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Why You Should Avoid Developing Apps – Part 1

Yep, that title is a pretty bold statement, especially when I am writing the first blog post for our new company. However, I can tell you now that not too long ago my business partner and I were wondering why we would bother with developing mobile apps. This post was created to try and give other readers a heads up into the troubles they can run into!

Let me tell you why… (We’ve all run into the same frustration as the guy above).

I just want to start off by saying that if anyone tells you that developing a game, a utility or any other iPhone or Android application is easy and that you can make $100,000 in the time it takes you to break a sweat at the gym then I urge you to kindly say ‘thank you for your advice’ and then walk off or go work out harder at the gym. Alternatively, you could say the same in fewer words… I’ll leave that up to you!

Do you remember when you woke up one morning and thought to yourself that your app idea could possibly be the next big thing? Well so do we and you don’t need me to tell you that in that moment of sheer brilliance you feel like you are only a few short steps away from a one way first class ticket to your favourite destination to sip on your favourite cocktail while lounging back on a sun bed (that’s the first thing I am going to do… see swim up bar).

It is hard not to think that way when you hear about the people who spent 6 months (or less) on an idea and are now multi-millionaires. I’ll be the first to tell you that even for those people it was not as easy as flicking a switch.

The Money Maker App Our test app

I wanted to call this section ‘The Money Maker App’ because that is exactly what we thought we had, but considering I am now looking back on this, it is safe to say this was ‘Our Test App’.

Did you ever download Logo Quiz? Or maybe just heard of it? Well it was a game that millions of people around the world downloaded. The premise of it was that you were provided part of a logo, be it a car company or a known brand, and you had to guess what it was by typing the name of the company. You had to get a certain number right in each level to progress to the next level. This is an addictive game that killed so many hours for so many people; on the couch, at school or work and even while sitting on the toilet.

Not a very complex game by any means, but how come it took so long for someone to come up with it? Who knows and who cares, but the makers of the original logo quiz are happy they did. There is now close to 200 different variations of the logo quiz game. *Update* there is probably closer to 1,000 now.

In that list of 200 1,000 is one of our own.

{Animal Sounds Quiz} – What on earth is that? Take logo quiz and replace the company logos with sounds that various animals make – some just a fraction of a second and some a few seconds. You have to guess what the animal is from the sound.

*Update: this is no longer on the App Store.

How could this not be the money maker we thought! Making money was so easy we thought.

We have come a long way since creating Animal Sounds Quiz, when we started with this app we had no idea of how to market it or any techniques to optimise our App Store page. What marketing did we do for it? Quite literally, it was one Facebook post away from nothing.

I personally posted the app on my Facebook profile in November 2012 which managed to get 33 likes (thanks for the support). If I had to guess that would mean a reach of anywhere from 2000 to 5000 people. Of that you would typically think that maybe 50 people downloaded the game. Why only 50? Let’s be honest, getting your friends to download your app isn’t that easy (or many things for that matter…)!

To our surprise in our first month, November, we managed 1,135 downloads with a single FB post. We started to think; hey this could have some legs… the kind of legs that cause car accidents.

Next was December and we saw an increase in downloads to 1,701 for the month. That means in our first two months we had managed 2,836 downloads with no advertising or marketing. At the time, I couldn’t comprehend how one single Facebook post could have such an effect. When you are starting out in an industry you have little knowledge in, anything can amaze you – even when you are so wrong!

With this kind of early traction we started to make elaborate plans to take this to the next level and start collecting that $100,000 we were hoping for. A few things changed…

To come in Part 2: ‘Just when you think you can trust someone, they let you down… and steal your money’.

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Pete is the Co-Founder & Managing Director of a Sydney based start-up, Inspiring Apps, focusing on developing mobile applications for iOS and Android.

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