I just wasted a month of my life. I’ve been working on an iPhone app (a password manager like 1password/lastpass but competing on price), thinking it was a brilliant idea, and now it’s come time to market it. Having seen Patrick McKenzie’s open invitation to send him emails, I thought i’d give him a try. Anyway, a couple of succinct emails later, I now realise what a fool i’ve been. (Props to Patrick for being so helpful, though!)
Basically, I got things the wrong way around: I wrote an app, got it ready to ship, and then thought ‘now, time to sprinkle a bit of marketing on top’. But what is now clear to me, is that the marketing should have come first. In fact, the customers should have been in the drivers seat the whole time. In hindsight, its a little obvious.
Lets call this ‘MDD’ – Marketing Driven Development. Or, maybe People Driven Development? I like that more, it sounds a little less like an MBA term… The idea being, that you find a bunch of people who want an app, and make it for them, keep them updated as you work through the development process, get their feedback as you go (basically just keep them involved), then once it’s done your marketing is pretty much already done. Plus, you might have made a few more friends along the way.
So, going forwards, my strategy is going to look like this:
Anyway, i’ve now got an app with no prospects of finding a community who’ll want it. All because I developed what I thought was a good idea, but will certainly struggle to find anyone who’ll want it. I should have started with what people want first. Still, i’m happy to learn a lesson the hard way rather than not at all.
So, next time you start work on a project, find a community forum where lots of people want it. Or at least 5 people who promise they’ll buy it if you build it.
Thanks for reading! And if you want to get in touch, I'd love to hear from you: chris.hulbert at gmail.
(Comp Sci, Hons - UTS)
iOS Developer (Freelancer / Contractor) in Australia.
I have worked at places such as Google, Cochlear, Assembly Payments, News Corp, Fox Sports, NineMSN, FetchTV, Woolworths, and Westpac, among others. If you're looking for help developing an iOS app, drop me a line!