Love the Product

I’ll come right out and say it: BabyGrow doesn’t make me a whole lot of money. People sometimes ask me why I bother. Wouldn’t it make more sense to try something new, perhaps aiming for a more substantial market? The simple answer is I bother because I love BabyGrow. I always have at least two or three new features on my mind, things I know I, as an actual user of the product, would love. And when I can, I work on those things.

Unfortunately, “when I can” typically isn’t often enough. BabyGrow 2 is perhaps not the best example, since in between it and BabyGrow 1.7 I moved (thrice), changed day jobs (twice) and otherwise was unable to spend many of my nights and weekends working on it. When things finally settled down I picked up where I had left off. For the purpose of this post, I will be referring to the time period between when I found I had time to work on BabyGrow again, around November of 2011, and now.

I have a day job. I also have two young boys. This basically means that the only time I am really able to focus on my (tiny little) business is for an hour two each evening between when the boys go to bed and when I conk out. I do this as often as I can. There are days that either my job or the boys have me so weary that I can’t think straight. Sometimes I just need an actual break, or often I just want to spend some time with my wife. The net result is that I typically have perhaps two to five hours a week to work on my business.

Due to this extreme time limitation, I have a choice. I can work on BabyGrow, or I can work on something new. Not both.

Intellectually, I know I should work on something new. BabyGrow targets a relatively small market. True, if every single member of that market were to purchase BabyGrow I’d be sitting pretty for a little while. But that’s not going to happen, no matter how many attempts at marketing I try (while staying within my very meager budget). It should be a no-brainer – put BabyGrow on the back burner and try to hit a bigger, more lucrative market.

Someday, I’m sure I’ll do that. Maybe even soon. But starting a new software project is hard. Building a new product from the ground up takes massive amounts of time. Not to mention, I apparently don’t have The Vision. I consistently fail to come up with interesting ideas for new apps. A few years ago my wife made some suggestions that I dismissed. Looking back, I wish I hadn’t – several of her ideas have turned up and been best sellers. Recently she’s made a few more suggestions… We’ll see.

But most of all, it’s because I’m not done with BabyGrow. I don’t know if I ever will be. I keep a list of the features that, if I finish them all, I would be comfortable leaving BabyGrow alone for a little while. But the list grows faster than I can keep up with it. Some of it may be feature creep, but it’s also that Apple keeps improving the iOS platform. Each new version of iOS has brought features BabyGrow can benefit from. Printing, iCloud synchronization, the iPad, etc. If only Apple would stop innovating, perhaps I could catch up. But who wants that?