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Jeremy Olson (@jerols) is founder and lead designer at Tapity, a tiny Apple Design Award winning app company.
His latest app, Languages, launched to much acclaim from Apple and the press, and peaked as the fifth top paid app on the App Store.
Our anticipation was building. Between defining our language translation app, sketching it out, obsessively designing and iterating, and juggling other projects — all covered in the first part of our case study — we had been working on Languages for close to a year. It was finally go time.
Even the coolest app in the world is doomed to swiftly descend into the abyss of obscurity if no one knows about it. So, part two of our journey is all about marketing. It turns out that you don’t need a huge marketing budget to get into the top 10 in the App Store.
My name is Jeremy Olson. I’m a senior in college, living in Charlotte, North Carolina, and this is the story of how my little app beat Angry Birds.
I’m writing this because I believe we learn much more from success than from failure. It took Edison thousands of failed attempts to invent the electric light bulb, and it would be foolish for us to reinvent it based on trial and error, now that we have a working model.
Most apps fail. This cruel reality has led many disillusioned developers to conclude, often subconsciously, that succeeding on the App Store is like striking it rich in the gold rush: you just need to get lucky. The idea of luck is a dangerous sedative to ease the pain of failure. Pain is a good thing. It shows something is wrong. If my app fails, I want to know why.
Instead of blaming forces beyond our control, why not look at what folks like tap tap tap and Tapbots are doing to succeed again and again and again. While applying this formula flawlessly is nearly impossible, working towards it will dramatically increase your chances of success. These concepts are based on the iOS platform, but many of the principles apply to other platforms as well. Any successful app rests on the foundation of a solid idea, because the idea determines the ultimate potential of the execution. Avoid the temptation of jumping straight into execution after having an epiphany in the shower. A little bit of research up front can save you a lot of pain down the road.