Johnny Lin, Creator of Wi-Fi Widget


Who are you?

I’m Johnny Lin, creator of Wi-Fi Widget for iPhone and iPad. It’s been called “the widget Apple should have built.”

Can you tell us the story of your business from idea to where you are now?

I was on my phone waiting like 15 seconds for “google.com”. It was infuriating. So I went to the home screen, then settings, then wi-fi, then saw that I was on a random router named “NETGEAR” with no internet. This huge inconvenience got me to build Wi-Fi Widget for myself, so I could immediately see the name of the connected router right in the widget and lock screen. I had no intention of selling the product, but after a few friends expressed interest in it, I added a few more features and put it up on the app store. I later added the ability to store and share your wi-fi passwords securely and conveniently, as well as an instant speed test.

What has been your biggest failure or struggle?

In the beginning, trying to figure out distribution and press. But once the pitch was locked down, it was much easier.

And what has been your biggest achievement or success?

Coverage in LifeHacker, MacStories, and dozens of other news outlets, hundreds of upvotes on Product Hunt, and of course, helping people be less frustrated with their wi-fi.

What’s your must read business book?

“Letters to a Young Poet” by Rainer Maria Rilke. Not technically a business book, but lots of neat timeless reminders about life, persistence, and meaning.

Who’s your most inspirational CEO or founder?

Travis Kalanick — just kidding. Probably Charles Best (founder of DonorsChoose) or the Kiva.org people. Great people with terrific missions.

And can you tell us something weird or interesting about yourself?

I recently washed my jeans with my shirts, so now all my shirts are blue.