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About the Episode
Coming up is one of the indie success stories that I absolutely love to hear about. Ryan Hanna is the founder and developer of SworkIt and you’ll hear how he developed his app while at a full time and eventually sold it to a bigger company. Also, you have to listen to two awesome tips: 1) his monetization strategy that actually increases user retention and 2) the way he got his app reviewed on Lifehacker.
Ryan’s Success Story
Sworkit started in the early 2012 when Ryan taught himself how to program and came up with an idea to help him work out at home. He learned ways to turn this idea to a website and moved even forward with conceptualizing it for a mobile phone. He discovered a framework which enabled him to do this but at this time, it was just something that he viewed as a helpful tool for himself and had no dreams of grandeur yet. When he started working in posting it to websites such as Lifehacker though, downloads came in thousands and he began seeing traction and two months after, he released a paid pro version. After that, he got an email from someone he met at a conference asking if he was interested in selling and from there, Sworkit was acquired and it has been amazing since then because he was still working with the app full time and the people in the company were very easy to work with.
Rewards to Retention
Sworkit is built with a monetization schemes usingmPoints wherein they provide a third party SDK that allows you to reward your users to when they do certain actions, such as earning points when you finish a certain workout.These points can be converted to gift cards, donations to charity, etc. Another platform they use is Kiip, for rewarding users for specific moments and that platform decides what rewards to put in place. This can build a habit for your users to come back to your app and encourage the behaviors that you want your users to display.
Getting a Lifehacker review
Ryan had his app featured first in Lifehacker and the way he did it was short, sweet but completely effective. He did not go through long and complicated spiels but simply sent out a tweet stating: “Have you seen the new fitness app Sworkit? It has a lot of Lifehacker fitness mentality –Sworkit.com.”Which he got a response of: “This is awesome, definitely posting tomorrow.”
Just make it personal and you can turn something out of it.
What advice would you give for anyone looking to build a mobile app?
Build it for you. If you’re going to use it, other people will probably going use to it. Keep it simple in the start, work with your users, find out what they want, and funnel out from there.
– Fav app: Spotify: (iTunes)