As mentioned in a previous post, I tend to approach all things with the self-expectation for an A+ result. At 30 and running a company, I’ve realized this simply is an unnecessary – and impossible expectation. But, that doesn’t mean it’s any easier to embrace, particularly through the most recent mistake we made as a company with the myCreate iPad app.
In the engineering design process, redesign is a built-in and nearly necessary step, as the second design around is almost always more informed, effective, and closer to the solving the initial problem. Here’s a brief account of our second design on the app, and the mistakes we made in getting there.
Per previous 2 blog posts (registering + myCreate 2.0), we prepped for and released myCreate-2.0 for the iPad and iPhone, with a desktop version soon to follow. In addition to a major design overhaul, we changed up the business model from paid to freemium. In theory, the freemium model was ideal as it would allow more people to download our creation app for free to take a limited number of pictures, and then eventually upgrade to unlimited moviemaking. Obviously we’d love to offer it free all around, but being a Non-Venture Capital backed early stage company, we just couldn’t swing that model.
To move to freemium, we had to build in a way of managing in-app purchases, which required us to add in a log-in requirement. This proved to be the first mistake we made. Little did we realize that one of the valued aspects of myCreate to-date had been the ability for kids to immediately start creating without having to log in or be connected to the internet. The second mistake was the failure to realize that in-app purchasing does not fit in Apple’s volume education pricing model, and is not ideal for schools whatsoever. Considering most of our customers are in fact schools, we threw many for a loop, confused as to how they could go about upgrading to the full version as in app purchasing was just not feasible.
What We Learned
We discovered these mistakes the hard way – as most are discovered – and after Brandon and I put our heads together, we came up with a plan to go back to the business model we had previously. A paid app, qualified for volume pricing, without requiring a log in or internet connection. Brandon pulled the all nighters to get a new release submitted to the store, which was just approved Monday, and now we hopefully are better serving our very valued customers.
The hardest part about this process was causing initial grief to our customers, and then humbly admitting we made a mistake. But, we have to identify our oversight and note how to ensure it doesn’t happen again. I take every upset customer email personally, so mistakes like these simply suck, but it would suck even more if we didn’t:
1) Go back and redesign and
2) Recognize how to avoid this sort of thing in the future.
Failing or making mistakes isn’t fun. But it’s a part of our daily lives in the classroom, at work, and at home. It happens to the best of us – look at Windows Vista for example – but listening and learning helps make us better companies, employees, entrepreneurs, students, parents, and teachers.
We thank you for being a part of our community, and for giving us the opportunity to learn with you and continue creating too!