Can you tell me about the scope of the project? What did it include?
There was nothing at the start but an idea. The total development time for the launch of the first version was probably four months. It started with a good month of light board work, where we sat down and talked about how the frames would work and how best to structure it, and what to include, what not to include, so a lot of good conceptual work before we ever put a hand to coding.
The second phase was that we rolled into using Flinto and other simulation pieces of software, so that before we began the actual coding, we could see it in a visual form in a demo.
When we were comfortable with that, we rolled into phase three, the coding. It went pretty quickly after all that conceptual work. So, four months from zero to version one in the iStore.
Did you also launch additional versions of this product?
We launched a second version and maybe a third, just within the following two months. But, they were rather minor bug fixes. We had worked out a number of the bugs before the first launch because we had allowed friends and family to use the app before it was ever in the iStore. [The second version] wasn’t materially different.
How long have you worked with them?
I continue to work with them. At this point, it’s probably been 10 months, because there was probably a couple of months’ process of getting to know them before we ever launched. I continue to have a relationship with them, advising on the next step for the app. I’ve just come to like them a lot. I bounce ideas off them, and they bounce ideas off me.
One of the things that really set them apart to me was that they’re technology guys, but they actually come out of the real-world business environment. They come out of the securities trading environment, and have also clearly worked on some pretty demanding applications in the past. I like that because they’re very responsive.
Why did you decide to use the iPhone platform?
We perceive the iStore to be the benchmark of app loyalty. While there has certainly been substantial growth in non-Apple platforms, [such as] Android, the App Store and the loyalty of iPhone users is still the hallmark of where to start. Then, to the extent that it thrives there, we would bring it into Android.
When you selected LaunchPad Lab to work with, were there other candidates that you were considering? Why did you choose to work with them?
I had [to consider whether] to get the guy in his basement or hire a real development firm. I quickly went to a real firm because if you hired a guy in his basement, and he’s not able to get it all the way there or can’t support you post launch, and you bring it to a real developer at that time, then they’re not going to tweak what he did. They’re going to rebuild it from scratch. I didn’t want to take that risk.
In the real developer space, I talked with other firms. There are lots of people that are capable. At the end of the day, I wanted someone local. I talked to people who had more mobile app experience than LaunchPad, but I really liked [LaunchPad’s] approach, and their ability to think about the business model, not just the app. I liked the fact that they came out of the real world, and I perceived that they would be very responsive. That’s turned out to be absolutely correct.
I’m very pleased with their work, very pleased with the app, just enjoy working with the guys, and wouldn’t have made a different decision.
Can you give us a sense of the size of this initiative either in dollar terms or personnel work hours estimate?
Between the developer, a local PR firm, and some legal work, I’d probably spent somewhere in the range of $70,000 or $80,000 on the app, all my own funding. The developer piece was probably 80 percent of that, I would say.
When was the initial project completed?
We launched it in the iStore in the second week of November of last year .