Blend.Life has been relaunched and is pretty stable, with an improved design, UI/UX, many bug fixes, and various options to upgrade to a premium plan to share items with other people.
It is available in the google play store https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=life.blend.mobile.android
A few consumers bought in-app purchases in the google play app store. Most importantly, these users purchased in-app purchases, including 1 time permanent features, and monthly subscriptions for the sharing functionality. While these numbers are very small, they provide some validation seeing the value of Blend.Life and particularly the sharing functionality.
Over the past 2 years since the shutdown I worked a few different side and passion projects. Conveniently, these were some projects I could reuse for Blend if I ever decided to relaunch it again. When I thought back on Blend 1.0, I assessed what went wrong, the problem, the solution, my approaches, processes, difficulty putting together a team, articulating the message, branding, and a lot more.
After the shut-down in 2016, a lot of things happened. There was the Series A Crunch, a serious dip in mobile investment, but more interestingly I started to notice a stagnation in mobile usage and in some ways a decline in mobile apps. There were articles about "App Fatigue" and App fragmentation.
Many of the Venture Capital funded mobile app competitors I had either
I went from seeing almost 12-15 competitors down to just 3-4 top ones. Combined with the trend of reduced app usage/fragmentation, this seemed like a time to re-enter the market with Blend. 2.0. The timing also felt right.
Roughly around 2016, I realized I couldn't continue this in the current path. I decided to shut-down the App. I realized it was extremely difficult to compete with well funded startups, a crowded marketplace, specialized apps, and of-course limited resources. I spent time pitching, trying hard to form a team, attempting to contract work out, among balancing a dozen other things. Every single one of these things take a lot of time, and any time taken away from building, product development, marketing will slow you down. It was all too much and I just needed a break. I decided to remove the app from the store, but keep an open mind and maybe consider a relaunch at a later point in time.
Over the course of 2015 and 2016 I went to multiple meetup events and pitch contests to present the app. I received a lot of good feedback and adjusted the app as needed. I realized we had a branding issue. At one point, we got selected to pitch in a major pitch contest. Though it was presented well as a powerful calendar, it didn't click with the hundreds of people in the audience. It was difficult to get seed funding, put together a team ( also because EVERYONE was working on their own app ), and really compete in a crowded marketplace.
A lot happened from 2013 to 2015 both personally and professionally. I took a year off and started working on Blend.Life full time. The Android user base went to as high as 12,000 users, a couple thousand actives per month. 4.2 star rating, 500+ ratings. These are still very small numbers for an app, but overall good user feedback but it did validate the idea of an all-in-one organizer.
Blend.Life in 2021 is a RELAUNCH/2.0 VERSION of an initial solution launched back in 2013 - 2016 as a mobile consumer productivity app. So I'm going to summarize the history from 2013-2015
The MVP was built in under 3 months using a fairly minimal version of the feature set envisioned. It contained a few basic pages of Events, Tasks, and Birthdays. This MVP was for Windows Phone ( when it still existed ). I was the only developer but had 1 person doing some testing.
I got this into both the Windows Phone Store in 3 months tops, and in Google Play ( Android ) about 9 months after. This gave me an easy introduction to mobile development and understanding the consumer mindset. I soon ported it over to Android, launched it in google play in early 2014 I believe.
It was easy to get users fairly soon on Windows Phone as there weren't that many apps to begin with. On Android it was more difficult as the Android market was flooded with apps and very specialized apps ( e.g. 1 app for a specific purpose ). Not an combined one.
Over the next year, I kept iterating and improving the apps for both Windows and Android, including combination of Calendar Events, Tasks, Bills, Countdowns to important days and also improvements to Weather. The user base started growing for both.
The iteration and improvements on Windows Phone resulted in believe over several thousands of users, earning almost $1-2K a month or so. The Android base was starting to grow slowly and Then in July we got featured on some news sites for Android and that resulted in a spike of users/installs, and some steady active members.
I've always focused on being productive, it's just in my mindset. Way back in 2013, I downloaded several apps from the app store(s) to start using Calendars, Tasks, Notes and more to improve my daily workflow. I soon realized it was a hassle to use and manage 4-5 or more different apps, it was a fragmented experience. I also didn't have a way to view a summary of everything at one easy glance. Essentially, most of what I needed to do and information I looked at was inherently interconnected. This is where the inception for Blend was born.
Blend.Life is an all-in-one life organizer to solve the problem of managing common day to day items like events, bills, tasks, vacations in 1 place while being able to easily share these items with who want.