An App Is Born – Getting Down to Business

In the previous installments, Messy Schedules and The Ultimate Whiteboard, WHTK co-creator Marvin shares what led him and his wife, Shannon, to create a better family calendar app.

In the last installment, we talked about the lack of solutions to our family scheduling problem and Shannon and I had decided to create our own solution in the form of a mobile app. We had our own list of things we wanted the app to do and we had also received input from friends and colleagues that were facing the same problem. Now, it was time to start building!

Wait a minute, could Shannon code? Nope! Could I code? Nope! We decided to get professional assistance, so I reached out to contacts in the technology field. As Shannon and I spoke with different developers and described our vision, we got a range of reactions, from the non-committal – that’s an interesting idea – to the telling – you’re going to pay cash up front, right?

Eventually, we settled on a company, Mobilosophy, in New York that had mobile application development experience and, just as importantly, didn’t think we were crazy. We sat down and showed them our preliminary designs. They’re reaction was, “That’s nice, but here’s why that’s a bad idea – let’s try it this way.”  The tech world was dizzying and our heads were spinning with weird terms (churn rate, minnows, user retention, etc.), and acronyms (ASO, API, iOS, etc). As we started talking timeframes, our original estimate of 9 months to market was looking more like 1-2 years.

There was an extended development period as we went through multiple builds. In each build, we learned something new. For example, sometimes, we ran across features that sounded good during design but were clunky in actual use. Also, our development partners gave us great guidance on how to improve the design and flow. Each build required a lot of late nights, with me and Shannon testing every feature and step multiple times. By now, Shannon and I were actively using the app in managing our family. Finally, we got to a build that we all agreed was ready for prime time. Success!!! Who Has The Kids was born and was working.

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