Way back when, when I was still a wee-little iOS developer about yay high, I created my first interactive book of Hans-Christian’s Anderson’s fairy tales called “The Little Mermaid and Other Stories“. It came out only a few weeks after the iPad was released and I remember working round-the-clock on the project to get the book out. Because it was my first interactive book, I needed to spend a lot of energy developing the basic framework – general code structure, run-time page layout, dynamic loading and unloading of assets, etc. I was working alone on this project so, in addition to the coding, I spent well over half of my time creating illustrations, designing sound effects, editing the content, and, at the very end, creating a short video trailer – definitely not my forte. Nonetheless, I was happy with the results. I submitted the app to the App Store and, once it was approved, I watched it go live one sunny Friday morning.
And then I paced.
I was very tired from the effort of the previous six weeks; I squeezed every ounce of creative juice I had in me. I was excited, and very, very nervous. I don’t even know why. I do know, however, that I spent most of the afternoon pacing – I just couldn’t stand still.
Yet nothing happened.
The week just before the app went live, I sent dozens of emails to newspapers, review web sites, and popular bloggers announcing the upcoming launch, but every time I refreshed my inbox, I was greeted with a message telling me that I have “no new messages”. At that point, a wise man suggested I should step away from the computer and go for a walk. Before I did, I literally hit the refresh button one more time and was rewarded with the following message:
We love your apps. Thank you!
Zoe age 5,
William age 8
I almost lost it. Unbeknownst to them, Zoe and William had given me the justification that I so desperately needed. I peeled myself away from my laptop to go for the walk and I couldn’t stop smiling. Mission accomplished.
Since that time, I’ve heard from many more kids and parents and grandparents enjoying the apps and offering me their feedback and suggestions. I’m always thrilled. Each time I receive such an email, I’m excited to read it and respond as quickly as I can. For me, it’s one of the most rewarding reasons of why I do what I do. And both Zoe and William have a very special place in my heart, because they were the first to let me know that they cared.
Today, out of the blue, I sent an email to Zoe and William’s dad and let him know how much the original email from his kids meant to me. Soon, he replied:
Thank you so much for the email. William just turned 10 and Zoe is now 7. Each of them now has their own iPad with your app installed. They even take turns reading your app to their little brother Levi (2). Now you have three customers for life. I will make sure they check out your new app [Bobo Explores Light], and I will send you their review (in their own words).
I think you have also inspired William to start working on his own app. He is currently working on his artwork and game rules. I will let you know how he progresses.
Keep up the great work. You have provided hours of enjoyment to William, Zoe and now Levi through a mixture of technology, art and science.
Once again, I am grinning ear to ear and want to send a huge thank you to William and Zoe and Levi and their dad Scott. You guys rule and inspire me every day! And, William, I look forward to seeing what you come up with. Keep it up!