Points the App for people that like to remember places

I’ve been working on a private project called Points. It’s an app that help you remember and organise places that matter to you. Contrary to for example TripAdvisor, this app focuses on private persons rather than the crowd to inform you. First it is about you and your places, and secondly you want to be recommended by people you know, and by people that know you.

I had this need already since years, and had the idea to build and app for it. However, like with many ideas, for whatever excuses, they often are just that; ideas. It took a long time before I took the first step to actually bring it to life. Several reasons put me to that point. One was that I have been making apps for corporations (as product owner/ product manager) for many years and I now finally wanted to make something for myself. A project where I can make my own decisions (and mistakes). A project where I can do exactly as I want. A second reason is that I can use this project as a learning vehicle. I can test theories, and play with tools that otherwise are left untouched. In this blog I will discuss some of the experiments and some of the tools I use for the sake of sharing. Another reason, I won’t lie, is that maybe, just maybe, the product becomes a big success and with the funds I can work on more of my ideas. Currently I have financed everything myself, and for corporate amounts it might be a silly amount but when it comes out of your own pocket every thousand dollar is a lot. It forces you – which is a good thing – to be very critical in decisions you take in terms of feature development, and you have to become very resourceful. You have to trim your product of all fat, slash off parts wherever you can. Saying NO when it comes to product strategy is twice as important now, because mistakes are very expensive. Now the MVP is in the app store. I must admit, it is not yet optimal, and I’m not sure if I made all the right decisions. But this doesn’t matter. The most important thing is that it is out there now, and I learn from people using the app.

As you can see, the last post I did on this blog was in 2013. However, now I think I have something fun to share again. Getting some insights in the path of new product on its way to great successes 😀

Here is the website, www.pointstheapp.com


Coming Up: Launching soon (with LaunchRock)

As I said in a earlier post, we are working on a new project called Coming Up. The product is still in development, but thanks to the guys from LaunchRock we already have a ‘launching soon’ website in the air.

LaunchRock offers a tool to quickly set up this page! The concept is great, though there are some bugs in the software. For example, the site is not responsive so it doesn’t look good on my mobile phone, and there are some tiny things regarding the sharing on Facebook. The support team is adequate and they are responding in a great way to my emails. At LaunchRock you can see who signed up and by whom they are referred. There are some other statistics like who referred the most people so you can reward them if you like. Obviously, you can export the users to have your mailing list by time you need to warn them.

Coming Up

Coming up is an app that will help you to get together with your friends in real life! Plan something spontaneously, invite friends to join or just see what they are up to (but only if you are invited, or their plans are public).

Pre signup here, we will let you know the moment we launch!

A/B testing

I did some A/B testing on the website for Shortcut Media. Well, I think there is clearly a winner. The plan was to let the experiment run for a week, but I guess that is not needed.

Variation 01 is outperforming the original page with 447% and shows a stunning conversion  rate of 20%.

The page offers a free QR code generator tool. I already talked about that in an earlier post. In the original version, the generator is on top and below I offer the visitors a (superior) alternative (the product we want to sell). On the variation page, I offer people first the alternative and then the QR code generator. As I had seen before in earlier tests, by simply putting the stuff you want the visitor to click on, on top, conversion increases dramatically. (Seems a bit obvious in retrospect of course).

Here is the winner!


New Project: Coming Up

One of my dearest friends and business-partners had this idea. An idea to build an app. Now, often do we have ideas and often it doesn’t evolve beyond the idea and they fade away after some beers and weeks.

We both have 15 years of experience in online and our ideas are often not that bad. For example, we had a working demo of a ‘taxi-app’ long before you saw any taxi-apps out there. And too often we said “And this time we should do it.” (Note that we have executed many of our ideas before, but sometimes due to lack of resources we can’t).

We have left the building!

This time we went from idea, to wire-frame to production. It’s going to be an App called Coming Up. What it exactly does I cannot tell at this moment but it’s going to be amazing! We plan to launch beginning 2013 and have high expectations!

I will updated progress here on my blog!


You gotta have a QR code generator!

As you might know, with Shortcut Media, we are in the business of making print-media interactive. What does this mean? In a nutshell, we combine print-with-mobile trying to add more value to the print version. As a reader, simply point your phone to any page and the corresponding mobile page will show up.

One way of doing that would be by using QR codes right? It has an URL baked inside and the readers use a scanner to access those pages. We don’t really like QR codes because they are ugly, use up space and quite error-sensitive.

You might know that with our service we offer something much more elegant thanks to the  image-recognition technology by kooaba, our mother company. That way, the publisher can add content to any page without having to worry about QR codes and URL’s in an early stage. Oh, and there are much more advantages because linking offline-to-online is only the start of our service…

The problem though, is that – regardless of how beautiful our service is,  not every publisher is familiar with it and many of them are still starting out with QR codes. Those publishers are our prospects. Therefore we published a page that offers you to make your own QR code.

For this I used Google Charts. It took me about a day fiddling around to have everything working. The page itself is still a bit ugly and especially the ‘converting-part’ sucks, but right now it should be fine to go out as the (in)famous MVP.

To wake it up we add some AdWords on it for one week. Let’s see if we can get some publishers signing up for a demo. I did some analysis upfront so we have a nice benchmark to see if the effort is paying off.

Shortcut Media AG is a fact

Together with two partners, we founded a new company called ‘Shortcut Media AG’. The company offers an ‘Interactive Print service’ to publishers of printed media (eg. Newspapers and magazines).

Shortcut Media is a spin-off/sister company of kooaba AG.