where did it all go???

I can’t believe its 3 months since I last posted. bloody hell!

Well what a 3 months, my app did nothing, or possibly even less.

My app has been live on the play store for few months now, I have done very minimal promotion. and it shows. Downloads are miniscule, ad revenue derisory, and payments none existent.

Commercially useless, but a useful exercise nonetheless.

What I have learned:

  • If you are not actively promoting your app, it will go absolutely nowhere.
  • Most early downloads are people looking for a way to sell you something.
  • Google really really wants you to buy ad words to pimp your app.
  • the play store is not a way for people to find your app
  • no one wants to pay
  • no one clicks ads
  • promotion will cost you time or money or both, probably as much as the actual development, if not more.
  • And there is still a strong chance of commercial failure.
  • I reckon around 500k downloads would make a low paid but just about viable business.  I am about 500k away from that.
  • I hope none of this is a surprise to anyone.

So in summary I am largely unconvinced that being an indie app developer is viable these days. You might be able to be a marketeer with a sideline in apps.  But if you think you can make a living for yourself with your head in Android Studio all day, you are probably wrong. I didn’t try games.

I am moving on to a new experiment now, still on Android, still in apps, but I am going to look at a more integrated approach. And some different markets – it is possible my first app was just the wrong market – we’ll see.

have a good xmas



I did this (free) course recently:

Udacity Firebase in a weekend

(I did it mid week – NO ONE tells me when to study!) (/irony)

The course was good, I like the Udacity/Google courses, a lot of thought goes into them.

But anyway, Firebase…

The chocolate factory oompa loompas did all that shitty plumbing no one wants to do. And it seems they did it well. And they are giving it away for free. (For unpopular apps anyway (like mine…))

Having had to do some of that back end shizzle in the past I cannot believe how easy and frictionless getting a (fairly trivial, it has to be said) messaging app up and running was. And what a load of grind they have removed.

I’m sure parse server and the other similar systems do the same stuffs. But anyway I am (now) a big fan of these – I shall invest more time to learn more. Firebase is handy though as you just log in to goog and fire up a new app and you are away – no server installs and gaping infrastructure security holes when you miss some update admin crap. (there still might be security holes of course – just SEPs (someone else’s problem)).

I didn’t bother with firebase analytics in the last app I developed, a. because it was quite simple, and b. to minimise required permissions / maximise privacy. But as you need network access for ads, I’m not sure I ended up with that much less. Maybe I should stick fa in and see how few people are downloading and using it in even more gory detail than the play console.

App is already 90% developed by external contractors/developers


So how long will the other 10% take?

I’m guessing the budget is 1/9 of what those devs took?

No one heard that the last 20% takes as long as the first 80?

Unless those externals have such a good design, can communicate it and requirements haven’t evolved, and won’t change further…

In that case it will only need about 100% of the time they took to understand what they did, and another 100 to add decent tests and finish off the agreed, locked down 10% of functionality. But add another 100 for the inevitable changes – no point delivering something the users don’t want – even if it is what they said they wanted.

maybe its fully ‘documented’?

where do I apply….