🚀 18 days until launch
🔥 11 day streak
💰 $4.99 price
🤑 $0 revenue
📈 0 customers
⌚️ 8.5 hours spent
💻 19 files changed, 1068 insertions(+), 170 deletions(-)
🏁 Today's goals: Generate strong passwords; UI improvements
Alright, I've got my coffee, laptop and xcode ready to roll, let's get it started in here. The first thing I do is open up the app to get my bearings and see where the thing needs improvement. I could do this forever; see things that need improvement and never launch, that's why it's nice to have a launch date and to keep myself honest about hours worked and revenue made. Always good to look back at the daily updates and see what happened.
I took a departure from coding and decided to type in "password manager" on the mac app store. It's a crazy place in terms of pricing. The most expensive one is $14.99 and it appears to do nothing more than the others and isn't any better in terms of design either. The least expensive ones are free, which while technically correct, most of them have "In-App purchases" in a hilariously tiny font underneath the "Get" button
So this phenomena of declining prices for something that's marginally useful, is kind of sad to see. This shift to freemium and most recently freemium + monthly subscriptions/in-app purchases is kind of a hack on a free trial situation. I should have probably done this kind of research sooner, but I'm glad I've done it now so I can adjust my strategy and try to not wind up like most of these other ones on here.
If I look at what sets the household names apart from the also-rans, it's marketing and a "mission" maybe a "story". These things are manufactured of course to move more product, and it definitely works at least for a while.
- 1password the most famous of the password managers is famous for their content marketing, and recently collaboration with troy hunt/haveibeenpwned, choice of sync mode and an easy to remember name
- Lastpass is famous for having a horrible UX, getting hacked and not giving you the option of how to sync your passwords, seeing as it started as a website and not an app
- Dashlane seems to be better overall but appears to have even less market presence
- Bitwarden is also a contender although I don't know if anyone outside of the HN sphere knows about this, the main difference is that it's open source
One thing they all have in common is this focus on cloud syncing and subscription pricing, both of which I am not a fan of.
So, assuming I can get the design in order in 18 days, what can I do to separate myself from these other ones and stand out from the crowd? I've already done some things quite a bit differently than these other guys/gals:
- Swift/Native macOS app to start, iOS app coming next
- Open source
- Transparent revenue numbers + origin story (I love a good origin story)
- No subscription pricing
- One time price
- No cloud syncing, just automatic syncing between the macOS app and the forthcoming iOS app
- No browser extensions
- High upfront price to make people think wow this better be amazing
I'm also taking a page out of the basecamp playbook and aiming to underdo the competition, so that's a good start. I also know my target market pretty well, even though we're a bunch of grumpy old guys and girls that mostly hate software and hate paying for software. It may work in my favor though since they can easily compile the code from the open source repo and anyone less tech savvy that likes the message or gets referred by one of their hacker friends can download it for $$.
"Word of mouth" is probably the worst strategy for marketing, as is "product quality" but that's where I am in my marketing journey. I don't like ads, so I don't want to pay to put ads in people's faces. I want to believe that quality apps sell themselves, but I'm not as naive as I was before, so I have to come up with a better plan to beat the likes of 1password. I like how pinboard has effectively outlasted its biggest competitor delicious with a totally different value proposition: social bookmarking for introverts. There were some fortuitous events in that guy's favor, but still he just had to keep going when delicious was faltering, something most VC fueled businesses seem to do well. Similar to pinboard, I'm not really interesting in
So to sum up my strategy for getting this into people's hands:
- Honest, upfront one-time pricing
- Exclusively made for Apple devices: the mac and the iPhone
- Open source so you can be sure it's not sending all of your passwords directly to the NSA
- Offline by default
- Local area network syncing, there are no servers
- Every purchase goes straight to me, my wife and my dog, no investors, no evil corporations (except Apple, of course)
- The iOS app is going to be open source as well, it'll probably also be free
Well, it turns out I didn't write any code today, but it's still pretty early so that might change.