How I transformed our one app to an app series business

Our first app was launched in February 2015. For the learn Thai app the development and content production took us more than a year.

slt_v1

A reason for that is because we did it as a hobby. During weekends I found new travel phrases, recorded my voice, edited recordings, tested the app. Simon developed the app, fixed bugs, improved the app.

We launched the learn German, Spanish and Chinese later. Each of the app took 2 months of work. These processes were running in loop for the next 4 apps…

 

Then, these issues revealed…

Content production:

  1. We got few complaints from users that there were typos in the program or few translations are wrong. I did not blame the translator as they did the best and humans just do mistakes.
  2. The payment for local translators and recorders was not that attractive
  3. The translators took time to do translation work

Release process to Play Store: took about 1 week: screenshot creation, in-app purchases, icons, landing pages

Build the app apk: many manual work and checking if some sound files are missing

Localisation in store listing: manually upload screenshots and meta data

The time of getting out of the loop has entered!

I was the only one who did the new apps release. I could give my best and still the fastest release precess was 3 weeks. And 1 week for update other apps to localise them into the new language. So in the end of the year I would be able to release 13 apps without taking any vacation.

This was not what we want. We could not rely on only one income stream. We needed to launch different apps and at the same time, develop the app for iOS.

These are our RUNNIG machines

1.Process orientation

As we come from Germany and worked with a German company we know that process is the heart of business. We did a lot of documentation (text, video, screenshots) for sharing knowledge between us and of course for outsourcing. The graph below shows our release processes of an Android app.

LanGo2. Automation machine

we created a track called “App Helper” that does automation in sound edition. Release time decreased by over 50%. It helps to generate screenshots with a click of a button. With FastLane we upload all screenshots and meta data with 4 command lines. Localisation of store listing took not more than 5 minutes instead of 2 hours!

3. Outsourcing

It took me quite a while to spend money to outsource work virtually and locally. But it is worth it for high quality of work. I have at least 3 proofreads of all translations. As all the production work is online now I could parallel the different of languages.

We have 2 local assistants. I did not spend that much time for interview process as we worked together before. They were our translator 🙂 It turned out very good. We have to say we are really LUCKY.

user story

 

As a team we work with the SCRUM methodology. We have user stories and user story status flow. We document how to develop/work on the user story. However, it is only the start, we did not enter the whole process of estimation and picking up user stories yet. Let’s see if we will reach this state of work!

At the end: we could launch an app within 1 WEEK. We look forward to see a big elephant group enters Play Store and App Store!

 

Digital Nomads in Hua Hin

Luckily I won a two return flight tickets from Chiang Mai – Hua Hin from Kan Air. It was a direct flight and took about 90 minutes. The plane can carry about 60 people. It has propeller. I am scared when I fly but the both flights were quite smooth. We got 1 hot meal, drinks, 20 kgs luggage. I was satisfied with the airline.

We flew to Hua Hin on Friday and arrived at 7 pm. Hua Hin air port is quite small so you will not get lost.

We booked a room in Hua Hin via AirBnB. It was an apartment room in a house. We stayed with other 2 people (including the host).

From the Airport to the city, you can take taxi or a public transport. There are several lines of Songtaew. The one that passes by the airport is the green Songtaew. A ride for a person is 10 baht but after 7 pm it costs 15 baht. The green Songtaew passes by the night bazaar and heads to Kao Takiap (where the “ok” beach is located).

The first night we did nothing. We just went to 711 and to a small street restaurant for an Isan food 🙂

The price of food in Hua Hin compared to Chiang Mai is quite high. I meant, in CM you pay about 30-40 baht for a street food but in Hua Hin 40 baht upwards.

Chiang Mai Hua Hin
Size 40000 km2 900 km2
Population 400k 100k
Food price of a noodle soup 30-35 baht 40-45 baht
Food price of fried rice 30-35 baht 40-45 baht
Coffee culture A lot of coffee shops, several co-working spaces Not many coffee shops that we can work in. No co-working spaces
Transportation Motorcycle Songtaew or motorcycle
Digital Nomad city ♥♥♥

We planned to release the iOS apps before this vacation as we just wanted to spend a lot of time on the beach. But you know what, many of IT projects postpone the release date so ours did, too.

We ended up working in Hua Hin the whole time. I was only 1 day at the beach.

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How was our digital nomad life in Hua Hin? I would say, I was not a fan of doing this. Hua Hin does not provide the coffee culture like in Chiang Mai. The coffee shops there are quite fancy like for people to come and take pictures. It is quite difficult to find a coffee shops that you can stay and work. I could also not find any co-working spaces.

So how did we work. We spent time on 2 different Starbucks. There is one in the city very near to night bazaar and the other one is in the Market Village shopping mall.

For dinner if we decided to work at Starbucks near night bazar we had dinner at the night bazar. I would say, it has a lot of food and seafood.

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So lets talk about our relax on the beach. We went to the beach about 10 am – 5 pm. I have to say that the beach is not that great like in the south of Thailand or even in the east of Thailand. Nevertheless we an swim and had some fun. And I could do my yoga on the beach.