Summer Entrepreneurial Experiences

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Headed to the Store

Friday, August 7, 2015 3:17 pm

At the beginning of the summer I set a deadline for myself to submit Spool to the app store by August 1. I have consistently heard about how Apple has very strict guidelines and that it was not uncommon to be rejected the first time, so I wanted to allow a bit of time to submit again in the case I would be rejected the first time. Well the other day I heard back from Apple, and to my surprise I was accepted. I can now release Spool to the public at any point. That being said, I still have a few final touches I want to finish up before that release and will be working feverishly to get them done before my next deadline – August 15th, the day that I have set for myself as my official launch day. In this case, I am still going to need to resubmit a Spool and get the new version approved. This should not take as long as the first approval process (which was a week), but I hope to finish these final bugs and issues by the end of the weekend/beginning of next week.

After I initially launch, I plan to get some of my immediate friends on board and expose friends/family via social media platforms such as FB, Instagram, and Twitter. In the next week or as the exact launch date becomes apparent, I am going to start planning a launch party during the day of Orientation Weekend to begin to expose Spool to Wake, which is my initial target audience. I have some ideas to get people involved at this party such as a live feed of the best Spools on a projector that people are creating at the party at that moment, enticing people to create funny Spools to get up on the big screen.

Well I better get to work, time’s ticking.

Spool – Spark creative videos

Thursday, July 30, 2015 1:10 am

 

Looks like I have a lot to cover since my last post… The week after my last post, Spool was approved for official Beta testing. This allowed me to add up to 1,000 testers without having to first registering there devices. From there I modified the landing page for Spool so that visitors could submit their emails to gain access to the beta. Over the course of the next few days I spent my time focusing on getting the landing page out to the public, and hopefully some conversions for beta users. After being posted on Betabound.com and posting on subreddits and other forums like hacker news I started receiving some traction and sign ups. Although several users began using the app consistently and submitting their own content, I noticed that the majority of users could were not being retained. This has led me to rethink my marketing strategy as my deadline to launch approaches.

Originally, I was set on trying to do a hard launch where I would try and get as many people to download Spool as possible soon after the initial launch. I planned to reach out to dozens of tech bloggers and forums, but I have since moved away from this idea and am now pursuing a different plan of action. Rather than trying to target as many people as possible to download Spool, which would most likely lead to an influx of downloads and than an equal number of deletions, I plan on introducing Spool to smaller communities at first and promoting a soft launch. With this strategy, users will be more likely to already have a few friends who have downloaded the app, or at least friends within a 2-3 degrees of connections. At the same time, I believe that a slower more steady growth will work out better in the long run as I will be able to more easily keep up with any problems that arise as Spool begins to scale. Spool’s scalability is probably my biggest concern right now. Because of my limited number of beta testers currently on Spool it has been hard to determine how the app is going to handle hundreds of videos within one Spool, or even more as they can technically grow exponentially within a 24 hour period. A slower more steady acquisition of users will hopefully allow me to keep up with any problems that arise, especially since I am currently the only developer on deck.

Currently I have over 100 users with people producing videos and spools every day. It’s very exciting to be able to see people enjoying using a product that I’ve built myself from scratch, but just as I begin to relish on this sight, I can already see all of the different things that still need to be done. Increasing the number of beta testers has given rise to several more bugs that need reworking. As I try and juggle back and forth between acquiring additional beta testers and continuing to improve the product, I’ve tended to lean more toward developing the product first and foremost. I’ve fixed many of the bugs that originally popped up and now I feel that I have a quality product that is (almost) ready to hit the App Store. I submit my first version to the app store in hopes of getting it approved a few weeks before I plan to launch. That way I can still continue to improve the app while having the launch date set in stone. Either that or I’ll be able to know what I need to fix sooner rather than later… I’ll hear back in about a week and keep you guys posted.

If anybody who has an iPhone wants to download out the app just go to www.spoolapp.com and enter your email! After a few minutes you’ll receive an email that lets you download Spool through the TestFlight app. I’d love to hear any advice you may have and any and all feedback! Thanks!

Spool Lander

Monday, June 22, 2015 11:38 pm

Since my last post I have been working on building the landing page for Spool. It’s now up and running and can be seen here: www.spoolapp.com. Although the app is still not launched, visitors can subscribe to be notified upon the release of Spool (feel free to do so!). My aim is to use this page as a way to gain a bit of attention and build some hype up for the release of Spool.

In addition to creating the landing, I’ve been focused on fixing up the login/sign up flow of the application in order to easily get the users acquainted with the app, as well as redesigning certain aspects such as the “create a spool” process. I estimate that I will be close to distributing the application to more beta-testers within 2 weeks and hope to get 1,000 users on the app at this time. I will keep yall posted and hope I can get the app on some of your iPhones soon!

Rekindling the Fire

Friday, June 5, 2015 2:26 pm

After a semester of treading water to keep up with my schoolwork while also allocating adequate time to work on Spool, I decided to put Spool on hold and focus on my schoolwork until I could dedicate myself fully to working on Spool. This past week marks my official dive back into Spool.

Spool is a group video sharing application that I began developing last year. Users are able to create themes, which could be a word or short phrase, and their friends interpret this theme in their own unique way and submit a Vine-like video based upon their interpretation. That Spool is then seen by that user’s friends and it grow exponentially from there.

My initial progress began last fall and by the beginning of last semester I had a beta version with around 50 users. At this point I was getting eager to just get it out their and launch it live on the App Store, but I held back as I reminded myself that I only have one launch and anything less than a great user experience could be the difference between a hit and a flop. With this, I decided to spend my summer months working full time on perfecting the product, designing and implementing a marketing strategy, connecting with investors, and preparing for launch at the end of the summer.

As I reopened the code that comprised Spool earlier this week I found myself staring at a massive spiderweb of code that looked as if it were hacked apart by Indiana Jones himself. The code I wrote myself only a few months earlier was now anything but intuitive to understand… Over the past few days I’ve spent my time reanalyzing the work I did in the past and cleaning up and commenting my code to re-familiarized myself and prepare to move Spool forward. Most importantly, this week has helped me to reestablish the momentum I had before the semester. I couldn’t be more excited to finish what I’ve started.

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