Saturday, December 31, 2011

SoDunked! is 1 year old! -- Should we do more development?

As we get ready to ring in the new year, here is another in our series of entries reflecting on the one-year anniversary of SoDunked! appearing in the app store.

So far, in these blog entries, we have talked about success and failure and whether we should keep going with this venture. We dwelled briefly on the past and now we want to look ahead. That seems appropriate given the New Year.

You might ask then, "will you make other apps or make updates to this one?" Well, we would like to do both. We have lots of ideas. But, before we develop a new app or spend any money (er, find money to spend?), we have added new tasks to our due diligence list and new questions to ask about each potential app.

For due diligence, we would evaluate developer costs and research the appropriate cost for professional marketing. As a result, we might skip developing an app that would drain money for development and leave nothing for promotion. We would also choose an app that solves a pressing problem, thus meeting an existing demand.

We would love to enhance this app, but until we meet our thresholds for additional development expenditures, we will hold steady. That's what's best for us. Everyone has to make that decision based on their own situation.

Note: we did just release "SoDunked! Free" for those who don't need the social networking part, specifically, kids 4-9 years old! We will keep you posted on that.

Help us ring in the new year by dunking someone or something with SoDunked! tonight. Maybe that pesky party house next door that had a pre-New Year's eve party until 4am this morning....

We wish everyone a very happy new year and send you all thanks for supporting SoDunked!. We couldn't do this without you.

Friday, December 23, 2011

SoDunked! is 1 year old! -- Is it still worth doing this?

Here is another in our series of entries reflecting on the one-year anniversary of SoDunked! appearing in the app store.

So, you probably want to ask--at least I know I ask myself and Lyle often, "is it still worth doing this and at what point do we give up?" We ask each other especially at the time when our big annual fees come due or when it's time to pay taxes. (It's amazing how much those things add up--overhead, state registration, developer's license, and so forth.)

Everyone should have a different answer to this question. Some people set themselves a date by which they have to reach a set of goals. Some people say they'll stop when they run out of money. And others will say "when I stop enjoying this." It is a combination of these three for us plus "when I run out of ideas for that 'one last thing to try' that's really going to make the difference."

For some reading on real exit strategies for business owners (every entrepreneur should have an exit strategy, preferably one that involves profit, but at least one that protects you and gives you a step-by-step plan to "escape" when it's time), read this Entrepreneur magazine article by Stever Robbins.

In the meantime, as we plod along with our work here, be sure to use SoDunked! to dunk a slow cashier (instead of yelling at them) or skip the last-minute shopping altogether and gift our app instead! (What a great idea--no lines, no fuss, no post office visits!)

Thursday, December 22, 2011

What are you annoyed today? Dunk it with SoDunked!

Portion of pby Osvaldo Gago
Today, I can't decide whether I am more annoyed at traffic or lines at the checkout. Who or what should I dunk with Sodunked! so that I can vent and be in a better mood during this festive time of year.

Portion of photo by Marlith
I just wanted to run to the store this evening and pick up overnight diapers, but after 30 minutes of sitting in traffic to get somewhere that is 5 minutes away by car and then waiting in a long checkout line behind people with carts full of stuff they wish they'd had more time to think through (the lady in front of me is taking things out and hanging them off of the candy display as she narrates her decisions for all of us behind her), I am at least mildly miffed. I am mouthing the words "Just open another line, people!" but not saying them aloud. I know I ought to find somewhere I can walk to instead or, better yet, figure out an alternative to overnight diapers; but, barring those options, I am stuck with traffic and lines for a few more days.

Maybe SoDunked! can help keep me from taking out my annoyance on Lyle when I get home (poor guy doesn't want to hear as I am sure he has had the same things on his errand nights this week).

What are you annoyed about? Take a picture and dunk it today with SoDunked!

Friday, December 16, 2011

SoDunked! is 1 year old! -- Success and failure

Our first app, SoDunked!, appeared in the app store exactly one year ago today. It seems like a good time to reflect on the year past as well as look forward to the year ahead. Lyle and I put our heads together and wrote quite a bit on this, so we will publish our reflections in installments over the next few weeks.

Since last December, we have attracted over 3,600 Facebook fans--from 19 countries and all continents except Antarctica, nearly 13,000 Twitter followers, over 4,000 "Journey to an App" pageviews from 10 countries, and, well, less sales than we thought we would have by now. By different measures we are both a success and a failure. We have had success at selling to people in dozens of countries, at using social media, at building a following, at getting the message out to a lot of people. We have failed to get it out to enough people and at getting enough of those people to buy. I also think we have failed to use our circle of experts to help us with decision-making and strategy as much as we could have this year.

According to scholars of entrepreneurship, failure is important--critical in fact--so I am thinking that failing at some of our goals is one of our successes. Okay, bear with me here. If we had sold as many apps as we had hoped by now, we might have relaxed a bit too soon, burned out quickly, or learned only that we were lucky. (Okay, we'd have earned more money at this, but I digress.) By not reaching those sales goals, we have to pay attention, experiment, try new things, find workarounds, and continue to brainstorm instead of saying "well, we got it right, no changes needed." We know what we would do differently next time and we apply what we have learned as we try the next approach to our current (SoDunked!) venture.

For an interesting article about entrepreneurial  failure (and success), read this article by Michael Hennigan at FinFacts in Ireland. Or, read this blog post from Brad Feld at Feldthoughts.

We hope all of your app developers find success at this. And, please, please, please, send SoDunked! as a gift to some 4-9 year old kids' parents today!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Guess what? -- We made a free version! (SoDunked! Free)

Well, the news is out. And, so is SoDunked! Free.

We have been toying with this idea for a while. It's a big step toward our goal to focus more on that 4-9 year old demographic and their parents. Kids don't need to (and parents don't want them to be able to) use Facebook and Twitter or their parents' email to notify people that they have been dunked.

Thus, SoDunked! Free was born. Now, anyone can download the app in order to dunk her big sister or an annoying yappy doggy toy--over and over--and no aunts or bosses will get random emails to say so (at least not via the app!).

Go forth and dunk, my young friends. Go get SoDunked! Free and tell us who you're dunking.

We'll write more on our decision to "free" soon. First, over the next few weeks, we want to celebrate and reflect on the release of the original app almost a year ago. Thanks for your support.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Quiz -- Who spends the most time using free game apps?

I am catching up on some reading and found an interesting article. Who spends the most time using free game apps?
  1. Teenagers  
  2. Adults, male and female, ages 45-54 
  3. Male adults, ages 25-34
  4. Female adults, ages 25-34

To find the answer, read this article by Dan Rowinski on ReadWriteWeb.

What does this mean for app developers?
It's a quick piece, but my take away from it is that app developers need to know who's spending money on what and try to aim for that demographic when you come up with your next big idea. For those of us that have apps already and need to market them, we need to use the data to help us focus better and target the right audience. Whether you are a techno-focused developer or a mom and pop entrepreneur, know your market.

So, if you are a child or parent of a child, age 4-9, reading this blog post, tell your friends about SoDunked! If you are not, please tell a child or parent of a child, age 4-9, about SoDunked!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Friday tips for iPhone users -- Angry Birds and Bookworm, the last installment for now

It appears I have answered all of the questions people have asked me over the last few months, so here are a very last few tips I can offer until more questions are asked of me.

Even the most constant players of SoDunked! need to use other entertainment apps now and then. These are two I enjoy and so do thousands of others. If you don't believe me, try them yourself. (Oh, and if you are a gamer or under age 25, you probably don't need to read on, just go dunk me and your grandma with Sodunked!)

Angry Birds (yes, Lyle, someone asked me about this)
I can't write a primer on it, but I can tell you three good tips.
1.       The birds can do different things. Yellow birds are "saw" birds and if you touch them after launch at just the right moment, they will speed up and hit the target with more force to "saw" through it. Black birds are explosive and you can touch them to control when they explode if you choose. White birds lay explosive eggs, but you have to touch the bird in flight over the desired target. I don't have that down, alas. The blue birds multiply when you touch them after launch, so if you get the timing right, those teeny birds are actually very useful. The red birds...I don't remember what they do. Really, I should have my kids write this as they taught me everything I know. (I'll find out and update this soon). 
2.       Now that you know what each bird can do, be more strategic about which bird you use first or last and where to aim given the bird options you are given with each turn. 
3.       Set your timer for the amount of time you think you need to play Angry Birds and choose a really jarring alarm sound so that it stuns you out of the addicted stupor you will find yourself in (no matter what you tell yourself about self-control and being an adult). Now, go dunk one of the birds (or a pig) with SoDunked!

Bookworm - not about books or worms at all
This too can be addictive. If you do not know this game, it is sort of a cross between Tetrus and Scrabble. It can be addictive for the wordies among us, so heed the third tip from the Angry Birds bit above and use your timer if you don't want to be playing for hours instead of sleeping. I have four tips for this game.
1.       Get rid of the flaming tiles asap even if it means not making that amazing word that isn't using the flaming tiles. It'll pay off in the end. 
2.       Make words with the J, Z, and Q when you have the chance or they'll trap you at the end when they turn to flame and are surrounded by only consonants. 
3.       Keep an eye out for that bonus word (care of my mom-in-law and cousin)
4.       Make it more challenging by restricting yourself to minimum 4- or 5-letter words only. It can get boring after a while if you don't do that although it remains addictive. 

If you are a competitive wordie, you may need Words with Friends or Scrabble. For those, I cannot help. Competitive Scrabble allows words that you cannot play at home on a real board so I just don't like it. Also, Lyle is so good at it that I can't compete. I think I'll dunk him.

And, don't forget to dunk someone today and spread the word about Sodunked!