Last August I posted on my debacle with the first app developer I hired. Unfortunately, the news on the second guy I hired is equally dire. Last May, I contacted a developer whose app I had downloaded and liked. It had animation, was interactive and fun. We Skyped and got to know each other a bit. We discussed what type of app I wanted and if he could produce it. He assured me he could and felt it would be a fun app to develop. We had a contract and agreed on a price. He produced the characters and showed them in animation form and, as per our agreement, was paid the first installment. We remained in weekly contact so that I could stay up to date on the app’s progress. Then suddenly, his personal life began to unravel. Our weekly meetings turned into once every two weeks and from there petered down into no meetings. He stopped answering my emails. I did not know what to think. I continued to periodically send emails hoping to hear from him. Finally, I did.
Fred responded to my email four months later, in January of this year. He explained a bit about his absence and said he was ready to continue developing the app. I breathed a sigh of relief. We began Skyping again. This lasted about two months. Just as suddenly as Fred had reappeared, he again disappeared. Has his personal life taken over his professional life? Again, I do not know what to think. I do know, though, that, a year later, I have nothing to show for the initial monies I paid.
What lessons I have I learned the second time around? I have learned that too often there are individuals who say they can produce the app one wants, but the reality is they cannot. My app involved animation and interactivity. I now believe that those two components are still difficult too produce in an app, especially if they are the heart of the app. Prior to hiring Fred, I had contacted another individual who had produced a wonderful animated and interactive app. The price she quoted was far greater than what I had budgeted. Doing the calculations, I felt that the monies spent, at the price she quoted, would take a long time to recoup or the app would have to be priced beyond what I felt others would be willing to pay.
Another lesson I learned is that putting animation into an app is costly and risky even if a developer says he can do it. For now, it is best to develop an app that uses minimal to no animation. I still feel that if one has a good idea for an app it is worth developing. Although there are companies producing many apps, there is still room for the individual. Even though I have been twice burned, I would still recommend going it alone. It gives one control and most of the profits as well. Going it alone gives one control and most of the profits as well.