Q Darek, what do you do at the Adaptavist Group?
A I’m a software engineer, I’m working on Scriptrunner, focused on the front end, the UI.
Q But you also have a side hustle? Can you tell me more about it….
A …it’s a mobile application for iOS and Android, called Habit Challenge. It’s a habit tracker that I created about five years ago, before I was at Adaptavist. It started as a React Native app and now it’s Flutter. I wrote it from scratch and I got the design done by a professional design company.
I wanted to build a habit tracker because I thought it would be an easy application that would take 5 to 6 months to create. My prototype looked like crap so I found a company that made it look really nice. I had a working prototype that I shared with them…did a screen recording of how it worked and they completely transformed it! Finally, I got the static images of the application and a description of how it should behave, which I then turned into code and a working application.
Q And did you plan to do everything by yourself?
A Yeah, I wanted to learn a little bit about marketing — which I did with support from other people. But, let’s say 80–90% of the work I did on my own.
Q Is it because you wanted to understand everything and have the full experience? Or was it a financial thing?
A It was a combination…I had been working as a software engineer for over 10 years, but I hadn’t built my own thing. And also in the spirit of entrepreneurship, was thinking that it may be a good idea for a side income.
Q So it’s given you a return based professional experience but not monetary?
A Yes not monetary….I spent more money on it than I made.
Q And did you spend more money than you intended at the time? Or was it more of an experiment?
A Yeah, within that experiment I had set some goals for some parts of it. And I did stick to them, but over time I didn’t get that investment back.
Q How long was the process to make it ready to go on the marketplaces?
A I think the PoC was 9 months, but it was literally a concept. And then I did some marketing on Facebook (to verify if the idea made sense) by posting in some groups. Then after 3 three years I wanted to rewrite it from scratch using Flutter and Google Firestore. 6 months later a new cloud based version was available. Now HabitChallenge has support for multiple devices, you can create an account, keep your history, and transfer data between devices.
Q Can you see there’s an improvement in your knowledge and experience between the PoC and the rewrite?
A One of the goals for re-write was to keep the same look and feel for the app, so that current users don’t notice a change. The other goal was to make the app ‘cloud friendly’, meaning that users can keep their data when changing phones and also use it on multiple different devices. Overall the re-write turned out much better than I expected and I also learned a lot.
Q Because you already had people using it?
A Yes, I already had 5k active installs which meant that I needed to handle data migration from the local storage to the cloud. Thankfully, everything went smoothly, and I haven’t heard any complaints from users.
Q How many users have you got right now?
A Oh, it’s hard to tell right now because of GDPR and other privacy policies.…Google Play is saying that it’s about 9000 active devices. And I haven’t checked with AppStore, but the Apple user base is much smaller. Usually it was about 10% of Google Play’s.
Q That’s quite a big reach, right? Has that surpassed your expectation?
A Oh yeah! I’ve got almost 200,000 downloads! With a minimum amount of marketing, right now I’m doing almost nothing on the app and still getting some downloads. My initial goal was to get 1000 downloads in a year, but it was in like 2 months! It was really fun…
See Habit Challenge
Interview by Lou Walden, Marketing Lead for Salable (Part 2 soon)