I recently took up a side project that I’ve been meaning to pursue for a long time, and got some amazing results.
I’ve been a huge fan of Jake and Amir since high school. Unfortunately it’s hard to keep up with their videos because their website has poor mobile support and CollegeHumor, their parent site, is buggier every month.
Last month I decided I was fed up, and I knew J&A’s loyal fan base was fed up too. In our mobile-first world, it should be more than easy to view our favorite content on our phones and tablets. So I took matters into my own hands. I decided to develop my own iOS app for Jake and Amir.
The app itself I designed very minimally, with lots of iOS 7 standard UI and a bit of spark where I knew fans would appreciate it:
After a month of development and a 2-day review from Apple, the app was released on Dec 31st. I posted about it on Facbeook and the J&A subreddit, an active community with thousands of fans. The response was overwhelmingly positive: The app got 224 downloads and six five-star reviews in the first 24 hours!
Then yesterday, something magical happened:
Boom. 300 downloads in an hour. 1,325 by the end of the day. Tons of grateful comments from fans. And, best of all, a personal plug from two guys I really look up to!
I’m not making any money from the J&A app, but it’s one of the most satisfying projects I’ve ever done. As developers we have the ability to reach in and fill voids that nobody else is willing to fill, and that’s really powerful.
Fellow web and mobile developers, I’m calling on you to do one project like this per year. Find a person or company you really care about and write some software that will increase their exposure or make their life a little bit easier. Do something that they’d have to pay $10,000 for elsewhere, just because you can, and because you care. Wost-case scenario, you make the world a little bit better, and best-case, you get some exposure and connect with someone who would not have otherwise noticed you.
A message to CollegeHumor if you’re reading this: I’d love to work with you to implement your ads in the app so you’re not losing ad revenue. Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org!