podcast

18 – 141% Funded on Kickstarter . . . And Here’s How I Did It by Paul Solt

At the beginning of October, I launched a new Kickstarter project, and it’s now officially funded with over 172 backers. I also have a few unannounced stretch goals that I think are going to push it even higher.

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  1. Super Easy iPhone Apps
    1. Project page: Back it today!
  2. Why was I worried?
  3. Stretch goals
    1. Captions
    2. Live Community
      1. Q&As
      2. Live Chat
    3. 1-on-1 Lessons

Questions about Kickstarter? 

17 - My new Kickstarter project is live! So why am I so nervous? by Paul Solt

I’m launching a new Kickstarter project that’s been on my mind for the past six months. Find out why I’m using Kickstarter . . . and why I’m so nervous . . .

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https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/the-creative-person-podcast/id981714428?mt=2

  1. New Kickstarter project
    1. Super Easy iPhone Apps
      1. Swift 2, iOS 9, Xcode 7
      2. Course Series
      3. Help you learn faster
      4. Reduce friction and frustration
      5. Live/recorded Q&A sessions
  2. Why am I nervous?
    1. Will people like it?
    2. Will people support it?
    3. Will I reach my goal?
      1. 69% funded on October 7th 6pm…
  3. Project page: Super Easy iPhone Apps

Questions about Kickstarter? 

16 - WWDC 2015 Developer Highlights for Apple Watch and watchOS 2 by Paul Solt

Apple is making Apple Watch even more powerful with native apps using the watchOS 2 SDK and WatchKit. Get access to the hardware to run code and query the sensor data for your own app experiences.

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Please rate the Creative Person Podcast on iTunes. Post a question you have about the Apple Watch and I'll answer it in an upcoming episode. 

https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/the-creative-person-podcast/id981714428?mt=2

Apple Watch - watchOS 2

  • Timepiece
  • Communication
  • Health and fitness
  • Maps
  • Development

Timepiece

  • Most customizable
  • Photo face
  • Photo album face
  • Time-Lapse face
    • Hong Kong
    • NYC
    • Lodon
  • Complications
    • Make your own detail views
    • Flight times
    • Home control
    • electric car
    • Sport scores
  • Future information
    • Weather later today
    • Next meeting
    • Time travel (digital crown)

Communication

  • Size button
  • More friends and groups
  • Multiple colors in drawings
  • Reply to email
    • FaceTime audio on wrist

Health and Fitness app

  • Favorite fitness apps on the watch 
    • Other apps can contribute to your daily activity
  • Siri can start workouts without touching

Apple Pay

  • Store cards and reward cards
  • Wallet store your reward cards

Transit

  • See transit lines on your wrist

Siri

  • Siri can give you mass transit navigations
  • Siri set your HomeKit dinner scene
  • Siri show me the Instagram glance face (quick access to third party apps)

Development for Apple Watch

  • WatchKit - enabled thousands of apps using your iPhone
  • Native apps - move UI + logic to watch
    • Better performance
    • Better responsiveness
  • Apps can communicate with known wifi networks
  • Microphone
    • Bring audio into your app
    • Play audio out of speaker (short form and long form)
  • Play short form video
    • Access to native health kit (streaming heart rate with Strava)
  • HomeKit - natively on watch
  • Accelerometer + movement data
  • Taptic engine - for app development (different feelings + audio)
  • Digital Crown with rotation (super easy to change values)
  • Apps open quicker
  • Very responsive apps

15 - WWDC 2015 Developer Highlights for Xcode 7 + iOS 9 + Swift 2 by Paul Solt

Learn everything you need to know about changes for the Apple Developer program. One program to target all apps on iPhone, iPad, Mac, and Apple Watch. Apple continues to innovate with Swift and Xcode.

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Development 

iOS 9 Supports all previous devices

iOS 9 download will be just over 1 GB, not 5 GB !

  • Anyone can run apps on their iPhone (no need for paying for developer membership)
  • Extended GameKit APIs
    • GameplayKit
      • Rule-based games (agent + behavior)
      • State machines for AI
      • Pathfinding 
      • ReplayKit
    • Record gameplay (or app usage)
      • Playback and share
      • Social interaction outside the game
    • Model I/O
      • 3D models (mesh)
      • Realistic lighting of 3d objects
      • Import from industry standard file formats
      • Loading and exporting 3d assets
  • App Thinning 
    • Reduce download size
  • Bitcode - support new features + optimizations
    • Will you need to test more platforms?
  • On-demand resources
    • Nice to have, but getting your game out should be your first priority

Xcode 7

  • Improved asset collections
  • Level editor for SceneKit games (hopefully much better than prior support)
  • Improved Testing
    • UI Testing
    • Code coverage

Swift 2

  • Open Source later in 2015
  • Linux support
  • Microsoft Swift port?

Goal of Swift: Make your intent is clear from first lines of code

Faster compiler (bigger projects)

Control flow improvements

  • if let
  • guard
  • if case (case pattern matching everywhere)
  • for case 

Migrator to convert Xcode 6 to Xcode 7

  • Should work better than the previous migrators

Keyword naming rules for functions and methods are the same

Felt divergent in Swift <= 1.2

Protocol extensions allow functionality to be added to protocols

  • Exposes logic to collection types that was missing
  • Previous collection functions were global, and didn’t appear in auto complete suggestions or API

Other topics

  • “do while loop” is now the “repeat while loop”
  • do infers scoping, which helps with memory releasing or new error handling logic
  • guard - new way to reduce if let syntax indentation
  • println is becoming print

Error handling (i.e. smarter exceptions)

  • NSError APIs all changing in Swift 2
  • try, catch, throw
  • No longer pass in error, instead it’ll propagate out using throws keyword
  • Explicit  and easy to see
  • Not everything throws an exception by default – helps regular error handling logic’
  • defer keyword (error recovery logic)

 

Generics are part of Objective-C

Will help make APIs more Swift-like and easier to use in Swift

Improved code suggestions and error messages

  • Previous demos of improvements felt minimal – there are a lot of errors you can run into
  • Some of the changes demonstrated looked promising – time will tell

Better documentation

  • Rich text in QuickHelp (Markdown variant)
  • Header view – get the high level view of your source files methods

Improved Playgrounds

  • Resources folder (easy to add to)
  • Source folder (add supplemental files to assist with code examples)
  • Build workbooks with multiple pages

13 - The Apple Watch review over 39 days - Sport vs Steel by Paul Solt

I have been using the Apple Watch for 39 days (since April 24th) and I have tried out 3 different models with the Apple Watch Sport and Apple Watch Steel using both 38mm and 42mm sizes. Learn about my one month impressions on the Apple Watch.

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https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/the-creative-person-podcast/id981714428?mt=2

Why Apple Watch?

Two goals: fitness and coffee app

  1. A family member died recently and I wanted to step up my game on my fitness habits and tracking.
  2. I want to make a coffee brewing app for Apple Watch (limited functionality)

Battery

Lasts all day – no real problems except when I was really trying to test out a ton of apps (20-30% at night)

Screen

The screen is amazing – works great in doors and it's bright enough out doors. Out of all the screens for a smart watch, the Apple Watch is the best.

The other part that goes hand and hand with a good screen is good user input and no lag. Other smart watches are sluggish – the Apple Watch is very responsive with 60 FPS (frames per second). Overall the experience is very fluid.

Metal - Steel vs. Aluminum

My preference is Aluminum – I’m not big on jewelry and flashy objects. Brushed aluminum fits my style (jeans, shorts, and t-shirts)

The Aluminum also feels significantly lighter on my wrist – I don’t notice it as much as the Steel. 

The original watches I used to wear have all been sport watches, so that is my bias with the Apple Watch.

38mm vs 42mm

Bigger is better, as long as your not petite. Hands down I would recommend the 42mm size.

Buttons are all bigger and easier to hit with larger fingers (I’m only 5’5” 162.5lbs with a muscular build).

It’s a $50 difference in price for the aluminum and I think it’s worth it.

Plus you’ll get longer battery life with the 42mm over the 38mm Apple Watch.

Bands

My favorite band is the Apple Watch sport band – it’s so flexible and adapts to all my physical activities (ultimate frisbee).

The metal bands were too rigid for me – I want flexible.

The leather is ok, but I prefer the texture and feel of the sport band more.

Favorite colors are black and white sport bands.

Fitness App

I love the ease of use of the Fitness app to start a run, walk with my dog (Australian shepherd), or P90X3.

The built in heart sensor helps me understand exertion and when I need to back down or when I push harder again.

Activity App

This is a great way to make sure you are moving and that you fill in the circles. It gives you a few goals to work towards by the end of the day. Just the push I needed to keep going.

I can compare easily to Steph and that adds another level of commitment to staying active and working to be more healthy. 

Metronome

I have been trying to increase my running cadence – so I use the metronome app that works pretty well. You need both the iPhone + Apple Watch to do this, since there are no native APIs yet. Audio would probably need bluetooth headphones.

Music controller

On some runs or walks I’ll control my iPhone in a running belt using the music app on the Apple Watch. This works great – though I didn't’ realize I need to get blue tooth ear phones to listen to music without my iPhone on my runs.

App Development

I really would like to leverage more sensor data in some of my app ideas, but they currently are not possible without the native API. We’ll see when that roles out in the Fall of 2015. 

I experimented with some basic Apple Watch app prototypes, but put them on hold to work on the iPhone version of my new Brew Coffee App.

Apple Watch app idea - requires sensors

  • pushup app tracking/cadence app

Learn to program apps for iPhone

Real World iPhone app course - Swift iPhone app course for beginners

Problems, Issues, or Funny Stories

None of the issues have been major. There have been some frustrating syncing issues, but those might be fixed now with the new update. There have been a few funny moments using the Apple Watch too.

  • The Activity doesn’t always sync – some kind of bug with data. Quitting the app on iPhone sometimes fixes the issue or restarting the Apple Watch.
  • Some touches between Steph and I stopped sending, restarting the Apple Watch seemed to fix the issues.
  • I achieved my exercise goal while in the bathroom – not sure how that worked out.
  • Sometimes the Apple Watch tells me to stand up when I’m already standing at my standing desk. 
  • Last week it told Steph to stand up when we were making dinner in the Kitchen.
  • One night I was testing out the heart beats and sending them to Nick (with the Steel Apple Watch) and he was at the RIT Alumni Board dinner with the RIT Provost. They got a kick out of it – he only told me afterwards who was around as he was playing with it.
  • Siri is not great – less feedback than on iPhone and it sometimes works, but usually doesn’t. Apple still has a long way to go to make it better.

Who should buy the Apple Watch?

  • Fitness + health (heart beat)
  • Early adopters
  • App developers

12 - How to Kickstarter with SilverAir Sock and Oops Tees by Paul Solt

Running a successful Kickstarter project is a lot of work. Let’s look at an active project that’s currently 455% funded and approaching $200,000. Learn about the things that Y Athletics is doing right and how you can use their approach to run your own Kickstarter project. I’ll also talk about a great project, Oops Tees, that’s not doing as well as it should be doing. 

Subscribe on iTunes

Please rate the Creative Person Podcast on iTunes. Post a question you have about the Apple Watch and I'll answer it in an upcoming episode. 

https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/the-creative-person-podcast/id981714428?mt=2

Great Kickstarter project - SilverAir Sock

SilverAir Sock - Odorless Socks Made With Pure Silver

  • 455% funded ($159,575)
  • 22 days to go (47 days)
  • $35,000 goal

Reward analysis

  • $16 socks (~$23 retail)
  • Simple pricing ($16, $48, $90)
  • Top 3 rewards (Single, Triple, Combo)

Other comments

  • Great video
  • Great pacing on the read
  • Good music (a bit loud at times)
  • Lots of great video (B-roll) with great animations
  • User testimonial with 2 week trial and 57 day shirt (prior kickstarter)
  • Pricing could be more simple and easy for customer to calculate (is it $18 or $16 for socks?) 

Use Kicktraq.com for research

Previous successful project - SilverAir Athletic Shirts

Reward analysis

  • $34 t-shirt ($54 retail)
  • Simple pricing ($34, $64, $90)
  • Top 3 rewards (Single, Double, Triple)

Underperforming Kickstarter Project - Oops Tees

Oops Tees 

  • 43% funded  ($2,630)
  • 7 days to go (30 days)
  • $6,000 goal

Reward analysis

  • $35 t-shirt
  • Simple pricing (hidden from too many rewards)
  • Top 3 rewards (1, 2, 3)

Kicktraq.com for research

Project Analysis

  • New video is required to get this project going (audio/video quality were excellent)
  • Video is too slow and not enough focus on the funny products (don't educate me on how to talk about the t-shirt – it's clever... I get that part)
  • Doesn’t connect to customer (all about Steve/Jeff)
  • T-shirts aren’t funny enough (Hay their! is great … others not so much)
  • Pricing is good, but hidden
  • Too much focus on stickers for a t-shirt project
  • Newest design and update provided great lift (better design … does it infringe?)
  • Not wearing a shirt was too long… could have been a bit faster to get the point across – probably makes people stop watching
  • Video is too long (3 minutes – should be 1 minute)
  • Too many t-shirts reward options (try: 1, 2, 3, 6)
  • No one wants Oops logo (good logo, but not selling point – no brand reputation ... yet)
  • Highest tier is 1 shirt, 2 shirt, and 3 shirts
  • Better designs would help this project (they need to connect with a bigger audience)

11 - App Store Opportunities in the Food & Drink Category by Paul Solt

Food & Drink iPhone App Store Category

There is room for innovation within the Food & Drink category on the App Store. Free apps are dominated by big brands with marketing dollars that you can’t compete with – but paid apps are mostly useful apps and recipes.

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Food & Drink Case Studies

People like these apps and they continue to buy them – take a look at some of the hot apps within the Food & Drink category for the US App Store. I believe there’s a lot of room for new apps that have better design, UX, and do things that are clunky right now.

1. KoHi - Pour Over Coffee Brewing

Coffee brewing app for all types of pour over coffee (Chemex, Hario V60, French Press, Clever, etc.)

$2.99 (37 ratings – 4.5 stars)
No in-app purchases

US App Store (April 21st 2015)

  • Top Paid App: #69

  • Top Grossing App: #80

2. AeroPress Timer: For Aerobie’s AeroPress Coffee and Espresso Maker

Coffee brewing app designed for the AeroPress brewer device – more narrowly focused than KoHi.

$2.99 (150 ratings - 4 stars)
In-app purchases

  • Championship Pack: $0.99
  • Roaster Pack: $1.99

US App Store (April 21st 2015)

  • Top Paid iPhone app: #12
  • Top Grossing iPhone app: #23
  • 20,000+ downloads (developer stated in App Store description)

3. TieredCaker

Very niche app for people who make money selling cakes! The app helps estimate costs and visualizes what a 3 layer cake looks like that can serve 120 people at a wedding.

$19.99 (47 ratings - 4 stars)
No in-app purchases

US App Store (April 21st 2015)

  • Top Paid iPhone app: #73
  • Top Grossing iPhone app: #16

Paul’s Food & Drink App Recommendations

  1. Use in-app purchases and charge a price (premium features)
  2. Free Food & Drink flooded with big brands (paid is not!)
  3. Charge more for your food app
  4. Research the competition in iTunes (Mac) or AppShopper.com before you write code, hire a designer, or make a website

Food & Drink App Ideas

I believe there is room for innovation. All the food and drink apps are pretty lame. The current app ideas I have below have poor UI, UX, and lack features. Just read the reviews and feedback to understand what customers really want. Then make that app!

  1. Make a unit converter for the kitchen
  2. Make a recipe scaler that can go up/down in servings
  3. Recipe app with OCR (optical character recognition) 
    1. Ideas: BigOven, Amazon's Mechanical Turk 
    2. Provide great recipe layout/input with video, photo, text, steps, tips.

Connect

  1. Learn to make iPhone apps online.
  2. Follow @PaulSolt on Twitter 

10 - Great branding advice and your simple branding by Paul Solt

I’ll provide a quick summary from a book I read last month and how this book can give you insight for your business ideas, app ideas, or Kickstarter projects.

Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind: How to be seen and heard in the overcrowded marketplace by Al Ries and Jack Trout

Buy the book on Amazon using my affiliate link below to support this podcast.

I highly recommend this book to anyone who plans to make an app, create a product, or provide a service. It has opened my eyes to different trends within the marketplace and helped me to understand the strategy behind naming . . . something that, while extremely important to me, was difficult to describe until reading this book.

Get the quick summary, memorable quote, and how this book can make you think about your business ideas, app ideas, or Kickstarter projects.

Paul’s quick summary

1.     Do NOT use acronyms for your name or business name. It loses meaning and only works for the established players. Use a name that is simple to remember, and avoid anything that is clever just for the sake of being clever.

2.     A word has no meaning until someone fills it with meaning. Webster’s Dictionary is not a guide; your target demographic is! Volkswagen means economy car, while Audi mean medium-sized luxury cars. Names need to be associated with a type of product or service (your product can’t be both premium and cheap) The name has to make sense to people, it has to be intuitive, and it can’t just have meaning to you and your business team.

3.     Use different names to instantly distinguish your product lines, rather than rebranding your products via line extensions—Dove Soap, Dove Shampoo, Dove Hand Cream, Dove Chocolate. Use names that carry instant name recognition: “Tide” instantly denotes detergent, and “Crest” is instantly recognized as toothpaste. “Dove,” on the other hand, carries less meaning because it is not something that I can reference by its name alone; if I do, you then have to ask me, “Dove what?”

4.     Keep your brand messaging simple  “Raisins from California. Nature’s candy.”

5.     Be willing to sacrifice some of the market. NyQuil, for example, launched in a crowded space as “nighttime” medicine rather than competing with other all-day medicines. They gave up the daytime market, yet found great success.

6.     You are capable of marketing without a marketing background: too much success can misguide you. Xerox had a disappointing record with computers—they are known for copiers. IBM had the same issue with their plain-paper copier—they are known for computers (and now business services).

7.     Trying to attack the #1 product in your industry is fatal. Bristol-Myers repeatedly tried to create products that could compete with [insert company they tried to compete with here]; these attempts resulted in $5M and $11M marketing flops. You can’t afford to compete with the marketing dollars of the established players – differentiate your product from them in an area that you could own.

8.     Products that focus on being better instead of focusing on something that matters (like “speed”) will always fail – look at Apple’s marketing. To launch an improved product, you need to quantify it in the buyers mind and be willing to spend money on marketing it. 

Memorable quote

“To win the battle of the mind, you can’t compete head-on against a company that has a strong, established position. You can go around, under or over, but never head to head.”

Why do I recommend this book?  

The book is a little dated with some examples, however, the insights offered and the examination of the successes and downfalls of various market leaders are fascinating—if you’re like me, you’ll find that you can’t put it down. 

Bottom line: pick a name that is minimalistic and easy to remember while capturing the product’s essence (for example: Mustang), and avoid acronyms at all costs! 

Your product naming starts here

When you go to make your next app or launch a Kickstarter project you are going to have to think about naming. Don’t waste months on this, but do spend 2-5 days thinking through options.

I like to take a walk and in my notepad I’ll jot down ideas and then I’ll do web domain checks. If I can get a web domain, then I check the Trademark database to see if anything exists. I’m not doing a comprehensive search, but I am looking to make sure that nothing fills the space in the field that I’d like to make a product.

Too many startups choose clever names (remove one or more vowel), compound word, or super long word. These names always felt strange to me and the book gave me real world examples that helped provide context to why I didn’t like them (and how the market didn’t either).

Your own personal brand is something that you can establish with simple steps.

  1. Buy a web domain (I recommend Hover.com because of clean design and no extra up-sells)
  2. Use Squarespace.com to host your blog/business site/portfolio/landing page/email capture page
  3. Add a photo of you to all your social profiles (make it public – especially on LinkedIn) 

Do these same steps with any new product – I just made a new website for a new app I’m publishing (2 hours to create – 7 email subscribers).

It’s called Brew Coffee, check it out at http://BrewCoffeeApp.com