What is one of the biggest mistakes made by aspiring app entrepreneurs? Confusing a product with a business. If you build and release an app, you’re selling a product. What happens when sales dwindle? Do you have a plan for sustainable revenue?
Dan Counsell is the founder of Realmac Software, creators of applications such as RapidWeaver, Ember, and Clear. He’s been in the software business for a while now, and has learned some extremely valuable lessons along the way. In this episode, he shares the story of his very first piece of software, and his shock when people started sending him money for it.
He also walks me through the design, development, and launch of his most recent app, Clear (which I personally use every single day). The app is available for both iOS and an OS X, and he talks about why all developers should be targeting both App Stores.
This episode is about creating an app business, not just a product.
Here’s what we chat about:
- How Dan first transitioned from web development to software development
- The surprising influx of money that made Dan realize that people will pay for software
- The reason Dan believes that social apps are harder to sell than utilities
- Why Dan decided to make a to-do list application when there were already hundreds in the App Store
- Dan’s very first step once he has an idea for a new app
- The challenges of creating a gesture-based interface
- When Dan started prepping for the launch of Clear
- How to tell journalists that you’re working on a new app
- Why email lists are a vital part of a successful launch
- How Dan used beta testing to capture the attention of the press
- Why Dan wasn’t worried that journalists were going to leak details about Clear early
- Growing an iOS app into a cross-device utility with a Mac app
- Making more money by losing sales but charging more for your app
- Why Dan suggests building apps for the Mac, and not just mobile
Links mentioned in this show include:
- Clear (App Store)
- Realmac Software
- Paid, Paymium or Freemium by Dan Councell
- POP Prototyping on Paper
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Would your app work in the OS X App Store? Let us know in the comments below!
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Excellent podcast! I really enjoyed your conversation with Dan. I have a question. What advice would you have to those that don’t have a successful launch? I plan to use your advice very soon in developing my app idea and would like to know how to recover from a bad launch if it gets to that point. Thanks for you all your help and keep of the great work!
I think the best thing to keep in mind is that every update that you release is a brand new launch. It gives you an opportunity to reach new people, find a new angle to try, and turn it into an event all over again.
If you have a smaller launch, then that just means that there are even more people who haven’t yet heard about you. To them, your update will actually be a brand new product!