If you are interested in learning a little bit more about how I got to where I am now, starting from age 8, Lori Collins just wrote a nice article all about that on her new blog, Startup Cafe.
February 12th, 2013 Jeremy
I want to write more. My problem is that I generally only write when I am super inspired about something. Since I’m writing a book and doing more articles on sites like Smashing Magazine, I want to learn to make a habit out of writing. I think this blog can help me do that.
So I told Christain to learn web programming and build me a new website. The old website had a lot going on all over the place. I wanted something simple and elegant, super focused on the reading experience.
I think he did a great job. As with all our products, we are all about iteration so feel free to let us know what you like and don’t like. We’re all ears.
While we’re here, thought I would post a little status report on the stuff we are working on:
- Languages: we’re actively working on the iPad version.
- Grades: we’re about 70% done with a completely redesigned version of Grades that takes on the class management space, a market that competing apps have proved to be big enough to invest in.
- Hours: we’re working on a prototype that we can use day-to-day. We think that will really inform the design.
- TapPress (the book business): Cleaning Mona Lisa did well for an iBook but we want to figure out how to create and market books that bring a bigger return on investment. Once we’ve cracked that nut with our own books, we plan to help authors and publishers do the same.
- Yes, I am working on a book. More on that later.
- I’ve been working on building a Branch community where top app makers discuss important topics to help bring the industry forward. It’s been going really well so far.
- We are still doing some client work. About to jump on a few new projects.
- We’ve also got some other super secret stuff coming up but that’ll have to wait for now.
Thanks everyone for following along. I look forward to blogging more and sharing what we’re learning along the way.
UPDATE: as of 12:55pm eastern the site doesn’t look great on mobile but we should have that fixed soon.
February 7th, 2013 Jeremy
That is the question I posed to the App Making group this week.
A few highlights from the discussion:
Ellis Hamburger, writer at The Verge:
Ultimately as a developer you must aspire to be the best in your category, which often means looking to competing apps and making sure you can outdo them from the get-go — and *don’t launch your app until you meet those goals* since any category only has a few real winners.
Samuel Iglesias, developer of Tea:
To me what makes a good app idea is a good interface idea: the two go hand in hand. More often than not problems we identify (which aren’t really *that* hard to identify) have HARDER usability problems that piggy back onto them.
David Chartier, MacWorld + Mac Observer + OnePassword:
A good app has a clear message and purpose. The tools have to be unique and fill a need, or people will question why they need it or just stick with something they have.
Francisco Inchauste, Rise + Smashing Magazine:
A good app idea adds on to the competition’s with some better features and implementation. A *great* app idea reimagines that product through design, and resets the baseline.
January 31st, 2013 Jeremy
I’ve been blown away by the tremendous discussions happening on the App Making Branch group. Our latest discussion brought out some of the best PR tips I’ve seen online, all answering the question: how do app makers befriend journalists?
The best part? We’ve heard from some of the top app journalists themselves. A few highlights:
Rene Richtie, Editor at iMore:
1. Make great apps.
2. Be human.
Ellis Hamburger, App Reporter at The Verge:
3. Be brief, be sincere, include screenshots. Screenshots speak louder than words, and they’re your best bet at getting me interested.
4. Ultimately, as sincere and wonderful as you may be, it’s difficult to earn coverage for a subpar app/thing. Don’t be a nag.
5. Even if you miss a couple journalists for one app launch, know that if you do great work, they’ll cover the next update or the next app.
6. Be a nice person along the way. We’re all into the same stuff, just be yourself!
Federico Viticci, Editor at MacStories:
1. Get my name right. I’m called “Federico”; not “Frederico”, “Federicco”, “Frederrico”, or any other weird variation.
2. Build a great app and tell me why it’s great in 2 sentences. If it’s a known concept, tell me why your app is different.
3. Know my tastes. I have over 6k articles on MacStories. You know I’m into iOS automation and that sort of stuff. If you have a URL scheme, **tell me about it**. Show me that you *want* my coverage, and that you’re not sending a copy & paste to everyone.
(he then goes on to list 17 more awesome points so be sure to check his answer out.)
David Barnard, founder of App Cubby:
There are some really cool people in this industry. If all you do is beg for coverage, you’re missing out on getting to know some great folks.
Marc Edwards, founder of Bjango:
• Be part of the community. Where possible, help others (karma, baby).
• Be prepared and take the time to write short, on-point messages. Don’t waste anyone’s time.
• If you expect someone to give you their time and attention, be prepared to give them your time and attention in return, should they ask.
I hope I’ve convinced you that you seriously need to check out the full discussion. There are so many gems to be found.
Also be sure to go to the App Making group and click the “watch” button to follow the discussions.
January 24th, 2013 Jeremy
I’m really happy with how much great discussion has happened already on the new App Making Branch community. I’ll highlight my favorite discussions here on the blog but I think I’ll refrain from posting the whole discussion since that can get a little lengthy.
In our second discussion, we’ve been talking about the viability of freemium for non-game apps:
Can the freemium (free + in-app-purchases) model work for non-game apps? I think, for certain apps, it definitely can. I’ve heard good things from David Barnard with his timer app. On a larger scale, I’ve heard iTranslate is doing very well with a subscription model for premium features. I also think apps with very enticing add-ons like Paper or photo editing apps can work well. The question is, what kind of apps does this work best for and what are the trade-offs?
Read the ongoing discussion on Branch →