We are proud to have worked with SnappTours, a San Antonio based startup who specializes in creating smartphone guided tours for museums, universities and city tourism bureaus. SnappTours was looking to have a native iPhone app so that users could have an easy way to aggregate all of their client’s tours and discover new museums and destinations.
SnappTours is for any museum buff who loves to travel, and will help enrich their trip to any museum who is a SnappTours client by providing them with both audio and video content of the artwork that they are viewing.
Are you a museum who is interested in making a smartphone tour? Reach out to the guys at SnappTours today by visiting their website at www.snapptours.com for more information.
Have you ever been in a meeting that wouldn’t end? You wanted desperately to check your Twitter feed but you knew that Jimmy from accounting would totally bust your ass for hopping on the Twitter app on your iPhone.
You were forced to play mental buzzword bingo and count the number of times “synergy,” “six sigma” and “silos” were used instead of living vicariously through your friends who are out having fun.
Stick it to the man by downloading Covert Chirp to read and respond to your Twitter feed in a notepad skin. No one will be the wiser. Not even Jimmy.
Friends don’t let friends eat bad food.
The Local Dish App is a great way to find out what’s cooking in your neighborhood! Follow suggested local bloggers to find out their favorite spots in your hometown!
Traveling? Change your city to read blogs relevant to the city that you’re visiting to find the best places to eat from folks who know!
After you find the review of the restaurant that served the best Crème Brûlée EVER, be sure to share it by posting a link to Facebook or emailing it out to your friends!
The Local Dish App was made by An Average Joe in San Antonio, a food blogger who loves learning where the best places are to grab a bite! Visit his blog at www.sanantoniojoe.com for his favorites in the Alamo City!
There are a million apps out there and it is hard to get publicity. With the market becoming more and more crowded, it is often times hard to stand out. Unless you are big dev shop (Electronic Arts) or have massive public appeal (Martha Stewart), it can be incredibly difficult to get folks to download your app.
While people have different ideas for trying to get noticed (Assisted Word of Mouth or Building a Marketing Plan and Not Just Immediately Releasing), I have found a way that can differentiate you from the pack: develop something kitschy for an audience that you know well. This philosophy is what led me to create Cascarone.
If you’re in the US and not living close to the Southern border, you probably have no idea what the heck a cascarón is, however, it is something that is very special to me.
Cascarónes are brightly colored eggshells that are filled with confetti and you break them on a person’s head and to get confetti all in their hair. Tradition has it that it is good luck to have a cascarón cracked on you, but for me it is just a lot of fun to smash an egg on someone’s head.
If you come to San Antonio during Fiesta, or visit the border/Mexico around Easter, you will see plenty of confetti on the ground from broken cascarones. Surprising a friend (or random passerby), breaking something, and making a huge mess all tap into our juvenile joie de vivre, which is what makes cascarones so much fun.
When creating an app, I think that it is important to make something that you are excited about and something that is unique. Although Seth Godin’s Purple Cow has become somewhat of a cliché, a developer made a recent post of why this is so important. Having something that is uniquely yours really is the key to being noticed, especially if you are a non-technical person like myself.
By creating something that resonated with my community, I received a good amount of exposure. This included articles in La Prensa, San Antonio Express News, and even the Wall Street Journal. I believe that this good press was a direct result of Cascarone transcending being a mobile app and being tied to the culture and overall fabric of where I come from.
The flip side, however, is that all that press did not translate to a landslide of downloads of Cascarone. In fact, I have had only several hundred downloads which will leave me quite far away from recouping the expenses I incurred for developing the app. I think that this is a common theme of people who do what they enjoy: you win some and you lose some. (I would be curious on anyone’s thoughts on how to have capitalized better on the publicity; please comment below.)
Make no mistake, I did choose to develop something that recurs annually and will be just as fun to a new subset of folks a year from now as it was to the first people who encountered it in 2011. I am curious to see the download trends and if people remember to tell their friends about it a year from now.
This is article is just a single piece of confetti in the great cascarón of opinions on how to get your mobile app to stand out. What are your thoughts? Please comment!
On my recent absence from contributing to this blog, I had to go to the well and quote Willie Nelson:
“Well hello there
My, it’s been a long, long time
And how am I doin’?
Oh I guess that I’m doin’ fine
Well, it’s been been so long now
But it seems now, that it was only yesterday
Gee, ain’t it funny how time just slips away?”
I can’t believe it, but it has been nearly a year since I left to venture out on my own. At that time, I began developing an application that would help B2C communication on Twitter. I thought that this was the million dollar idea, and it may very well have been, except I was unable to sell it, I ran out of money, and Twitter (being in eternal beta) kept changing causing my code to crumble.
During this time, I started iPhone development on the side. That led to making a lot of friends in the mobile development community, working with developers oceans away, and contributed to the belief that anything is possible.
Unlike overnight success stories, my dream ended up not working out. I ran out of money and ended up taking odd jobs (I tried to start a house painting business (which also failed) and tutored SAT prep to inner city high school students) and ultimately had to return to the working world. Extremely humbled, but grateful for a job, I returned to work with the company that I had left eight months earlier.
Four months have passed since rejoining the professional ranks, and I have never been busier. After realizing how hard it is to make and sustain a revenue stream, I have worked hard to do what’s best for my company. I have completed every task/project that has been given to me with the highest quality.
Additionally, as I vowed in a blog article at the beginning of October, I continued to create on my own. Any person with a full time job with entrepreneurial aspirations on the side will tell you that this is difficult.
You come home drained from working 8:00-5:00 and then you have to continue to produce. Documenting ideas, making mockups, performing QA, giving feedback, coordinating developers and artists, staying up late to talks with developers, trying to line up sales and composing emails is incredibly time consuming; this is especially true if you are trying to have a relationship, other interests, read, and still have fun. This shit is tough.
But, I have to admit that it is worthwhile. I have never been happier. I have absolutely enjoyed the past four months and have learned so much.
Currently, I am working on a Facebook Picture Game, a Foodie app for iPhone/iPad/Android, a special application for Feista/Easter for the iPhone/iPad, an update to Second Take, and building out a platform for museums to use to deliver mobile guided tours (we just signed up the San Antonio Museum of Art as a client for the Missing Peace exhibit!). This has all been exciting, and consequently, taken me away from writing.
I have a couple of articles that I will be interesting in publishing over the next couple of weeks, so please stay tuned and actually check back in with this blog. I know that it has been rather uneventful (in fact, I would love for someone to scrape a huge sampling of blogs and find out how many of them have articles in which they apologize for not updating!), but I look forward to writing on different topics soon.
I will leave with some questions for any of you indie developers (please leave comments because I would love to get some feedback!):
1) If you have a “professional job” as well, why do you devote time to development?
2) What gives you the energy to create even after a long day?
3) What are some projects that you are working on/blog where I can read about it?
4) For you guys that are off on your own, when did you realize that you could sustain yourself on your own?
5) What inspires you and gives you the energy to keep on going?
Always enjoy hearing from devs/entrepreneurs so please leave comments!
I want to let you know that Second Take is now in iTunes for iPod and iPad! This is a really fun party game modeled in the tradition of Catchphrase/Taboo/Charades. The gist of it is that a person from a team is given a scene from either a movie/TV show/real life event and an accent from a fictional character/famous person/personality and they have to act out that scene in that accent.
If a picture is worth a thousand words, than a video must be worth a million, so I would advise you to check out our YouTube Channel or the Second Take Website to see some examples (Seinfeld acting out a scene from Back to the Future or President Obama performing a scene from the Godfather) on how to play the game!
We are very excited about this release, but we also want to let you know about a bug that we found and are currently working on. The app is currently freezing once a team wins; we are making sure that this bug is fixed promptly, but until then simply exit out of the app and start a new game to play again.
We apologize for this error, but we hope you enjoy playing the game while we are working on this fix! Thanks!
For the past six months, I have been pursuing a dream of trying to start my own business. While I have found how difficult it is to create a successful business from scratch, I was fortunate to discover that I really enjoy creating software.
Currently, I am at a crossroads. I have had some interviews with tech companies where I would be managing software development, and while I feel that I would be an excellent fit for these roles, I have not heard anything back. While I understand that I don’t have years of experience in this realm, I do feel that I have proven my moxie and mettle the past year in creating usable and successful software on an enterprise, smaller scale, and mobile perspective.
This is contrasted by me beginning to apply for roles that are more directly related to my education, training, and experience. As I mentioned before, my background is in Industrial Engineering, so I have recently begun applying for these types of jobs. I have had tremendous success in this arena, and will begin to pursue this avenue more aggressively if I am unable to land a software product development type of role. I am fortunate to have a good network in this industry, and I am hoping that they will be able to help a brother out!
At six months with little to no income, I definitely have to speed up the process of rejoining the professional ranks. Tomorrow, I plan on following up with the tech/start up companies who have interviewed me to see if there is an opportunity for me to join their team. Pending the results of those conversations, I will then begin to visit with my contacts to find out more about the traditional IE/Process Improvement roles that I have more direct experience and qualifications for.
I felt like writing tonight, because I think it is rare to kind of see where two divergent paths can take you for the immediate future. Getting a role where I would manage software development would springboard me in an entirely new career, I would create and refine a new skillset, I would make new industry connections, and I would relocate to a new city where I would have to establish new friends. An Industrial Engineering role would keep me in a similar career, allow me to further develop my experience and hone the skillset I currently possess, deepen my industry connections, and (most likely) allow me to remain in my current city with my close friends.
As you an see, either path has a tremendous amount of upside, and I will be excited to go down whichever one that presents itself.
Furthermore, I know that in either opportunity I will continue to create on my own. I have had a passion for bringing ideas to light and already have a backlog of about 7-10 really solid pieces of software that would be interesting to make and use. By continuously creating, I hope to deepen the nascent relationships in the dev community that I have begun to develop in addition to learning from all the new friends I have made. This is also very exciting to me.
Regardless of where I go, I am thankful for the experience I have received these past six months. Wherever I go, I am looking forward to applying all the knowledge that I have gained in addition to constantly learning more and improving myself. And I’m not gonna lie, it’ll be great to finally get paid for it again