I just finished my first version of an Android app and released it to the Google Play store. Notice I said I finished and released my first version. This is a milestone – to actually build something and release it for consumption. But it does not stop there. Not by a long shot. Unless I’ve built something never before done like an anti-gravity machine, the first version is great, but not enough. There is much to do still!
I’ve learned from experience that building something is a great first step. But it’s only the first step. Because if that’s all I do, I know that crickets will begin to chirp around the real time calculator app. Dust will start to gather. There’s much more to do than simply build a first version. There’s talking to others about it and continuing to enhance it with great additional features. And most importantly, I need to gather feedback from the market to adjust based on how the app is used.
Stick With It
It took me about 30 hours to release this first version. There were a few times I wanted to pull my hair out. Quite a few times, I wanted to just go to bed, lay down, and drown my sorrows by talking my wife’s ear off. But I stuck with it. I solved the problems I needed to and got it done. It took some relentlessness and determination. The initial resistance is conquered. But there’s plenty more resistance now. Should I just kick back now and celebrate this first creation?
I think the best way to answer this is the story of Emmit Smith (the famous running back who played for the Dallas Cowboys). There is a commercial of him doing a bench press. He says he won the super bowl so he can rest now. He rests for… about 2 seconds and then gets back to doing the bench press. He hardly even rests even after doing that which tells me there is much more work to do, even after a victory.
Ratio of Work and Marketing
I’m a developer at heart. I like to write code and build things. But those things I build don’t do anything without people seeing and using them. This is where I’m having to learn the hard lesson of marketing and interacting with others. I’m working on doing this better. But my ratio still needs some adjusting for this project. I’m putting in about 90% coding and 10% promotion/marketing. In reality, it needs to be about 80% promotion/marketing and 20% coding. How people feel and perceive my product will directly correlate into usage and hopefully some day sales.
What Does the App Do?
Here’s a video demonstration of some of the features of the app:
Create a Strategy to Execute On
My main strategy now is to start showing the app to people and get their feedback. I also need to learn how to optimize the app’s search terms on Google Play so the right people find the app using standard search terms that are calculator related. Here’s some feedback I’ve received already:
- Create a tip/tax calculator in this app.
- Create a metric/cooking/medical converter in this app.
- Add additional functionality for more complex math, like trigonometry or graphing.
I think the clue I’m getting is that I can take the best stand alone apps and apply them to my real time calculator formula and make an all encompassing app. Why download 3 or 4 apps to do different calculations when my app will get the job done for them all. This will be my development strategy moving forward – to provide the features of custom calculators like tip, tax, and conversions and combine them with the way the real time calculator works.
For promotion, I’ll continue to walk around with my phone in hand and talk to random strangers about it and get their feedback. I’ll also work with people online that I know to do cross promotion to get further exposure. Finally, I will maintain a high standard of quality and that means no errors, crashes, or bugs in my app if I can at all help it.
Creating a first version of something is great. But it’s only a small first step. There is additional functionality based on market demands and a ton of work to do promoting and working with others to get the idea out there and used. And that’s the part I’m a noobie in. I’m not an expert in marketing and promotion. But as I’ve said in the past, we’re all terrible when we start out. But we get better :)
Have you ever built something, but then never done anything else with what you built? Have you built something and then continued to refine it? What happened in each case?
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