App Timeline: Effort and Reward

It’s been a little over a month that I published my first app DroidWeight on the android market. It’s time to look back and see how it worked out for me.

Timeline

  • 3 weeks to first beta (of that I spent the majority of the time learning android, 2-3 days on graphics, icons and a couple of days writing articles on the blog)
  • 2 days of beta test (thanks again to my awesome testers!)
  • 3 days fixing bugs and implementing the feedback I got from the testers
  • 2 days preparation of the actual upload (presentation, more graphics design etc.)
  • 1 day of extreme reload clicking on the android market developer’s console only to find out statistics are only updated every other day (I already wrote about the initial launch here).
  • 2 weeks to 1.1 release with a couple of new features and major refactoring
  • 2 bugfix releases that each took a couple hours to debug and release

All this effort resulted in:

  • more than 2200 downloads in 1 month
  • more than 1100 active installations in 1 month (I am not sure if a 55% installation quota is any good, I think it must be: I delete over half the apps I download)
  • 4/5 stars with 17 ratings (1 star ratings hurt, however 4/5 overall is really great)
  • 3 bug reports via the blog (all fixed)
  • 4 feature requests:
    • 1 of which is already implemented: body fat tracking,
    • 2 are going to be in the next release: import/export of data & hopefully also the consolidated input
    • 1 is beyond the scope of my planning I am sorry to say (someone requested – in portuguese! I wouldn’t have been able to translate that on my own, but I had help – to be able to track data for more than 1 person)
  • 10 people sent written feedback in form of comments on the market or via the blog
  • 2 sites other than my own (app catalogues) have featured DroidWeight
  • 2 mails with requests to upload the app to other markets (probably automatically generated once I pass a certain number of downloads)

All this is for a free app without any advertisements and there is currently no pro version or a paypal button.

Different markets, different numbers

For contrast: my second app the RpgTracker was published 10 days ago. It took only a week to develop a first release that provides the first few features that can actually be of use to people (scrum anyone?). As you might guess there are a lot fewer pen & paper roleplayers out there than people that want to lose weight. So even though there are a lot of apps quite similar to DroidWeight and none that do the same thing as RpgTracker, the latter is getting far fewer downloads. For comparison: RpgTracker got barely as many downloads in the first week as DroidWeight on the first day. The feedback has also been positive however.

Immediate feedback

Having worked as a corporate developer for many years it is a very different thing to be so close to your actual customers. I was used to having to speculate what customers wanted. Now they tell me 🙂 It is motivating on the one hand and a bit intimidating when fixing bugs. It’s awesome to see a new 5 star rating or review and it’s depressing to see another 1 star without even a comment to explain.

Despite continous doubts about the whole adventure and the occasional 1 star rating, what I am doing is extremely exciting and rewarding. Next week I am participating in a 2 week business course for people just starting out as entrepreneurs! The goal of that will be to help me with writing my business plan. I will be working on the next release of DroidWeight and try to get started on that business plan thing.

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