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Posted - March 2nd, 2010

There was a great article recently on ReadWriteWeb about hacking the iPhone App Store ranking algorithm. Here’s the original article.

Hacking the iPhone App Store’s Ranking Algorithm

They seem to have a really good handle on what’s going on and I guess it’s really easy to pull statistics and trends from hundreds and thousands of downloads but what I’d really like to know is how to market an iPhone app that is non-viral. ie: Project management apps like our ProWorkflow iPhone app.

We’re doing ok and there have been thousands of downloads, but I want to find out more about marketing lower traffic but more commercial applications through the App Store. Let me know your thoughts and I’ll compile a blog post abut it.

In the meantime here’s the SlideShare presentation from ReadWriteWeb. It’s a good read and great analysis.

Looking below it’s amazing to see how far our project management software has come from the original design sketches. Seriously people, these were my original briefs to Alan Barlow (Cofounder) at the time. 

No huge scoping documents, documentation, peer reviews, industry research, tight visuals or anything! No large teams of usability experts or developers – just two hardworking bootstrappers (working remotely from each other) with a loose idea, a few pencil sketches, and understanding partners who let us work all hours to turn the idea into what is now the ProWorkflow project management solution. A world class tool managing huge amounts of customer info globally.

We’re now a tight team managing critical info daily for thousands of people worldwide. They depend on us to deliver results daily and we do. They expect the solution to work reliably daily and it does. We deliver the goods and have done for years.

Below are some of the original design sketches sent to Alan to work on. We just communicated lots, built the app and then started to build a business!

Now we have:

  • Thousands of users globally
  • 629,022 projects created
  • 2,620,234 tasks created
  • 9,349,890 hours tracked
  • $301,762,038 has been invoiced through ProWorkflow
    (Note: these are from live accounts and don’t include trials)
  • An awesome team in 2x offices
  • A pile of servers
  • An iPhone App (One of the top in our industry)
  • Time Tracking Widget
  • Integration with Xero, QuickBooks and Kashflow
  • 3x plans for different account sizes
  • Support, Help site, Videos, Blog etc
  • A professional and robust API
  • Most backend systems we have built and automated (including multicurrency recurring account billing)

This post should also be a little encouragement to people that you can build a world class solution and business from nothing. We did this with no debt or funding – only sweat equity! Just some smarts and hard work.

Collaboration Concept:

The basic idea behind ProWorkflow is that Staff, Clients, and Contractors can login to one place, see their work and all work on the same page. Essentially all working on the same project together.

The ProWorkflow tool makes sure all the permissions are under control so people only see what they need to see and can only access what they need to access.

We manage project in 2 screens when most other solutions take up to 10+ screens to do the same thing! Here’s a few of my early sketches to figure our our core process/permissions model.




The first Visuals!

Below are some of the very first ProWorkflow visuals as supplied to Alan (Cofounder) to develop.

Job (Project) Page:

This is the original ‘Projects Page’. Pretty loose visual, but it’s quite funny seeing that we used to have the navigation on the right. It’s all a heap more professional and powerful now.


Job (Project) Details:

In the original version you would expand the Job to see the details. Nowadays we click through to a new ‘Project Details Page’. This old version was pretty basic.image

Timesheet Page:

This is still pretty much the same concept so I think it must be time to rethink this page using some new technology available.image

Contacts Page:

This has been extended somewhat…image

Notes Page:

Pretty simple really. Not much to say here…image

Calendar Page:
And my all time favourite development visual – the ‘Calendar page’. Brilliant! The developer (Alan) must have loved me for sending this brief. I think developers must have great patience at times to put up with designers like me  ;-).  Sheeesh!


I’ll see what else we can find in the cupboard from the ‘early days’ that can be blogged. Possibly real screenshots of version 1.0?

Posted - February 24th, 2010

I saw this pod online. It’s inspired me to think about building something similar on the farm. Would look awesome nestled under the Pine hedges! I’d love to hear if anyone has built something similar – send a pic!

Check out





Posted - January 21st, 2010

imageJust for a laugh and in the interest of iPhone experimentation, I built a small iPhone app of the Julian101 blog and twitter feeds!

I do realise that not everyone hangs on everything I have to say, but for those out these who leap out of bed in the morning just to hear my thoughts on things, here’s your very own “Julian101 iPhone app!”

Keep me in your pocket! Show me to your friends (and followers)! And let me keep you updated with my latest ramblings! I’ll be sharing thoughts on business, design, creativity and to be honest, whatever comes to mind!

Download Now!


Posted - January 14th, 2010

Here’s an interesting visualization of the Apple App Store stats and economy. Have a good read, the numbers are pretty interesting.


Am I right in assuming that monthly…

  • 200,000,000 downloads p/m x 1/4 = 50,000,000 paid downloads
  • 50,000,000 paid downloads x Av $2.59 = $129,500,000 Income
  • $129,500,000 x 70% = $90,650,000 Income to Developers
  • $90,650,000 Income to Developers / 28,000 Developers equals…
  • Total: $3,237 per Developer
  • = $38,850 per year!

I’m not going to make any conclusions here but am keen to hear what other people think of this. Is that level of average revenue enticing enough to make writing iPhone App’s worthwhile? Would you quit your development job yet to develop iPhone apps?

Remember I’m talking here about average apps, not the odd successful iPhone apps that sell millions… Like this, this and this.