Andrew Thompson (a.k.a. @andrewfashion) is a 32-year-old entrepreneur, programmer, fashion enthusiast, and all-around tech virtuoso who founded the ‘Gypsee’ app this year—America’s newest and most convenient mobile travel platform. Originally from Colorado, he did his fair share of travelling before landing in Los Angeles, California. Now, with the ups and downs of his former business ventures behind him, he’s ready to move full-steam ahead into 2020 with his new travel enterprise.
I had the pleasure of sitting down with Mr. Fashion for a one-on-one, giving One West readers the inside scoop on all things GYPSEE.
- How did you first get into coding?
My mom’s boyfriend had a TI-82 calculator. I was playing with it one day and discovered it had apps (games, essentially). I started playing around with BASIC and TI-BASIC languages. Things naturally evolved from there.
- Your bio says that you were a high school drop-out; what led to that decision and how did you continue educating yourself on your own terms, outside of standard schooling?
Honestly, I hated, I mean hated school; teachers, education, cliques—all of it. School just was not for me. I loved computers, computing, and programming. Interestingly enough, I never formally “dropped out.” I just stopped going to school one day on a whim.
- Would you ever consider going back and completing a degree of any kind?
No; I would not go back. I honestly have no reason to go back to school for anything. I have all of the skills I need to do what I want with ‘Gypsee’ and programming in general. This does not mean I am not a fan of learning. I am quite the autodidact—I read, learn about new and upcoming computer languages, and enjoy taking in seminars. There is no practical purpose in me taking a GED or college diploma.
- I also noticed that you taught yourself to build computers from the ground up. What inspired these types of ventures, and what practical uses came from them?
I really took a strong interest in computers and computing back in the 5th grade. I met a fellow computer enthusiast who was a self-proclaimed hacker. It was he who got me really started in […] computing. I immersed myself in all things computer—circuit boards, programming, Photoshop, and even a very brief period of hacking. I no longer hack, by the way. It was just a phase.
- Now, let’s jump ahead. How did you first have the idea to start a travel company? What specific event/s led to this decision?
I am blessed with my fair share of friends back home in Colorado, and at one time, we took collective trips. I normally handled most of the planning and securing hotels, flights and the like. Well, there came a time when it simply was not possible to coordinate everything, much less the funds to cover it. My co-founder and I, with whom I had continually bounced ideas, were chatting about a way to ameliorate this issue. The subject of a travel app was broached, and suddenly, the ‘Gypsee’ seed was planted.
- What kinds of places/countries do you guys service?
Right now, our only country of service will be the US. We have plans for international opportunities. Our first international travel excursions will be to Bali and Greece. There will also be several opportunities for domestic trips to various places like New York City, for example.
- Were there any personal trips or plans of your own that helped to inspire the way that you guys operate?
Before, I was always able to coordinate trips with friends and was financially and fiscally able to pay for everyone and everything without question. When I lost the opportunity to do so, I did not lose my travel desires. A dear friend and I were chatting about going somewhere exotic, but we both did not have the money at the time. We brainstormed about a way for everyone to pay their own way for a trip as they could, and arrive together at the same place at the same time. Viola! ‘Gypsee’ was born.
- I happened to read that you designed the ‘Gypsee’ app using Apple’s programming language (Swift), but I also saw that you’ll be launching an Android version in 2020. What is that process like, when jumping between different platforms or interfaces? And, follow-up question, what can users expect from each app?
I am 100% Apple. I am going to be fully in charge of the iOS version of Gypsee. The Android version, which will be written in Java, will be done by a contracted developer. There are some differences in the two platforms, but the apps will be identical for the end user experience.
- Okay, awesome. Now, I know that you appreciate a wide variety of artforms and are not strictly caught up in the business world, so I would be remiss not to ask you about some of your other interests as well. Afterall, One West Magazine is all about music and fashion, and your Instagram tag is @andrewfashion; so, firstly, where did that moniker come from?
It was 2006, and I got bitten by the “Shutter Bug.” I really took to photography, especially high fashion photography. Hence the name, “Andrew Fashion Photography.” My subjects were models, naturally, and the name stuck. All of my clients called me Mr. Fashion. I still adore shooting pictures, but this is only a side hobby now.
- I also like to ask my interviewees about their music taste, and with ‘Gypsee’ being a travel app it’s the perfect time to pose this classic question: Which five albums would you bring with you onto a desert island?
I am a huge Drake fan, so I would have to start with two of his: Nothing Was The Same and Thank Me Later; The Weeknd, Starboy; Chris Brown, Fortune; Maggie Rogers, Heard It In A Previous Life. This is such a difficult question to answer, as you know.
- And, lastly, where can One West readers find out more about you and your company?
That’s easy. I am on Instagram, @andrewfashion, where I post on occasion. My more active site, www.andrewfashion.com, has an eight-blog summary of my life in programming and my past experiences with being a millionaire. You can also learn more about Gypsee at www.gypsee.travel and email me: [email protected]