I ran the app for free for its first week in the store to build up positive reviews and downloads. This past weekend, it automatically rolled over to costing $2.99, at which point I expected downloads to stop cold.
I checked the stats today, and while they did slow down quite a bit, I also made my first sale! I am far from actual profit, but it feels great to have actually made revenue! Hopefully the first step towards the real product-selling dream of decoupling my income from clocked hours in front of a screen.
It took 5 resubmits and a long email conversation with Apple's finance team (ah the complications of being a US expat trying to do business with a US company), but Photo Tamer is finally released to the app store. Now time to start on the next app...
Check Photo Tamer out for the easiest, fastest way to convert weird and huge images into manageable JPGs. Free for this week only: https://apps.apple.com/us/app/photo-tamer-convert-resize/id1553086858
Catching up on a week of old ProductHunt newsletters, I found out that I was (of course) not the only person who saw @adamwathan's tweet and that I was totally beat to market AND beat to launching on ProductHunt by an app called Lens.
I was really disheartened by this and almost gave up on the entire project. But, I'm not giving up for a few reasons:
The prototype is already done, the domain is bought, the Apple developer account is applied for. At this point the expected value of giving up and guaranteeing zero sales is definitely lower than just pressing "release" and risking zero sales.
Looking at Lens, I think that I bring a couple unique differentiators to the game. My app lives in your menubar, so it's always ready to go without having to remember to launch it. My app is also under 10MB because I wrote it in native Swift+Cocoa while theirs is almost 10x that size. Finally, my app also adds the ability to resize your images while you convert them.
I need to break out of the mindset that "everything I make must be revolutionary and unique." This is a tiny photo utility app, not the foundation of a trillion dollar company. It is ok if someone else ALSO makes a tiny photo utility app. There is probably enough room for two tiny photo utility apps in the world.
So I'm going to carry forward, finish and launch the app, and at least be able to say that I took an idea from start to app store by myself. The one thing I am going to do, though, is rename the app. "Convertify," I've decided, sounds too much like a hot 2002 startup. "Photo Tamer" is clearer in it's purpose and fits more with the 2020 aesthetic of app names.
It took me a little longer than the one weekend I'd hoped for, but I finally finished the prototype for Convertify this weekend. I'm happy with how it looks and works, though I also still have a long todo list of ideas how I could make it better. Still, I'm targeting MVP over MVPerfect, so I'm going to call it good here.
This was a serendipitous moment. Since my main job right now is freelance app engineering, I do a lot of "take a screenshot and send it over to the designers." This can take a WHILE when you're dealing with 10+ megabyte retina PNG images, so I'd hacked together an Automator workflow to convert and shrink the screenshots to 1400 square JPG files for me.
On 1/14 Adam Wathan tweeted that there should be an easy/beautiful GUI solution for this. A lot of people replied that they had the Automator solution set up, which I took as validation that a lot of people had this problem though it was also a warning sign that devs could solve it for themselves easily. All the same, I figured this would be a fun weekend project that I could throw in the app store as the first step on my "Stair Step Bootstrapping" journey.
There should be an easy and beautiful way to convert PNG images to JPG. (Inspired by @adamwathan's tweet: https://twitter.com/adamwathan/status/1349703079634067458)