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June 16th, 2011 Jeremy Jeremy

Screen shot 2011-06-16 at 9.59.01 AM

Throw your mind all the way back across the eons to 2010. In May of that year Jeremy and I began to brew up Grades 2. Nine months, forty days, and forty sleepless nights later, we launched Grades 2 with great ballyhoo and fanfare. SXSW had been good to us, giving us contacts with lots of great folks and eminent bloggists. We also had lots of great connections from the Grades 1 launch.

Hence, when Grades 2 first launched, lots of great people Tweeted up the story. We were featured on blogs such as MacStories, HackCollege, and AppAdvice. The synergy of these blog posts and tweets, combined with the newsletter we sent to our users, launched Grades 2 into the top 100 education apps. Our goal: to be featured by Apple on “New and Noteworthy.” Our thought: Apple helps those who help themselves—you need critical mass to get the nuclear explosion of being featured by Apple.

Our machinations worked. On the Thursday of our second week Apple featured us on “New and Noteworthy,” keeping Grades 2 up for two weeks. This made us the top app in Education for over a week and blasted us into the top 200 free apps overall. Our goal: 100,000.

Over the month of May, we accrued over 90,000 downloads. We wormed our way in front of several television cameras (the local Fox and NBC affiliates), as well as getting into the Charlotte Observer, a Japanese higher education magazine, and several student newspapers. But we still hadn’t reached that elusive 100,000.

Jeremy decided to go to San Francisco for WWDC (winning a student scholarship helped in that decision). It just so happened that, at the Apple Design Awards, Apple invited Jer onstage and gave him a glowing cube. We had won an ADA in the student category. Craziness.

Press coverage came in thick and fast. We found ourselves on the New York Times, Consumer ReportsZDNet, Mac Rumors, PC World, TUAW, and MacStories, to name a few. Jeremy also did an interview with MacWorld.

And as if that wasn’t enough, Apple put us on the front page of the App Store, along with the “Apps of the Week.” Downloads soared. And that’s how we reached 100,000 (107,270 as of today, to be exact).


So we’ve come a long way. We’ve learned how to design a delightful app. We’ve also learned how to market said app. Our next project, which we will be blogging about over the coming months, is to learn how take full advantage of the freemium model. So far with Grades 2, ads and in-app purchases have brought in a measly $1000. We think we can do better. We also are turning our hobby into a legit business and have some pretty amazing opportunities pouring in. So stay tuned for the next part of the story.


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