The story of the project
its at times like this that you wonder exactly how much of the world is passing you by. Straight to the app store to find an app that shows all the things happening around the world.
Surely, some genius kid at Google has channelled all the events from “on the line” into a single app? Apparently not.
After a thorough search all I could find was separate apps for each event…
I just want a single app that allows me to select from all the events in the entire world and tells me when those events will be live on TV – is this too much to ask? I quickly reach for pen & paper to send Google an inspirational note.
I want a new app called “when is that event?”
1. Be easy to find events I’m interested in (I haven’t got any spare time)
2. Avoid special skills only teenagers possess. (big buttons with obvious icons)
3. Automatically adds new dates into my favourite events (no more updates)
4. Automatically convert all the event start times to my local time (do I look like a mathematician?)
6. Allow me to upload personal events into the app (my kids do a million things after school)
7. Share calendars and link to Facebook (as the soccer coach I’ve got RSI from texting everyone the training times.)
8. Print a monthly calendar that combines all my events (I’m lost without a copy on the fridge)
HELP ME GOOGLE!!
Btw, if you even think about the things below, I will immediately change my default browser from Chrome to IE – don’t try me!
# Popup ads (tell me the last time anyone actually read a popup ad)
# Text subscriptions (betting syndicate subscriptions hidden in free kids games are def not cool)
# “Free” versions that actually do NOTHING until you pay (just give it to me straight, I can handle it)
# Upload my contacts/photos to social media (I thought Apple/Google Play were meant to screen these type of apps?)
Strangely, there was no response. Maybe the hipsters running Google are too busy planning a takeover of Facebook.
So, the idea of When.Is? app was born. I called my old school friend, Dion Killiby – Business Manager extraordinaire, floated the idea and he was in 50/50. We knew we would need substantial capital (50K) so we approached every financial institution…sound of crickets when I mentioned the words “tech startup”.
We only got this far by stretching home loans and credit cards (all 5 of them) till they maxed out. The development and test server costs have gone well beyond the 50K we originally budgeted but we made it to launch with a functionally elegant app that fulfils the original brief. We really need some help to kickstart this project – today is really its first day where we have a product to take to market.
In the 3 years since we started this project, we have not outsourced anything other than the actual coding. Both Dion and I work full time jobs to support the project. Dion is business administration while I am graphic design, screen layouts, logic flows, data tables, facebook integration, grey hairs & user testing. The idea was to design an app that was bright, colourful and different. I wanted it to stand out from the bland corporate colour palettes. in the same way my 4 year old daughter chooses the brightest and funnest colours for her drawings, I asked myself “why not?” with the app.
iPhone Version 5.5.6 was approved for sale on the App Store and Android Version 17 published on 4 January 2016.
The app ticks all the boxes and so much more thanks to the genius of Isao Hida, Director of Appiwork Bathurst and his programming team. Appiwork is contracted as a technical partner and project manager.
The total software solution consists of the App (when.Is?), the Event Library (whenis.club) and Event Upload/Management (whenis.net.au).
We have commenced marketing the app to event driven businesses – in the first instance gyms & fitness clubs looking for an innovative way to publish their group fitness timetable. The app is a perfect fit, allowing members to select only the classes they are interested in, auto 30 minute reminders before each class begins and optional sync to the native phone calendar allowing for custom reminders.
The business sales process is;
(1.) Business Event data uploaded to the app (e.g. group fitness timetable) from website or published source.
(2.) Business markets the app directly to its customers (e.g. gym members) through a link on their website / Facebook
(3.) Business event based data is largely stable (e.g. minimal changes every 3 months) resulting in low overheads rolling data forward.
The point of difference is the app is free to business and a paid subscription service to the end user. Business is experiencing fatigue in footing the bill to provide free services to the end user. When.Is? is offered as a transparent tool the business can brand as their own to promote products and services through the in-stream advertising feature on the notifications page.
The app is an end user subscription service priced at $2.99USD. The subscription period is set at 6 months reflecting the rotation in sports and hence the feed of new event data.
This pricing model directly targets the members of small community clubs and sporting groups who are looking for a free tool for notifying members of event dates, times, changes and cancellations. The app is free to the club and fragments the cost to the end user who is highly motivated to purchase.
The subscription fee is not a cost consideration for business as;
(1.) The app contains 1000’s of events and as such may have been purchased by the user at an earlier time. In this case, the user can add the business events free of charge.
(2.) The business can choose to rebate customers for the cost of the subscription if they view this as an impediment.
(3.) The perception that a free app is technically shallow and disposable.
We are seeking funding to maintain the live servers and establish the date stream.
How the funds will be used
1. Expenditure (live environment server costs) and revenue (subscriptions) are anticipated to breakeven within 12 months based on the conservative estimates – 4 new business clients each week @ 25 downloads per business.
Week 1 – 100 new subscriptions @ $1.50 = $150 (Subscriptions $150:Server $225:Total-$75)
Week 26 – 100 new subscriptions @ $1.50 = $75 (Subscriptions $150:Server $225:Total-$1950)
Week 27 – 100 new subscriptions@ $1.50 + 100 renewals @ $2.25 = $375 (Subscriptions $375:Server $225:Total-$1800)
Week 40 – 100 new subscriptions@ $1.50 + 100 renewals @ $2.25 = $375 (Subscriptions $375:Server $225:Total $150)
2. Sales to business costs such as expenses normally associated with remote and onsite sales meetings. To achieve the targets above, 4 new business customers are required each week.
3. Development of features that were deemed non-essential for release to market. These features are fundamental to the app’s operation however, financial constraints dictate a return on investment at the earliest time. Version 2.8 is a strong starting position and increased market share will depend on how innovative the app remains. We have so many cool features planned such as using the camera/OCR to strip the data from the paper rosters (the emails you get from your club organiser) into the app and a purpose built partner app When.Is? Admin that manages your events from the mobile device. The design specifications for these features have been fully documented and are ready for implementation.
Some of my other work
1. Millennium School Administration System – Greenfield development within a highly competitive market capturing over 10% of the secondary public school market within 4 years.
2. Australian National Chemistry Quiz – Conversion of an international paper based quiz run in 14 countries in South East Asia/Australia/New Zealand to an online platform.
3. Director – Horizon Technologies Pty Ltd
I am currently working on web-scrap algorithms that scan the source code of a webpage, identify date formats, rescan immediate proximity strings to determine relevance (the difference between a date and an event). Once the scan passes the reliability threshold, the complete string is captured and separated for processing into the data stream. Only with this technology will it be possible to capture every event in the world. There are an abundance of sites (e.g. Wikipedia) that already contain reliable event data – it is just a matter of accurate retrieval.