Bennett Rawicki graduated from the University of Dallas in 2009 with a politics degree and a J.D. from SMU Law School in 2012. He currently lives in Irving, Texas, around the corner from UD, and works as a litigation attorney.
At Christmas Eve Mass in 2019, Rawicki witnessed a teenager sitting next to his parents in the pews playing games on his smartphone the entire Mass. It seemed the young man could not bear to put the smartphone down and that his parents were either incapable or disinterested in changing his behavior.
“Inventions arise as a solution to a problem,” Rawicki said. So he set out to solve, at least in some small way, this particular problem.
Rawicki thought there should be a way to nudge individuals towards a better use of technology. He envisioned smartphones with periodic notifications which appear as quotes, bible verses or suggestions of other ways to spend one’s time such as to “pray for someone” or “do 10 pushups.”
After pitching the idea to every screen-time app company — none of which were capable of adding such a feature — Rawicki created the non-profit company Nutu, which means nudge in Latin. By collaborating with his dad for funding, his 6-year-old son for a logo and a Ukrainian company to design the app itself, Rawicki was able to release this new app, called Nutu Unglue, on the Apple App Store.
The app does not shut off your phone or prevent you from opening other apps, it simply alerts you once you have been on the screen for 30 consecutive minutes with a revolving series of quotes and suggestions to engage in a different activity. Rawicki finds this non-draconian approach to be more effective for individuals.
This approach is more realistic for users and still allows one to freely choose to continue being on their phone. If you are reading the Bible on your phone, you may not want the screen to just shut off, but if you find yourself scrolling Instagram, you may need an extra nudge.
Rawicki is currently working with UD students to market the app to a broader audience of high school and college students, along with their parents.
He wants others to know that Nutu Unglue is available to help people avoid abusing their phones by binge-scrolling, something usually regretted afterwards. Eventually, Rawicki wants to raise enough money to make the app customizable for the amount of time and the types of notifications that appear.
Until then, he continues to haunt the UD soccer field as he trains for the alumni game on Groundhog!
“I plan to keep trying to get better at fulfilling God’s vocation for me as a disciple, husband, parent, friend, lawyer, volunteer, donor and athlete — and enjoying the path along the way every day.”
His wife and teammate in life, Trish, UD class of 2009, enjoy working together to fulfill their various vocations and hope to convince some of their very young children to eventually come to UD.
More about Nutu Unglue is at nutu.app or on the App Store. Feel free to email firstname.lastname@example.org if you want more info or to support the marketing effort.