Friday, November 15, 2013

The Power of Networking (Part 1)

When I first started working on iNacho, I wasn't really networking with people at all. I'm very independent and I will reach out to others when I need help with things but otherwise I keep to myself and my circle of friends (which are not mobile tech savy).

I went to a conference called 360iDev in Denver this last September. The classes were great but I have to say that I enjoyed the networking most of all. Sharing my app with others, hearing their ideas for features, and learning about all of the cool apps they'd written; it was a great time.

When I came home from the conference, I felt energized and more open. I found myself tweeting much more about my app and technical problems and accomplishments, as well as following a whole new crowd on twitter. The results of going to that conference pushed me to reach out to local groups for similar networking opportunities.

Two weeks ago, I went to the Eastside Seattle Xcoders meeting and heard a presentation from Mike Swanson, CEO of JuicyBits, known for his image manipulation applications, especially HalfTone. After he gave his presentation of how he got into iOS app development and really how he made his sucesses, I had an epiphany.

I had been striving to be fully platform independent with iNacho by making it available on iOS, Android, and Windows platforms. At the time, the android version was quite a bit behind on features from iOS and I was supposed to be working on the windows phone version. I'll admit to not being very excited about this and therefore, I had been putting it off quite a bit.

My epiphany was that I was spreading myself too thin by trying to make iNacho available on all of those platforms and it was dragging me down. I'd much rather be adding new much needed features to the iOS version. Something else I realized about this was that as I learned how to write for Android and how to write for Windows phone, I would then be expected by my employer and future employers to write for those platforms and frankly, I still prefer iOS. I pride myself on being able to teach myself new languages/platforms/SDKs when I need to but I still have my preferences.

Not only did I put Windows phone development on the back burner for now, I also decided to change my title on my resume , on LinkedIn, in my signature, and well anywhere I could. No longer would I say I was a "Lead Mobile Developer" but instead would tout myself as "iOS and Mac Developer". This would help state my preference and better show my skills instead of my ability to learn whatever was needed.

At the Xcoders meeting, I also mentioned the fact that I was trying to publish two iOS apps (Free and Paid) and how much of a pain that was, even though I was using the same codebase and merely using an #ifdef to switch between the two. I was also worried about switching the paid app to free because the users who had already paid money for it would not be happy. The speaker mentioned that in iOS7 there was now a way to retrieve the user's receipt of purchasing the app and that I could use that to possibly keep track of who had already purchased the app.

Well I did just that. Over the last week or so, I released version 1.6 of iNacho and it is now free with an InApp Purchase to remove ads and with the additional feature of allowing previously purchased users to remove the ads without paying anything more. I then removed the separate free app from the AppStore.

Also, while waiting for my iOS app to be approved, I took the liberty to bring the android version more up to date and released version 1.6 of it as well.

These were some big changes I made based on one little presentation and yet there's still more. I'll have to continue this conversation in Part 2.