Daily Planet for Mac OSX released to app store.

Daily Planet has been released to the Mac App Store! This is one of my personal apps that I developed for myself primarily and felt that others would enjoy as well. It pulls down popular images of landscapes, animals, and other nature photos to randomly show on your desktop throughout the day. All of the images are curated to get the best of the best. You can purchase it from the app store for only $1.99 here. I hope you enjoy it.

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Space Gremlin 1.2 update released

Space Gremlin 1.2 update has just been approved by Apple and added to the Mac App Store today. New features available in the update include

  • Added support for FileVault users.
  • Added Compress feature.
  • Added Move to Trash feature.
  • Fixed a small bug where Free Space was not updating after deleting files.
  • Small tweaks to visualization.

This was a big update for Space Gremlin as a lot of new features got added, it wasn’t just about bug fixes. If you catch any instabilities please let me know right away.

More at www.spacegremlinapp.com | Buy Now on the Mac App Store

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Anatomy of a Mac App Store launch

When I started out the idea for 10 Million Apps one of my desires was to share the process of building and selling apps as a sole entrepreneur. I’ve gotten a lot of inspiration from other developers sharing their own numbers and wanted to share my lessons in app selling for others.

Space Gremlin initially started out as a bet between John Debay and I about whether the new app store would attract buyers. He was adamant I should focus my side projects on the new store while I thought I should focus on iPad. The only way to settle the argument was to just build something and see what happened. I did the build out over Christmas break and sent in the 1.0 version to Apple on January 13th. By the 27th it was approved and a launch date was set for Feb 7th. Below is a chart tracking the activity around Space Gremlin for the first two weeks.

Timeline
2/6 – Although I wanted to officially launch on Feb 7th, I set the availability date to Feb 6th so I could make sure it showed up in the store ok. I got 32 sales that first day by accident!
2/7 – Launch day was a big success in my eyes, I was in the top 10 list for Utilities category by the end of the day and very happy with the sales.
2/9 – Daisy Disk experiments with a big price drop which sends my sales sinking to their lowest point.
2/11 – 1.1 update hits, Mac Stories picks it up and twitter lights up, sales climb for the weekend
2/14 – TUAW posts a review of the 1.1 build at 10pm Monday night, twitter explodes with bot spam that night, but the real effects of the article don’t happen until…
2/15 – Sales rocket and Space Gremlin hits the #4 store wide. This was the first time I started recording store positions so that I could see how sales translate to position. In the top 5 you almost have to double your sales to move up by one slot.

At the end of the 2 weeks the thing that left the biggest impression on me is how well the app store sells itself. If I was trying to sell Space Gremlin from my website, I’ll bet I could count on one hand the number of sales I would have gotten before the TUAW review. However with the App Store in the equation I can count on selling to all those people that just browse the store each day looking for things to buy. Likewise, getting in to the top 10 list gave me steady sales throughout the week as the app was surfaced for more users to see.

Post Mortem
1. Giving everyone I work with at EffectiveUI a beta copy of the app to play with really helped me flesh out the initial problems with functionality and design. By the time Space Gremlin hit the store I had at least 40 designers and developers review the app for me.
2. Finishing up the 1.1 update before Apple approved 1.0 turned out to be a good move. The day I launched Space Gremlin I also sent in the 1.1 update to Apple and it got approved just ahead of the TUAW landslide. You only get one chance to make a first impression.
3. I suck at marketing. Aside from the lucky breaks with Mac Stories and TUAW, I haven’t been able to drive much traffic to the website. As far as I can tell, most people are now finding the app through sheer curiosity on the app store or word of mouth.
4. Germany is the 3rd biggest buyer of Space Gremlin on the app store, localization is going to be key going forward.

As for that bet with John Debay, I think its safe to say there’s money to be made on the new Mac App Store.

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The 10 Million App challenge

Over the past year I’ve been watching the application development world explode. Apple & Google have fostered this amazing ecosystem where money between users and developers is flowing like water. Every week Hacker News seems to have one article or another detailing the overnight success that people have selling their apps. Reading these stories has been both exhilarating and somewhat debilitating for me. While I fantasize about my own million dollar ideas, I know from experience that most apps simply fall flat.

10 Million Apps is a challenge to bridge that mental gap and provide focus for me to work against. The goal is to have 10 million app downloads within the next 10 years, with some revenue generating capability, over any platforms available. As a sole developer it might end up being easy or it might be really hard, I have no idea but I think it’s worth trying. I’ll try to share my experiences on this blog and detail my progress toward completing the goal, and hopefully devs are able to learn from my experiences the way I’ve been able to learn from others. Or better yet, take on the challenge themselves, so I can have a couple partners in crime.

For now the plan is to try and release a new app every 2 months during 2011. With a solid year of work I’d expect to have a better perspective on how to chase the long term goal. While it’s tempting to shortcut the process and try to compete in the race to the bottom, I really don’t think I would find much satisfaction from it. So for now I’d like to just build the types of apps that I would use myself.

As a side note, I have no intention of leaving my normal job at EffectiveUI. While most people would advise a fresh start, the truth is this is one of the best environments I’ve ever worked in and I genuinely believe my ideas would suffer without the constant buzz of this office. Not everyone likes working for clients on a daily basis, but it’s taught me how to read the tea leaves in this industry.

If you’re interested in the apps I’ve released so far, you can check out LOL Studio and Space Gremlin.

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Space Gremlin 1.1 update released

Space Gremlin 1.1 update has just been approved by Apple and added to the Mac App Store today. New features available in the update include

  • Scanning now 10% faster
  • Memory footprint greatly reduced, 25% less then version 1.0, and over 40% less then similar products currently on the app store ;)
  • Better handling of Time Machine backups
  • Volumes now show percent filled in Quick Launch
  • Fixed tooltips showing offscreen
  • Additional enhancements to scanning view

The launch of Space Gremlin has been amazing so far. Within one day of being on the store it hit the Top Paid list and has remained there since. I’m more committed then ever to making Space Gremlin the best app in this category.

More at www.spacegremlinapp.com | Buy Now on the Mac App Store

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