The app you built has to be on the App Store (as long as it compiles)
A story about how my simple app touched lives far and wide.
Originally published on my blog, kubilayerdogan.net.
Back in the day, when I was getting into cycling, although I didn't know what to expect, I knew one thing: I had to pick the bike with the right frame. It didn't take too long until I found myself inside an ocean of parameters because I noticed that bike frames had many attributes alongside the size. One of them was the angles of where the parts meet each other, and depending on these, the bike would give you a different ride experience, like a comfortable one, or an aerodynamic one, and such.
I was serious and had to pick not just any frame, but the best for my body and vision (!). Well, there was a problem: Not every buyer or seller cared about every detail, and I couldn't find all the details of the frames I was looking at, more specifically, the angles within the frame body.
So I came up with an idea: How about I make a small app to solve the problem: To measure the angles inside a given photo. Did I do that right away? Yes. Did I use it for measuring angles on bike frames? Yes. Did I get the "best" frame for myself? No, but that's another topic. What followed all of these is that I decided to put that app on the app store. It was primitive, probably had the worst UX ever, and the code behind it was... It's catastrophic, to say the least. But I wasn't expecting anything, to be honest. It was a small effort for me to publish, and I would be more than happy if it just helped someone, somehow.
The app was being downloaded and used over the years, but I wasn't getting any feedback, although that was fine. The thing about the internet is that it's like a sea into which you throw your bottle with a note. You don't know what will happen to the bottle or if someone will ever read your note, but most importantly, whether you'll ever get a response because we all fetch other people's bottles but don't always respond.
Well, after three years, I received a bottle. It was from a senior who presented himself as "a blue-collar guy or laborer" who had an injury at work and would never be as he was. He had to measure the angles of the stairs he fell to see whether they matched the industrial staircase requirements. He wanted my help because he thought he was not educated in this discipline, although it was a simple calculation (I told you that the app UX was horrible). He wanted to pay me for my service, but I refused since I was more than happy to help; he asked for a charity to donate to instead. I was just a guy who uploaded the app he built for himself, and not only did I help a handicapped senior from the other half of the world, but a charity was getting a donation because of me! I was speechless.
If I had made a perfectionist decision, I wouldn't have released this app. I wouldn't have released this app if I had chosen to do something else with the little time I had to spend to put it online. There were so many reasons not to release it, but I did it anyway, and it took only one person to make me appreciate my decision.
I have three other apps on the App Store alongside Angles in Photo: One app for cross-multiplication (yes, I made an app for that, and yes, people use it), another one for checking the glycemic index of a food (I was quite obsessed with my nutrition once, we've all been there), and another one that I built when Safari was getting very slow on my old iPhone so I decided to build the simplest web browser that doesn't do 1000 things in the background. Some have advertisements to help me pay my bills, but they're all free to use. People use them and give feedback, although I never show the care I'm supposed to - but that's the whole point, and if I were obsessed with that, I wouldn't have kept them online, and no one would be using them.
You might not always appreciate what you do, but that shouldn't mean other people won't. If they won't, you won't lose anything, but if they do, you realize that something too little for you might mean a lot to someone else.
Oh, I had another feedback for Angles in Photo, saying, "Helped me get through my divorce." I can't imagine how that happened, but, there you go!