I’d like to introduce Katherine, my partner, and A Tasty Pixel’s operations and marketing manager (or some similar title that means she does all the work that isn’t hammering out code). She’s started a blog series on the goings-on at ATP, and I thought it was time we posted it here.
It occurred to me the other day that we should be blogging about our software development business, A Tasty Pixel — our hopes for it, our progress, our setbacks. Is it madness that this only occurred to me 15 months into our technomading lifestyle?!
At the moment our business is absolutely all-consuming. Five months ago we decided to stop travelling for a bit to get some work done and we’ve still got another 2 solid months ahead of us before launch.
In this time we’ve watched our project evolve, branch off into unexpected territory, and have adjusted our goals accordingly. It seems obvious, now that I’ve thought of it, that we should be documenting this thing that’s taking up so much of our time and energy and plays such a vitally important role in our lives. It’s an amazing (for us) thing that we’re doing and I want to record it for providence. I also want to take time to reflect on what we’re doing. That’s something I’ve really appreciated about travel blogging – the perspective it provides. I think blogging about our business will make me appreciate our accomplishments, assess our decisions and progress and hopefully, if we’re very, very lucky, reach out and connect with like-minded entrepreneurial souls who we can share this experience with.
But first, to get our gentle viewers up to speed, some back-story:
Iterations of A Tasty Pixel
Before leaving Australia we read Tim Ferriss’ book the “4 Hour Work Week” and were rather captivated by the idea of “automation” or as we’ve come to call it, “passive income” – basically you sell a product and automate as much as you can so you don’t have to spend more than a day a week on it. This lead to the grand idea that Mike would make iPhone apps – which of course you only need to make once – then sell it forever and ever for wads of cash on the iPhone App Store…
And thusly we progressed:
Goal: Mike does what he loves and we have a comfortable passive income once x amount of apps are out on the App Store. (Technically, the first iteration of A Tasty Pixel was Mike making apps in his “spare time” *ahem* whilst completing his PhD before we left Australia.)
Business Model: Mike makes stuff he wishes existed and puts it on the App Store and waits for the money to roll in.
Business Model: As above, plus after some prodding from Katherine, Mike dabbles in marketing.
Business Model: Mike makes stuff he wishes existed and Katherine is promoted to “Operations and Marketing Manager” once we both realise that if Mike runs every aspect of the business himself he may be able to release an app within the next decade or so.
Goal: Mike does what he loves. Delusions of a passive income are, at the very least postponed, after Katherine’s realisation that without concerted and continuous marketing, updates, and customer support any app, no matter how shit hot, will be lost in the noisy black gaping void of a hole that is the iPhone App Store.
Business Model: Work our little butts off.
I don’t know if you can tell from the above business models, but neither Mike nor I have any education or experience in business. We’re both what I believe many people (comprised mostly of my extended working-class family) would call “over-educated” (3 degrees, 1 honours, and 99.9% of a PhD between us).
Alas, despite all those many years of book learnin’ not a snippet was dedicated to the exchange of goods and/or services for monies. Luckily, I have a degree in psychology so apparently I know how to manipulate people into parting with their money — at least that’s what my psych lecturers told us when they mentioned that a whole lot of psych graduates use their powers for evil and go into marketing. I remember shuddering at the thought, and now here I am — not that I’m complaining! I’m one of those strange people who takes an exorbitant amount of pleasure in organising. As a kid I had borderline OCD tendencies and they serve me well today.
So, where we’re at right now is the realisation that in order for our business to be successful we either need to do a crapload of work or pay somebody else to do it (we both take far too much pride in our work to have any love for the idea of outsourcing, however), with no end-date in sight. When and how we are we going to find the time to travel Europe in our motorhome again? We have no idea but I’m hoping once this iPhone app that we have poured our everything into is out in the big wide world things will balance out and we’ll be able to focus on A Tasty Pixel, travel, and I’ll be able to get back to my passion – art and design and creating my own little creative business.
I think the next blog post will be about why, despite the death of our “automated” business model, we really don’t mind very much.