iCracked and Mac Have Your Back
Everyone knows that feeling — your heartbeat quickens and palms start to sweat as you stare at the ground with utter dread. You dropped your phone. Sometimes you pick it up just to breathe a sigh of relief that it’s unharmed, but the unlucky few barely contain a sob of devastation at the cracked screen of their phones. Even just looking around a lecture hall, it’s easy to spot dozens of shattered iPhones — the result of too many nights out and not enough money to spend on a new one.
One Penn State student has taken advantage of everyone else’s clumsiness. He spends his days taking apart our phones and making them appear and operate just like new. Mac Frederick is a senior studying advertising, business and entrepreneurship, and he has become his own version of a Penn State celebrity. After fixing more than 1,000 shattered devices, Mac is the first person people think of after someone’s phone takes a tumble.
It is easy to why people flock to Mac when they need their phone repaired. First off, he ensures that the process will be as convenient as possible by either meeting you at his go-to spot in the HUB or by coming wherever else is most convenient for you. Beyond that, Mac guarantees that he will fix your broken phone in front of you in less than 30 minutes.
The most shocking part of watching Mac repair these devices is seeing how well he knows what he’s doing — not just when it comes to fixing phones, but even down to interacting with his customers. I watched Mac as he fixed two phones, maintained a conversation with the owners of the shattered devices, and continued to fire answers back to my questions.
The Penn State start-up culture is something that is definitely growing, and Mac hopped on the train at precisely the right time. iCracked is an international company that started just over three years ago, and Mac purchased a franchise of the company from his friend about a year and a half ago. Since then, Mac has hired three interns who are in charge of helping to market his business. At this point, Mac fixes about 25 phones each week — a number that has grown exponentially from the two phones per week he repaired when he first started.
“Wait, do you fix phones?” a random passerby in the HUB inquired as I sat with Mac.
“Yep, take a card and tell a friend,” Mac replied without hesitation, not remotely fazed as the total stranger stopped to talk to him.
This continued to happen multiple times in the 45 minutes that I sat with Mac. Both of his customers had heard of Mac from their roommates who also had their phones repaired by Mac before. One had even been dropped off of a 7th story balcony, but Mac still managed to work his iMagic.
The system that both iCracked and Mac have are ingenious. By simply filling out a repair request online, Mac immediately receives the notification on his phone on an app created by iCracked. It will show him a map of where you want to meet, what time, and even spit out an estimate for you. While this system certainly works, Mac told me that about 70 percent of his customers come from word of mouth around campus, and he also depends on other student entrepreneurs to help spread the word. He even keeps cards for fellow student entrepreneur and inventor of the SmartPurse, Nicole Kelner, on hand.
Taking a business to the kind of level that Mac has is something that is definitely not something to scoff at and is a huge testament to the startup culture Penn State is becoming known for. But does Mac like what he does?
“I love it,” Mac replied without hesitation… or should I say iLove it?