!
Frazier is Zuvolo’s chief tester (and quite a talent on the cycle racing scene) – he really does try very hard to break the app (and sometimes succeeds). He is there to keep us on our toes and, because he uses the app so much on all his many bike rides, we are constantly fixing stuff for him.
Andy is the newest member of the team, he randomly contacted us through the website and wanted to have a chat, the team were a little unsure so we had a 3 hour meeting with a whiteboard, some sticky notes, a protractor and some colouring crayons, it was determined we also like chatting too! It turns out that Andy is actually very clever and makes the rest of the team feel a little self-conscious in terms of their own level of knowledge.
Andy has a master’s degree in Sports Science and achieved the record for fastest accumulative time crossing the United Kingdom by tandem bicycle with his visually impaired cousin Tim. He is pivotal when it comes to getting Zuvolo out there in the wild and luckily he loves babbling to random strangers and setting up events. His brother also runs the famous Cinnamon Cafe in Windsor, you know, that place with the big house!
Andy is very polite and measured, he definitely has his head screwed on the right way, and quite frankly, the only member of the team that has!
Mike has a brain the size of a planet and is gifted at languages. Unfortunately this gift causes him to utter the most excruciating puns from time to time – he simply blurts them out at random whenever the mood takes him.
Mike originally worked on the backend but has now switched focus to Android. We were luckily able to offload the backend work to Flo since Mike was spread way too thin trying to do both. Plus, when he was working on multiple tasks at the same time, his puns got so out of hand that many of the team started suffering from rashes and nervous twitches which stunted productivity.
Mike is very much a family man. He mostly works on Zuvolo while everyone sleeps. At least that’s what he tells us. We think he actually gets his kids to write most of the code these days. He spends his downtime sewing cushions onto nearby houses….he has very understanding neighbours!
THE BACK STORY
Why we’re doing what we’re doing
The idea behind Zuvolo all stemmed from our incurable cycling habit. Steve was pondering all sorts of ideas about how cyclists could have a dedicated app that would help organize rides, track everyone who was riding and, quite important, keep people safe when they were out on the road.
Steve is a born organizer – he set up regular, informal rides from home and work and gradually found that the groups were getting bigger and bigger. It was around this time that the idea for a simple, pre-ride and in-ride experience was born. Plenty of apps do a great job of plotting routes and showing you your ride in detail after the event but we wanted to have something that would help us before the ride (organising times and meeting points, coffee stops, etc.) and something during the ride (waypoints, points of interest, location of your riding buddies and knowing when someone needed help).
So began the painstaking process of designing and building our first (and very crude) prototype. After a while we got together a really great team, adding Chris, Frazier and Mike, to help build version 2 and 3 and they have now become an integral part of the Zuvolo family. Richard has now joined us and is getting his feet firmly in place as part of the family. This team has successfully created an app that has been used by adventure cycling companies, who take groups out to the Alps and other cycling Meccas to do all the big Tour stages. Keeping their charges under close watch is a crucial requirement for them and Zuvolo has helped make that task so much easier.
We realised at this point that the app had many more applications than just cycling. We had hikers and mountain bikers approach us asking when the app would be available. We also thought of other travel related situations like family get-togethers.
Naturally we have to sift through many of these ideas and come up with new features to support them but, initially, we are focusing mainly on cyclists, hikers and mountain bikers, and indeed anyone who likes to get out into the great outdoors for pleasure and exercise. Whether you ride or walk solo and want a loved one to keep an eye on you, or whether you ride or hike in groups and want to meet up and keep together on a ride or walk, – Zuvolo is the app that can do all that for you. And we hope it’s going to go on to fulfil many more roles in our daily lives.
We have been testing the app in its various stages of development for hours and days and weeks and months all around the UK, across the Alps, the Pyrenees, from London to Lucerne, from Barcelona to Bristol, and from Lands End to Jon O’Groats, and almost every weekend to every coffee stop within 60 miles of where we all live. So far so good!
Oh, where did the name come from? Well, it’s a small province in Italy, nestling in the Dolomites. To be honest, we found that out after we’d made up the name…quite apposite really.