Beginnings

Hi, I’m Elliot. Today is Monday, but instead of going to work I’m taking a day to do something for me, and hopefully for you as well. In a nod to Google’s well known “20% projects” idea, I’ve decided in 2015 to endeavour to take one day a week to work on something of my own devising, and that is something i call MeetApp.

First, some background. I’ve been making apps for mobile phones for about 10 years now. I work for Intohand Ltd in Bath, UK as a Software Development Consultant. That’s a rather business-centric name for something that i feel is more of a creative endeavour. I don’t generally refer to myself as an app designer, since i often work with visual designs that somebody else has produced. I do however feel that putting these designs together into an interactive experience that lives on people’s pocket computers is an art form in itself, and one not widely understood. The term i’ve come up with to describe what i do is Logic Sculpting. If you’d asked me when i was 6 what the best job in the world would be, i’d have probably suggested being paid to make Lego creations. In a way that’s kind of what i do. I build creations with virtual building blocks by scripting logical structures. The consultant part of my job title means i do that for various companies. (If you’re interested you can find examples of my work here, here, and here)

Mobile app development is big right now. It seems everybody wants an app (and thankfully not just on iPhone anymore either). We’re in something akin to a gold rush. This is great because it means there’s plenty of work for people like me. But there’s an old adage you might have heard about the original gold rush – that the only people who made money out of it were the people selling pick axes and pans. The fact of the matter is that the vast majority of apps that are made don’t earn back the money they took to develop. This is part of the reason I’m happy to be a consultant. I put my all into every project i’m involved with, but in the end i don’t need to try and make money out of it which, by and large, suits me just fine.

I wasn’t always a hired gun. My first foray into mobile apps was working on a startup called mycitymate back in 2005. Perhaps i’ll expand on that experience in some future blog post but for now, suffice to say that I worked very hard for many years and succeeded in making some pretty impressive mobile creations, but also in making myself very poor and worn out. It takes a lot of elements to make a business succeed, and while i may not have excelled in all of them, I feel at least i gained some insights into what they might be. The main one is making sure you have sufficient resources to match your ambition, (or a solid plan on how you will acquire them) and its colliery, something that was referred to by one of my favourite english teachers in high school with the acronym KISS, or Keep It Simple Sweetheart. I’ve built so many apps that have a TON of features, and it’s always a challenge to communicate to users what all of these are, and the truth is, even if you succeed in that, they’ll only really care about one or two of them. A wise man once said perfection is not achieved when there’s nothing left to add, but when there’s nothing left to take away.

So with all i’ve learned about the app business over the years, i’ve decided to try and put them into practice for something all my own. Something that’s simple, useful, and fun to use. An idea that has become a bit of a passion for me recently and that i feel little choice but to pursue. Put simply, that idea is the ability to save and share locations with whoever you want to, and wherever you are. It’s a simple idea, but like the best ones, requires a lot of complicated and clever things to keep it that way!

I thought it would be nice to document my journey in this blog. Along the way i’ll talk about the technical issues i faced, the design considerations and iterations i went through, and notes on the tools and services i’ve used to do so.

Happy to have you along for the ride. Stay tuned!

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