Why techies make crap early adopters

Recently, I’ve been working on apps and business ideas like AlwaysHungry, 60Hz and Secret Hotels (for lastminute.com.au). Finding early adopters to test these products are not easy. Things are even more complicated because my friends and colleagues tend to be very tech savvy.

It seems like people associate early adopters with being able to use a phone really well, or know their way around Safari with shortcuts on a Mac. What I observed in my time observing people using things I build is that they use products in anger.

What do I mean “using in anger”?

These users deal with the app in an aggressive manner. They press anything and everything. There is no real purpose behind the usage. They experience the product in a very detached manner.

There’s nothing wrong with all of this. In fact, it is a great form of stress testing. What sucks about it though is the lousy feedback you get. Feedback that sets you down the wrong path because the content never spoke to them in the first place.

Comments like “this button looks out of place”, “I like how Tweetbot does it” is irrelevant if they had used the app with a real purpose. These forms of feedback generally point you towards whether you’ve built the product right, not so much if you built the right product.

I think this contributes to even the biggest companies in the world building things that are irrelevant. Designers and developers build things to be used in anger. They go for rounded corners and bug-free apps rather than apps that flow well and really work hard to present content well (rounded corners rarely help the cause).

Reddit is the most relevant example I can think of. That thing looks like a shit website, reminds you of a dirty alleyway in the city somewhere. But it works. It’s got such awesome, random, awesome content I keep going back to it!

Back to early adopters.

If you want these special beings, find places they hang out in like forums etc. Look for people who are already solving the problem manually and bitching about it. The most important quality you are after in a person is that they are “someone who endures bugs, lack of rounded corners and much much more for the right content or solution”.

Good Luck!

Apps that grow with you

It's difficult to make a good app. But it's even more difficult to make an app that grows and matures with the user: something that starts off basic and overtime, as more knowledge is shared between you and the app, more in-depth features are revealed to appeal to a more mature, advanced version of you.

Thought I had while discovering something completely new after a week of using the Jawbone UP fitness band.


Important Considerations Before Naming Your App

If you’re a small time developer, you generally tend to skip steps when it comes to following a proper process on naming your apps / products. Here’s a list of things you shouldn’t be skipping...

Say you decide to make an app to educate people about how bad donuts are. Let’s call this app “Evil Donuts”. Excellent name!

Step 1: Google it.

This is so easy to forget sometimes. Always Google and see what comes up. Then switch over to the “Image” search tab and see what comes up there. If you only manage to get one to three bikini women, it is a good sign! These are the things that would compete for SEO and the things people associate your name with.

Screen Shot 2013-07-07 at 10.32.46 AM.png

Damn it, Facebook Group is taken. Might have to name it “Evil Donuts App”.

Step 2: Domain Search

Domains are important. We need to look for www.evildonuts.com and www.evildonutsapp.com. These are good domains for our app, unless your aim is to introduce a submain on your own site like: www.m2d2apps.com/evildonuts.

Screen Shot 2013-07-07 at 10.34.41 AM.png

Bummer, someone parked it.

Screen Shot 2013-07-07 at 10.35.13 AM.png

I recommend you use https://iwantmyname.com/ to look for names. It checks pretty much every domain possible.

Step 3: iTunes / Play Store

Ok let’s say this is going to be an iPhone app. We have to fire up iTunes and see if an app with that name exist. If it doesn’t great. If it does, you have to decide whether to stick with it. If you do, you can simply extend your name to: “Evil Donuts - Junk Food Eating Tips”. When the user installs the app, you can still name it “Evil Donuts” without Apple freaking out.

Screen Shot 2013-07-07 at 10.36.35 AM.png

Score! No Apps! Just like our 60Hz App!

Step 4: Easy to type?

We never thought about this when we launched “Notes + U”. Terrible name. Worst of all, it was hard to type on the iPhone. iOS keyboard hides the “+” button under 2 levels in the keyboard -- BAD idea. Make sure it is hard to misspell and easy to type out.

Step 5: Trademarks

Disclaimer: This is not in any way legal advice. Get a real lawyer for that. I am not qualified. This is merely personal experience.

CHECK TRADEMARKS! If your app only ever sells 10 copies this is less of an issue. However, if it makes its way up the ranks and you start gaining some love from Google, then you are in for it! “Evil Donuts Inc” is not going to be nice and empathise with your situation. Trademark law, I believe, specifies that once you have a trademark, you have to actively defend it or risk losing it altogether. So chances of you getting a Cease & Desist letter is quite high. Unless you have a strong legal team you will be forced to pull your app from the store when this happens.

Generally you will be forced to take down everything you have related to your beautiful app once you get a letter. Game over.

Interesting things I found out:

  • If you made friends with a law grad, good for you. Love them, buy them dinner, and keep in contact.
  • There's less likelihood on infringing trademarks if the name is descriptive. For instance, if we had named our app “Donut Nutrition Tutorials”, it is quite hard to get a C&D due to its descriptive tone. However, if we called it “DonutNutritionTutes”, then it is still under threat!
  • Generally trademark disputes resolve in the favor of the trademark owner. So you are very likely to lose even if you contest it.

Check the following countries at least:

Screen Shot 2013-07-07 at 10.38.26 AM.png

Cool! Abandoned in 2005!!

Once you are happy, go ahead and create an app in iTunes to stop anyone from taking that name.

Happy building apps. Evil Donuts app never did get made.


We changed looks. Now we change names. Your favourite TV tracker is now running at 60Hz.

tvQ is 60Hz.

We had a great launch for our latest TV tracking app about a week ago. It's a new app rewritten with all your feedback from 1.0, with a fresh take on TV and movie tracking and of course, a fresh new icon with a sleek new user interface. Now it's time for a new name too!

What are we in essence?

We are all about your TV experience. At the end of a hard day's work (or play...) you sit down in front of your TV for a pause, to escape to another world. Our app is your assistant and your guide on this journey to other wonderful worlds of imagination. The television is the center of this experience and believe it or not, it flips the frames 60 times every second to immerse you deep in this experience. Our app, helps you stay in sync with your TV experiences at all times, which means we're running at 60 frames a second too. So we called the app, simply, 60Hz.


We, here at M2D2, want to keep pushing 60Hz in this direction of helping you to get the most out of your television time. We'll be adding new features to make your TV experience more entertaining.

When 2.1 launches, we'll officially change names. When it does, tell your friends. Your recommendation is important to us. We depend on it heavily to keep the app moving forward. We've been prompt to answer all your feedback. We've gotten over 30 emails on the first few days alone! We have a good idea of where we can improve and what we can do in future releases. So keep the feedback flowing...

And spread the word about 60Hz!