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Side projects progress in 2014

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I’ve been working on a number of projects in 2014. All of them are Android apps.

I’ll give you a quick update on how the apps have been doing in 2014 and at the bottom tell you about the projects I’d like to work on in 2015.

Idea Growr

With Idea Growr you can quickly write down ideas and add notes to them. The provided question sets help you take on different perspectives and grow your ideas. My goal for 2014 was to add online accounts to the app. That effort failed. What I did do is make lot’s of long term plans and wireframes.

So what happens to an app if you don’t do much development on it? It stops growing. I also didn’t do much promotion and there are some interface issues I should tackle. Still, there are about 11 thousand people who have the app on their device.

My Picture Books
With this app you can use your own pictures and sounds to create your own picture books.

I started this project in September and it went live in November. It’s now slowly growing.


Yes, we are only talking about 39 users at the moment. What’s interesting is that when compared to my other two apps, My Picture Books users are less likely do remove the app from their device so far.


It’s too early to tell, but that could mean the users really value the app.

Personal Life Trackr

This app let’s you set goals on a specific date for your ‘future self’. You can also measure yourself on any moment on a scale of 5. I created this app after Idea Growr, and it is the app that has gotten the least amount of love from me so far.

In November I had launched My Picture Books and had a greater understanding of working with libraries and Android studio. So I thought it was time for an update. I made some interface changes, but for me the most important part was migration the database. In the new database I use the ActiveAndroid library and this makes it easier to maker future updates and I expect less bugs.

PLT Update Compare

Growth stats:


Just like with Idea Growr; if you hardly do any improvements, the number of users stop growing. It now has about 2.600 device installs.

Lessons learned

In the first half of 2014 I lost a lot of time trying to get Idea Growr collaborations working. When I started to work on My Picture Books it was more fun again and I was learning a lot of new things again. So I guess the main lesson is that I must keep coding in 2015 and build new things people value.

  • Technology
    • Working with libraries like Active Android makes creating an app a lot simpler.
    • I now have fully switched to Android Studio.
    • I have gained experience in storing and retrieving files and working with audio.
  • Process
    • Collaborating on a pet project with someone is hard. Since no money is involved, they don’t have the same commitment as I do. If their day job is demanding more time, I can’t really argue with that.
    • It’s still fun. I used to play all these sim games like Sim City, Civilization, Transport Tycoon, Football manager games, etc. Creating apps is just like that, but it effects real people.

Plans for 2015

As far as non-day-job plans go, here are the things I like to do in 2015:

  • A app that makes use of an online platform like Parse. It provides a relatively simple way to implement a cloud back-end. Plan A is an app that helps you keep track of what meals you like and what to eat for dinner today.
  • Make a first version of the Sugar Salt Fat concept. In the far future it could be combined with the dinner selection app.
  • Add online accounts to Idea Growr. Plan A is realizing this with a new collaboration with a good friend. Plan B is to use a platform like Parse.
  • Improve on My Picture Books. It depends on the feedback I’ll get and how much time I’ll have, what improvements I’ll make. It would be interesting to sell children books from publishers via the app.
  • Improve on Personal Life Trackr. At the very least I should improve how the notifications work.
  • Add in app purchases in one of my apps and learn how willing users are to pay for features.
  • A simple app that uses Google’s new Material Design. Plan A is a simple audio recorder app.
  • Make a simple web app that uses the same cloud back-end as an app, like Parse.  Plan A being a minimalistic mix of Twitter and LinkedIn.

So there are enough plans for 2015. All are a combination of two goals: create tools people value and learn new skills so I can create even better tools.

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