Born To Multitask - Interview With Paul Papasavas of Athos Consulting

Posted by Chris Hall on September 14th, 2010

I'd say that the average American is happily employed by one company, goes to work around 9, and gets home at 5. They probably make some dinner after they get home and watch some TV.

"Sometimes I do like to 'veg' and do 'nothing,' just put a movie on. Balance, ugh! That's the absolute challenge of life."

Paul Papasavas isn't your typical individual. A simple Linkedin search shows that Paul is the Owner of Athos Consulting, which does programming, network, security, infrastructure work, and a dabble of app development, and is a full time medevac pilot in New Jersey. While I can hardly walk and chew gum at the same time, Paul is doing PR work while waiting for emergency flight calls.

The app side of his company is quite small, with Paul and his brother Alex, the resident "master game developer," leading the way. Athos Consulting has been around since 1999, but has just recently gotten into app development. Their first app, Toy Physics, is a great physics puzzler that has garnered almost universal positive reviews from fans and critics alike. Alex says that most fans send messages to him saying things like, "I've been playing it ALL morning and got to level xxxx", so making the app successful is just "a matter of getting the word out and allowing people to actually try the application."

So how does one make an app successful without big company backing?

"The important thing is to pay very close attention to user feedback. After all, this is THEIR application. For example, we added level select and scoring in the iPad version based on user feedback - we'll be pushing that to the iPhone in the coming weeks. There's just a human element that cannot be ignored. We can come up with the initial concept but we have to introduce features based on user requests. They're pretty much our boss when it comes to how the application evolves."

Currently, Toy Physics is looking to add a bunch of multiplayer features, including leaderboards, achievements, and best of all, "a head-to-head type challenge mode where you're actively playing against someone live, where you could do something to affect the other user and are influencing the other player's gameplay."

The real challenge, it seems, is to find time.

"The type of flying I do, Medevac helicopter, involves a lot of down-time... that's to say unless we're requested on a flight, I'm at the base doing whatever it is I want to do. Of course, the flying and safety aspect of what we do always comes first...pre-flight, crew brief, or any applicable training for the day. Because our base is an "IFR" base (that means we can fly in the clouds), we often have to do even more planning and organization for the day and closely monitor the weather. So, knowing what the priority is and not scheduling anything critical on my flight duty days, things generally work out. There are days when we're flying all day long. Accident after accident ... We just go with what the day brings us, I suppose."

Along with working on Toy Physics, flying around Jersey to save lives, and doing consulting work, Paul is also working on a medevac aviation safety application that works with Departures and Landings which may be soon sold to the general plane flying public.

In case you were wondering what Paul does in his "free time" (what free time?), he says that he "loves sitting at the piano at 2AM writing music when (he) should be sleeping hoping (he's) not waking up the neighbors." I guess some people's free time is more productive than others.

As I was saying bye to Paul, he told me to give him a call whenever, unless he's flying. He ended the interview by saying, "in fact, I have to fly (a private plane) to DC in 1/2 hour ... so I better start the flight planning!"

Oh the life of a serial multitasker.