Bringing App Ideas To Life

Murky Media co-founders (from left) Miles Calunod, Katra Cuskaden and Ryan Cuskaden at the launch party for their first app.  PHOTO COURTESY KATRA CUSKADEN

Murky Media co-founders (from left) Miles Calunod, Katra Cuskaden and Ryan Cuskaden at the launch party for their first app. PHOTO COURTESY KATRA CUSKADEN

Brother and sister Ryan and Katra Cuskaden are family law attorneys at Everett Cuskaden & Associates (“It’s family doing family law,” Katra explains), while longtime friend Miles Calunod runs a T-shirt printing company.

But after regular business hours, the three of them have joined forces to become Murky Media, an app-development and consulting company — and they recently held a launch party for the release of their first app, KendamaGear: Tournament Edition.

“It was great seeing the kids do the app in person and challenging each other,” Katra says. “That was really nice, getting that kind of positive feedback … They were just having so much fun.”

The app debuted in early September, but since the party they have seen a huge uptick (more than 200 percent huge) in downloads.

The app allows interactive kendama play: It generates a trick for players to complete with their kendama. There are single-player options, as well as group play, including one game that operates like H-O-R-S-E — all players must complete the same trick before moving onto the next level.

“It’s interactive where they are competing against each other,” Ryan explains.

“The app assists their play, rather than replacing their play time,” Calunod adds. “That is really the key.”

The app will take you from beginner to more advanced moves. In addition to the set tricks on the list, there also is an option to create custom tricks.

“They can use their own creativity and create their own trick and challenge the person in the tournament,” Katra explains.

Murky Media currently is working on two additional apps. They’re keeping the details under wraps, but they did reveal that they’re aiming to provide more educational material in their apps, which is something that they are always looking to give to their own children.

The Cuskaden siblings met Calunod when Ryan attended high school with him at Iolani.

The boys bonded over their mutual love of gaming. As they got older, they toyed with the idea of writing a game together — after all, they certainly had the skills. While Ryan says he is more the “ideas guy,” Calunod, who spent 20 years working in IT, focuses on the nuts and bolts of app development.

Katra, meanwhile, runs communication and outreach. Plus, the Cuskadens are well-versed in the legality of starting a business.

With those diverse skill sets, Murky Media also offers consulting to would-be app developers to bring their ideas to life. They can walk clients through the initial process of fleshing out ideas, to the technical details of putting it all together. The goal is to help anybody develop an app, whether they have the technical skills or not.

“We can help people skip a lot of hurdles,” Calunod says. “And that makes it a lot more reachable for anybody to create their own piece.”

To download Kendama-Gear: Tournament Edition, visit the iTunes app store or Google Play.

For more on Murky Media and to stay up-to-date on its upcoming apps, visit