Email tip: Don't fill in the "To" section first


When writing sensitive emails to clients or even to friends, don’t fill the “to” section in first. You don’t want to accidentally send a half written or draft email do you? Leave that field blank until it’s ready to send. Alternatively, try writing email in a text editor and then pasting the final draft into your email client when it’s ready.

This may sound trivial, but it only takes one accident to lose a valuable client to email confusion.

The designers’ guide to iPhone apps: Revenue

Everyone always asks me “How much do you make?” whenever I talk about my iPhone Polaroid app, ShakeItPhoto. So many designers want to get into the business of iPhone App development. They have a ton of questions, but what they really what to know is if their time is worth the pay off.

Let’s get straight to the point. ShakeItPhoto has made almost $30,000 since it was released six months ago. Was it worth it for me? You bet.


Let’s get more specific. I paid $3,000 to the developer to make the first version of ShakeItPhoto. It took about two months to get that money back. Since then, the developer and I have become partners and split any future income. He does the coding for updates and new apps and I do the design and marketing.

Is it all sunshine and lollipops? No way! The App Store and approval process is a real bitch! With a three month delay during the approval process, frustrating comment and rating system, and app copy-cats, things get pretty stressful at times. But overall, it’s a huge learning process and a great way to make some secondary income. It’s really great to see people using your app, too.

Here is a graph of the revenue to date for ShakeItPhoto. The big spike around mid August is when the app was on the “Staff Favorite” section on the front page of the iTunes App Store. I’m not sure how the staff favorites are picked, but as you can see, it was a great help in selling more apps and getting the word out.

ShakeItPhoto Revenue To Date
Graph by AppViz

How much time does it take to develop, design, and market an app like this? It can take anywhere from 2-8 hours per week to keep the app updated and the community happy. Here is a rough breakdown. The development and approval process took about a month of work, done in our spare time. After approval, we had two updates that took about a week of work and testing. Recently, the majority of the time is spent on interacting with customers through flickr, twitter, facebook and on blogs. Community-building can take up to an hour each day and is one of the most important ways to help build your app’s user base and to foster word of mouth.

Will your iPhone app make this much? Like all products it depends on a million things including timing, market, customer base, design, price, app usefulness, uniqueness, marketing, word of mouth and a ton of other things that are hard to quantify. However, hopefully posts like these can help you start to understand the process of getting an app off the ground, into the store, and in the hands of its users.

Stay tuned! I hope to post more info about what I have learned while building iPhone apps, including posts about:

  • the approval process
  • designing for the iPhone
  • where I found my developer
  • dealing with the App Store
  • advertising techniques
  • how to deal with copy-cats
  • connecting with customers
  • getting press
  • and more…

If you have a question about the iPhone App process or about ShakeItPhoto, please leave it in the comments below. I will be sure to include the answer in upcoming posts.

Creative People: Treat yourself as a Business.

Creative people in every industry should think of themselves as a business.

Business boils down to two things.

  • 1. Making a great product.
  • 2. Selling the product to people who need it.

Too many people only focus on turning themselves a great product, and they foolishly ignore the second part.

Learning how to sell yourself is the hardest, yet most important part of getting a job. Getting paid all comes down to meeting the people that are hiring and making sure that they know about you and your skills. I have a presentation based on this concept over at my other blog, Greyscalegorilla.

Make sure you are taking care of both sides of your business!

Backup Strategy Part 2: The day, the Hard Drive Died!

In this followup episode, I go though my quick story on how Drobo and Time Machine saved me from a dead boot drive. I was back up and running, with a fully restored drive in less than five hours (most of that time was data transfer time). I also talk about a couple things that would be good to have on hand incase your drive decides to to “tits-up” while you are working including a boot disk, a second hard drive and a laptop.

I bought my drobo on amazon with four of these drives

Backup Strategy Part 1: Automate It!


Backup Strategy Part 1

Back Your Shit Up!!!!! It’s too easy not too. With tools like Time Machine and Drobo that make it so easy to back everything up. Why wait? You know you need to right? Hard drives eventually die. It’s happened to me twice and it WILL happen to you. Just, make sure you have a backup system in place for when it does. Today, I tell you about my backup strategy and how I protect my most valuable work and memories.

What would happen to you if you lost everything on your hard drive right now? Family photos, client’s work, music, personal projects, financial statements, and home movies ALL GONE. Think about it…

Stay tuned for tomorrow when I tell you about my most recent hard drive crash and how Drobo and Time Machine got me back working in less than 5 hours.

I bought my drobo on amazon with four of these drives

Clean-up Your Desktop Will Ya?!

Inspired by, I decided to officially clean up my desktop, clean out my dock and get rid of most of the widgets in my menu bar. So far, so good. This new setup is less distracting and keeps me focused in on what I’m working on. I use Launchbar to launch all my apps and have been learning the correct keyboard commands to navigate without using the dock. I’ll give you an update after I get used to it so see what changes worked the best.

Why not at least clear out your desktop today? Send in a before and after screen shot if you do and I can share them in an upcoming blog post.



The Most Effective Productivity Tip for Mac

Today, I show you the number one most effective tip I have for creating an undistracted work environment at your computer. It’s simple to do and it only takes a few seconds. Ready? Go into your Mail preferences and turn set “Check for new Mail” to “Manually” and set “New Mail Sound” to “None”. Thats it!

Now, set a schedule to check your email about 2-5 times a day. This way, you are checking your mail on YOUR schedule instead of every 5 minutes when you hear the “New Mail” alarm sound. This will keep you on task with what you need to be working on and you will be able to batch process your email in chunks instead of one at a time.