App Success: App Maker Jordan Says “Show Your Ideas To People As Much As You Can”
In our App Success-series I talk to upcoming and seasoned app publishers about their successes in the App Store. Today it’s Jordan Westfall, publisher of the game Spin Square, who’s in the spotlight. He talks about ideation, showing your idea to people, and relying on support from your network.
Let’s hear it!
“What kind of apps are you making?”
Jordan: I just published my own app, it’s a game. I previously looked at other kinds of apps, but I’ve been playing games all my life and might as well take a shot at making one. The game that’s in the App Store right know is called “Spin Square: Simply Difficult”, the player uses rotational mechanics to get colored blocks in the right order. It’s been compared to a Rubiks Cube, but then a 2D version.
“Is the app a success?”
Yes, I’ve received a lot of good feedback from friends and family. As it stands right now I’d definitely call it a success, but I’d like to reach out more, for bigger eyeballs.
“What are your plans on marketing it?”
Right now I’m trying to contact media people, like Youtube reviewers and bloggers. It’s like a grassroots approach of marketing yourself without having to pay hundreds of dollars for Facebook ads.
“Is there a revenue model for the app right now?”
Yes, it’s monetized with ads. For every few games you play, the app will show you an ad right before you start another game. It’s not generating a lot of money yet. You’d need hundreds of thousands of players before it generates enough money to leave the day job. But yeah, we’ll get there!
“Tell me a little bit about your lifestyle, what’s it like?”
I just got home from my day job, but I literally don’t stop working. Before I published the game into the App Store, the work wasn’t as fast-paced. I could take my time, but now it’s almost like a ticking time bomb. If I don’t have success early on, the app will just fall by the wayside with all the rest of the apps that aren’t doing so well.
There’s really a sense of urgency to put myself out there. For the last few days I’ve gone out to a nearby city, which is over an hour commute, to go to events to expand the network and get the word out.
“What are determining factors for the success you’re currently having?”
That’d go back to the support of my friends, family and extended network. For the last 3 years I was going to these different events and meetups, and doing that I built up an email list off of business cards. It’s a good strategy for someone coming up, to just go out there and get as many email contacts as you can get. Then, once a month I keep them updated on what I’ve been doing.
Leading up to the release of the game, I sent a couple of emails explaining what I had been doing: we’re done with development, now it’s in review, we made it to the store. I used that to get a pool of launch testers, that’s what I call them, to try out the game and get the last of the bugs out.
“Is app making something you’d recommend to others to do?”
Yes and no. With me, I’m on one side of the train tracks: I don’t have any coding capability, I was lucky enough to be good at designing and being able to express my vision good enough to the developers of the app [ed. Jordan outsourced development]. Now, on the other side, if you have a good idea and can code I would always suggest to people to tinker away at it. If you don’t have enough time, just continue to build it on your nights and weekends off. Continue to build it and show it to people whenever you can. Even if you only have two buttons; go show those two buttons to people and see if they like it.
“What is your advice for future app makers?”
It’s all about trying and going out to talk to people. I talked to a lot of guys who are coders and many of them are a bit introverted and shy. I think that you always have to show people what you’re working on. Even if it’s just an idea, go talk to people about it. It’s very unlikely someone’s going to steal your idea. I’ve read a lot of books about multimillionaire entrepreneurs and investors and each one of them says: Just talk about your idea, it’s always about the execution of it at the end of the day. It’s very important to get out there to talk about your idea as many times as you can. If you toil away with a crappy idea without showing it to people, you’ve wasted all that time even if you think it’s a good idea.
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