In August of 2012, we launched the Wanelo iPhone app. Initially, we thought of it as a side project for the company. All we knew was that a lot of our users were emailing us asking for an iPhone app, and that we should give it to them. At the time the team was really focused on the reboot of our website design and codebase, which you can read about here. So while that was in motion, I started working on the initial designs for the app, and after several iterations we hired two iPhone developers to start building it.
The results were pleasantly surprising. A lot of our existing users downloaded the app and wrote us lovely reviews. This continued throughout 2012, with steady and accelerating growth.
Fast forward to January of 2013, and our userbase on iOS is growing faster than any other platform, including web, by a long shot. We’ve surpassed apps like Amazon, eBay, Pinterest, Spotify, and Twitter. The list can go on for a while, but I digress :).
I don’t think of mobile as a “strategy” or “platform” to be on anymore. Mobile is just where people do shit now. Be where your users are. A year ago, I thought that Wanelo.com was the ultimate destination for our users, and that the iPhone app would be convenient for users to kill time when they weren’t near their computers. Now, a significant amount of our users don’t even know we have a website.
When you send your users an email, there’s a growing chance that they’re going to read it on their way to work, at lunch, in the bathroom, outside, or even still on their phone while their computer is right in front of them, just because.
If your app allows your users to make something or document something or do anything, there’s a growing chance that they’re going to want to do it immediately, and anywhere.
My parting words of wisdom are to just keep this in mind when you’re building your product. I don’t really care about “mobile first” or second or third, I just know that it’s really fucking important.
I’ve been fiddling around with different ideas of how I want to create my life. I didn’t think I would find some fantastic inspiration from a pottery artist.
I’ve been putting off writing this for about two months, which is precisely how long I’ve been living in San Francisco. I guess that’s because so much has been happening that I’m not sure what’s worth sharing, and yet I still don’t know what to make of my experiences, so I’m hesitant to summarize them just yet.
Basically, here’s what happened up until now. I went to a magnet high school in New Jersey that took pride in it’s high-GPA students and Ivy League acceptees (here’s what adults have to say about my school, here’s what kids have to say about my school). I wasn’t doing very well, managing my workload poorly, sleeping 2-3 hours a night, and compensating by sleeping through most of my classes. I definitely was not going to get into an Ivy, even though it had been more or less engraved in my brain by countless people that that was the only path to success/happiness/money/job security/whatever.
Apparently, there is another path. There are actually many other paths. So I guess that’s what I’m doing in San Francisco, a high school dropout working for a startup (Wanelo) and living in a walk-in closet (I’m serious, did you know you can fit a mattress in one of those?), figuring out the different paths I can take, and taking charge of my circumstances.
Most importantly, I’m starting my life right now, not waiting and hoping for it to hit me over the head 5 years from now with a high school diploma and a Bachelor’s degree that cost me $100-$200k.
So this is gonna be really interesting.