On September 3rd I launched Ride, an app which is designed for people who ride electric skateboards.
It is undoubtedly one of the most fun things I’ve ever created, and I think that is largely why the app has been well received by the community. Riding an electric skateboard is ridiculously fun, and it deserves a fun app to go with it.
Ride isn’t really the first of its kind. There’s two main parts to Ride, the part which tracks your ride, and the part which connects to a Boosted Board. Both of these have been done individually, but neither has been done fantastically or indeed in the same app.
Apps like Strava and RunKeeper can all essentially do the same thing, you can often just choose “bike” instead of running and they’ll adapt their tracking. But that’s still not designed for electric skateboards, and often shows you things like your average pace. I don’t really care what my pace is on an electric skateboard tbh.
That’s where Ride comes in. It is built with electric skateboards as the primary use case, so focuses on speed, battery level and distance rather than pace etc.
The whole project started as something much simpler; just a speedometer on your Apple Watch so you can see how fast you’re going. Two months later, it blossomed into a gorgeous ride tracking app that has the added benefits of being able to warn you when your board is running low on juice, and even change ride mode and see how much range you have left.
Now that Ride is on the store, I can take my finger off the throttle a bit and start to plan the next major release. It’s a nice position to be in, working to your own schedule, with your own ideas and with support from an incredible community.
Boosted and I
Let’s address the elephant in the room. Ride does not use official APIs to connect to the board. I would never knowingly do anything to damage people’s boards, but I do have a small disclaimer when you first run the app stating how Boosted aren’t responsible for anything that happens if you use Ride.
Boosted haven’t reached out in either a positive or negative stance towards Ride. If they ever did, I only hope it would be positive and that they understand that I want to help them and the community. This is the sort of app a Boosted Board deserves, and I would be very happy to work with them to make some amazing shit, if they were interested!
Shut up and tell me how well Ride is doing
Okay fine. So today is 13 days since Ride launched (12 really as I launched quite late at night) and I’m happy to say that Ride has had almost 500 downloads. The first full day saw the biggest spike at 239 downloads and then it fluctuates as people talk about the app, but I guess averaging about 20 downloads a day after that.
Ride has an in-app “tip jar”, but in my haste to release for fear of Apple rejecting the app it has ended up quite hidden, so although there have been a few donations from very kind people, there haven’t been as many as I had hoped. There are 4 different options people can choose from to donate, ranging from £0.99 to £9.99. According to iTunes Connect, there have been $63 of sales, however iTunes Connect is currently sending me in a redirect loop when I try to break this down into which tier people have paid, so I can’t give you more information than that just yet. I’m hoping when I surface the tip jar a bit better, this number will be a bit healthier. I’m incredibly grateful for everyone who has donated, though!
I guess you’re wondering how that compares to MacID? Well, they’re actually similar in number of downloads per day, however MacID is a paid app, so I would say that MacID is doing better, even with all the macOS Core Bluetooth bugs.
I have spent very little on any sort of marketing for Ride or MacID. I have ran a few ad campaigns on Twitter for MacID right at the start, but found I didn’t need to. As egotistical as it sounds, I didn’t really need to. I made stuff people want to use, and made it better than other people who made similar stuff. That’s really the key to a successful app.
Word of mouth is worth significantly more than any ad conversion, although the people who make Clash of Clans might disagree with me there. You can make the comparison yourself between a game like Clash of Clans versus one like Mini Metro or Monument Valley. I’ve never seen an ad for the latter, and yet I would say it’s more popular than the former.
So my advice to anyone who is launching an app: make a big deal about it, tell everyone, get as many people using and talking about it as you can by giving it away if it’s a paid app, and create a community around your app.
Give your app a personality and brand, make a Twitter account for it and use it, engage with your users, give them a voice and make them feel cared about.
Create stickers and get your friends to give them out. Email every single blog and give them promo codes. Make a YouTube video. Put it on Product Hunt.
Shout about your app, you worked hella hard to make it, you deserve to make a big deal about it!