Still Here! Been on a Working Vacation, Will be Speaking at 360iDev in Denver in September

No, I haven't dropped off the face of the earth. I've just stopped blogging while on an epic 6-1/2 week working vacation. Cory did most of the working, I did the driving. We travelled with our family of five out west, camping and sightseeing, then stayed with family in the Seattle area for a chunk of the time. Remember I mentioned we were going to test out Trip Boss? Well, this was the vacation I'd alluded to. I'll be putting together a post-mortem of our travelling with Trip Boss experiences in the upcoming months (I'm still digging out of email, etc., tho we did check it remotely.).

Trip Boss Itinerary Manager Countdown Sale

We're running a sale, counting down to US Independence Day on Trip Boss Itinerary Manager. Hesitate and miss out on the best deal:

80% off Saturday: 99c
60% off Sunday: $1.99
40% off Monday: $2.99
20% off Tuesday-4th of July: $3.99

Trip Boss Itinerary travel manager is a must have for keeping track of your family's vacation itinerary. Track everything from lodging to routes, to all those little micro plans.

Happy 4th of July!

On AppStore Search Ranking Algorithms

I just got back from a four day scout camping adventure with my son. It was nice to get away from technology for a while, but while I was gone, Apple changed their AppStore search algorithm! Our sales dropped by at least $30/day, which may not seem like a lot, but it adds up to $900/month, which is a major drop in income for a family trying to make a living off of the AppStore.

Real-World App Testing: Using Trip Boss Travel Manager on Vacation

Testing some productivity apps in a real-world situation is not always feasible. For example, we make a travel app, Trip Boss travel manager, for business and personal travel. Unless we plan a trip each time we test the app, testing will only be simulated travel. Day to day usage can be replicated, but actually using the app for travel can provide a new perspective on the app. True in-depth reviews are also rare, unless reviewers use the app to travel. Unfortunately, getting someone to review your app, let alone someone who just so happens to be traveling, is difficult to coordinate.

Smartphone Paradigm Shifts – Recognizing When Technology Advances During the Present

When looking back, it's easy to see how technology has changed throughout the years. Recognizing trends during the present isn't as easy. How things changed in our (my) parents generation is obvious. They went from radio to black and white TV to color TV. We moved onto video and now we have so many options to view media. I often tell my kids we used to have to watch TV live, get up to turn on the channel (with a knob), adjust the rabbit ears for better reception. We could miss our favorite show, or be forced to watch some stupid show if all we felt like doing was vegging out in front of the TV. In the US, we only had 3-4 channels to choose from: ABC, CBS, NBC, PBS and maybe something local. My kids' eyes widen and can't believe there was life before TiVo and multichannel cable/satellite TV.

From Engineering to Tech Entrepreneurship, One Mom's Roadmap to Success

Recently my husband and I did a presentation at our daughter's 5th grade class on entrepreneurship, running a business, and making iOS apps. Our oldest daughter is writing an iPhone game with her dad, so was thrilled to be validated in front of her peers. It was very rewarding to us because we could introduce a seed of thought to the kids in the class—options! My mom's advice to me when I was a new mom was to expose my kids to as many things as I could—to show them they have choices in the world. We are thrilled to be able to have that chance to introduce the ambiguous world of entrepreneurship and encourage STEM. I had wished that entrepreneurship had been demystified for me when I was young. My parents intro'd me to a world of information and experiences, but I ended up quite risk-adverse; I even took an entrepreneurship class in my business master's program! So, here I am, an entrepreneur, running my own indie mobile development business with my husband. How did I get past all that fear of risk? Surprisingly, goals are what have driven me down this path, and those goals have as much to do with my children and family as my personal drive for achievement. In this post, I will share my story, from mechanical engineer to program manager to mom and president of my own company.

On Going Universal

The new iPad (aka 3rd generation) adds a new complexity to universal apps this week—high resolution images and graphics—which could quickly fill up that 16/32/64 GB storage space. In addition, other things happened this week—the 20 MB download limit over non-wifi (3G/4G/4LTE) increased to 50 MB. Updates are no longer showing up in New Releases. Considerations for going Universal may now shift. This post will discuss some of things to consider when deciding on a universal app vs a device-specific app.

Using Common Sense to Deliver Good Customer Service

Customer service can make or break your apps. Most people contact customer service for help, to complain, or to vent frustrations. If you're lucky, you'll get a rare email that raves about your app. Polite, prompt, and helpful responses can prevent frustrated customers from venting on the reviews, which can affect your overall rating, or even sales, if the reviewer brings up a perceived flaw of your app (merited or not!). Managing your customers satisfaction doesn't have to be hard. This post will cover some tips on a common sense approach to customer contact and how to provide exceptional customer service.

Wrapping It All Up with a Marketing Checklist—Applying the 4P's of Marketing to Apps

Launch an app, tell everyone about it, hope for an Apple feature, and spread the word. The three key promotional aspects of marketing your app are Launch Blitz, Apple Features, and Word of Mouth. A developer has the most control with the first, very little control with the second, and indirect control of the third. All three feed each other, and using the 4 P's of Marketing: Product, Place (Distribution), Price, and Promotion will help in working these three aspects, which I've covered extensively in my seven part series, Applying the 4 P's of Marketing to Apps. This final post of the series will touch upon the loose ends of promotion and conclude with a spreadsheet you can download and use to make your own marketing plans.

Launch Blitz, Timing It Right – Applying the 4P's of Marketing to Apps, Promotion, part 4b

App complete, check. App tested, check. App submitted to Apple, check. Pre-launch promotion prep work done, check. Now what? It's all about the timing. Based on our experience in the AppStore, there are three things that contribute most to sales numbers: 1) Getting noticed by Apple (and being featured) 2) Word of mouth and 3) Launch Blitz. I discussed the strategy for getting noticed by Apple in previous 4 P's posts: make a great product, include new iOS tech, follow the HIG, have a polished icon and screens. Word of mouth is just the snowball effect—the more people own (and use) your app, the more they tell their friends, the more you sell. Ensure this by making a great product, providing excellent customer service, providing convenient ways to share your app with others and cross-selling, up-selling within your app. This post will focus on the third item, the blitz of promotion at launch, where you bring out all your promotional tactics at the same time, to get your app noticed in bulk.

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