Normally I blog exclusively about our business, offer my experiences on what worked for us, what didn't work, or how I've applied my MBA studies on the marketing or promotion of mobile apps. Today's post is a bit of a departure on that. However, there is some relevance to our apps, since our biggest seller is our cooking app, and I've spent the past week delving into cooking and diet and how to improve our eating habits and consequently, our health. This post will go through my hilarious (my opinion) escapades in trying to find time to cook and run a business at home, while keeping up with the family's busy schedule. It's a practical application of what we do for a living.
Clean Eating, so I'm informed, is more about lean meats, vegetables, and fruits, proper portion sizes, and eliminating processed foods, refined sugars, artificial sweeteners, and pop (including diet), rather than calories. I ate more food this past Monday thru Friday than I have been eating, and I lost 5 pounds! Read on to find out how...
All our recipe apps have now officially been updated and are available on the AppStore: Recipe Manager with Serving Sizer for iPad, and on iPhone, Serving Sizer Recipe Manager (new name, formerly Serving Sizer Pro), and Serving Sizer recipe converter. These cooking apps are essential to holiday cooking--scaling recipes by serving size to the number of guests coming to dinner. We've got a pretty decent SmartScaling™ functionality, one that our competition can't match. Not only do the apps scale the recipe ingredients for you, but they also optimize the final amounts. For example, if you scale a 1/2 cup from 4 servings to 14, the end result is 1-3/4 cups, not 14 half cups! This neat little calculation has moved forward from our Palm app days. We added recipe management to the little calculator, both on the iPhone and the iPad. These two apps are designed to exchange the recipe databases--through iTunes File Sharing. So you can create your recipe box on the iPad, then copy over all the recipes over to the iPhone.
We were shocked at how poorly iOS8 played with our apps--we have very robust designs and use the iOS API rather cleanly--avoiding any custom workarounds so that our apps maintain their functionality throughout iOS updates.
Being a mobile developer is not all it's cracked up to be, but it's manageable, and possible to be successful. Despite all the thoughts of millions of downloads, not everyone gets those. Probably relatively few. But we do survive, but only if we spread out our risk. It's somewhat like how people invest. If you spread out your investments over various types of items, if one area tanks, another will thrive. In the end, you have an even amount of return on your investment and a good balance. In this post, I'll explore some of the Catch22's of running a successful mobile software development company. I hope you will find some thoughts that will help with yours, or give you a better understanding of what you are getting into if you are just starting, or to help you better insight of our company, Creative Algorithms.
The results are in and Recipe Manager with Serving Sizer for iPad has topped the Best Cooking App category! Named Best Cooking App in the Best App Ever awards, 2013.
In addition, Trip Boss travel manager received Honorable Mention this year as Best Travel App.
You can find both apps here:
I have been very bad at writing on my blog; it's been a very long time. I think over the past year a shift has happened in my life, where I've focused less on starting our business and more on maintaining it and focusing on life balance. I've been through the iterations of what works, and what doesn't, in marketing and applied these where I could. We have evolved into a very steady flow of app income and also contract work income. We've found a good balance of work and family/personal time as well. I've become immersed in the martial arts and focusing on the feeling of well-being. Our whole family (all five of us) are doing karate and we feel good, having a family-focused activity, having developed important friendships, having become healthier, plus the endorphins are bar none. The schedule also helps us keep us in a routine. This blog post is rather disjointed, but I wanted to share with you how reviews have increased our sales, and how we've achieved a new, comfortable phase of our business.
I've been frustrated for the last week or so, which I'll get to the details on, but it all boils down to this: Too many ideas, too little time and resources. Story of our lives as indie devs, right? It's one thing when it's personal time, but quite another when it's your livelihood. Independent developers have to do all the tasks to run a company. Not only do we have to code, but we also have to test, design the app and user interface, create graphics, create websites, market the app, answer customer service, plan and strategize the apps and updates to tackle, do the accounting, manage social networking, prepare taxes, and more.
We've been working hard to update our apps for the new iPhone 5 screen size. These apps also support iOS6, fixing any bugs. The next one that has been released is Trip Boss Itinerary travel manager:
More updates on our apps for the new iPhone 5 screen size and iOS6 support. The next one that has been released is Journal : Trip Boss travel manager:
We're working hard to update our apps for the new iPhone 5 screen size. These apps also support iOS6, fixing any bugs. The next one that has been released is Trip Boss Expense & Budget travel manager:
The new AppStore, redesigned for iOS6, has been out for just over a week now. Speaking recently at 360iDev, I stressed the importance of great shelf design in the AppStore as part of your marketing plan. Getting to know the new design is key to understanding how it will affect browsing, discovery, and buying habits, especially for developers, but also for consumers. I've been playing with the store all week, on several devices, including the new iPhone5, the iPad, and my old iPhone4. I've found, sales-wise, that some things have improved, some have been unaffected. The new AppStore was obviously designed with the iPad in mind—the cards work/look so much better on the iPad—there's more screen real estate, especially in landscape, so the the side scrolling is a plus. The iPhone5's speed was most likely a huge consideration—the new store screams on the iPhone5, but is slow and kludgy on the iPhone4. (I shudder to think how it is on the 3GS.) On older devices, the icons are slow to load; it reminds me of surfing the web on dial-up (well maybe not THAT slow). The new AppStore includes a few areas only previously exposed and featured on the desktop iTunes store—the “What's New?” and “What's Hot?” per category. We've been featured in this area with each of our new releases, but alas these apps have had little exposure because who shops via iTunes desktop any more? This post will cover details on what's new, what's missing, how it affects our app shopping experiences, and how as a developer we can maximize our sales potential by redesigning and focusing on certain areas of our shelf space.