What I am working on. Dec / 19.


What I am working on, and why.

This serves as a calibration for myself, and output to a community that I am looking forward to meet.

I am working on producing and marketing apps in the health and wellness space.  My first attempt: Eureka! Positive Affirmations.

As my first Stairstep, I wanted to create something pretty simple (or seemingly simple).  I wanted to create something that didn’t require a lot of market research as there is already a small established market for this type of app. People who search for an affirmation app, are pretty much knowing what to expect. It’s my job to create a delightful experience.

Market Size — Just right.

I did some keyword research in Google Ads, which may be an indicator for search volume in the app stores.  It will also give me an idea of potential paid traffic volume.  

The chart above shows the average searches for ‘affirmation’ keywords.  I’ll round down to 100,000 average monthly searches in Canada, United States.

67% of searches are currently mobile, but I’ll round down to 50%. That still leaves about 50,000 mobile searches.  A modest amount that shouldn’t spark a lot of competition.

Mobile Development Goodness

I wrote earlier on how Google Flutter can reduce development times and costs.  The timing to enter the mobile app space appears primed.  I won’t need to have oodles of codebases and coders, and if the app takes off, the process of internationalizing doesn’t appear to be very difficult.  But that’s for a potential future growth.

There’s also been a trend towards a subscription model — even at a low price point.  There’s been a movement from the old free vs paid model, to something that resembles SaaS: a limited free service with the option for a monthly plan to access premium features. Aiming for a low end ($1-$8 per month) allows the subscriber to experience a premium app, with a lower risk.  And it allows the app producer to invest in the long-term development.

Flexing The Creative Brain

Making stuff is fun. It’s also hard when you’re out of habit. Collaborating with artists and engineers that are levels ahead of me in their expertise is humbling and invigorating.  It’s wonderful to see an idea born from a sketch pad and pencil, become something more beautiful than I could envision.

It’s also an exercise in restraint and boundaries. There are times with the designer will push for something that pushes the edges of conformity.  It’s their job to experient. It’s the product person’s job to find the balance between usability and experimentation.

App Marketing is Still Wild.

I’ve been lucky enough to have developed a lot of paid campaigns at traditional SaaS companies. Unfortunately, a lot of these companies aren’t fully setup for the mobile landscape.  At Bench and Clio, the mobile app experience stopped unless the user already had an existing account. There was no way to register or onboard a new user; Thus, running mobile acquisition campaigns was out of the question.

Mobile ad inventory reminds far cheaper than desktop. Pair that with a mobile optimized onboarding, and the results could be outstanding.

ASO (app store optimization), reminds me of the more wild days of SEO. The keyword techniques, description writing, screenshots, videos, and review gathering all contribute to that organic ranking. I am continually learning how it all works and the App Master podcast and academy have been very useful on that journey.

Detaching from the outcome.

It’s hard not to have a roadmap. I want to dream of the possibility of this project becoming a success.  But if it isn’t, I want to be happy with the exhaust that this project creates: a greater knowledge of product development and mobile marketing. It also gives me peace to know that I can loosen control and allow myself to work with greater talent; Independent doesn’t mean alone.

I am hoping to share this process the best I can, in whatever way that develops.

About the author


Making stuff online since 1998. Currently building SaaS @ Next In Line