We were intrigued about how Christian found niche success with a specific group of highly demanding users, as well as how he balances work on his own projects with freelance projects for clients. He was awesome enough to grant us a little interview, where we grilled him on marketing strategies, negative user feedback, and what apps he’s been loving as of late.
Last week’s interview: Liam Spradlin, Mobile UI/UX Designer (Focus, Nova Launcher, AllCast, Today Calendar)
Appszoom: You’ve been working independently on your own app projects for nearly three years now, but you’ve also got experience as a Hired Gun – that is, as a hirable freelance dev. What’s been easier? What’s been more challenging?
Christian Göllner: Both challenge you in different ways, I’m not sure if one is easier than the other.
When working alone, you can make all the decisions that you feel are correct, without having to worry if the team approves it, and therefore move forward more quickly. On the other hand, having to think about everything on your own can be challenging and lead to mistakes that would have been easily avoided with multiple people thinking about it.
When working in a team, it’s easier to plan, define priorities and to make sure you’re going in the right direction.
I like to do both!
CG: Google+ has been working really well for me in the past years. It has a really big community of Android enthusiasts, who share your work if it’s good.
All of the Android bloggers are on Google+ as well, and if they happen to like your work, they might write about it, which is definitely a huge marketing help for indie developers.
Need to get the word out? The Indie Dev’s Crash Course Guide To Mobile PR
AZ: You recently hit over 1M downloads for Flashify (congrats!!). What’s been key for you in terms of generating installs?
CG: Thank you! I think most of the installs are thanks to the XDA Developers forums, which have a huge community of users with rooted devices. People over there started using the app, and they spread the word about it. The app is now mentioned in lots of threads and starting guides for rooted users.
AZ: You’ve also netted an exceptional percentage of five-star reviews on the Play Store. Any tips for getting positive feedback from happy users?
CG: In order to get positive feedback, there is nothing more important than having a product that meets the user’s needs, and that also makes it easy for them to do so.
Flashify, for example, allows you do things with just a few taps on the screen that would usually require you to use a computer, USB cable, downloading correct files, and then typing some difficult commands into the console.
AZ: What strategy do you take for dealing with negative user feedback?
CG: I try to understand the user’s point of view and fix the problem if possible. I don’t take negative feedback very hard or personally. I’m already pretty used to getting negative feedback.
Every app always has bugs and issues, and it’s normal to not please everyone. The important part is to trying to learn from all feedback, good or bad.
AZ: What current projects are on your plate?
CG: I would say that the personal project that I have been working the most on is Unclouded. It is a cloud explorer that shows you much more information about your files than the main cloud apps.
AZ: Let’s look at Unclouded: tell me about how you identified the need for a better cloud explorer. Did you do any research with actual users at any point during the devving process? How did you decide which features to include? What advantage does it offer over the most popular cloud apps?
CG: The need basically comes from myself. All of the apps that I already created were because I needed them for myself.
Basically my Dropbox was totally full, with about 200 thousand files, and I had no idea which were the biggest folders, or which were the overall biggest files. I needed a better to way to find out how to clean my cloud storage. I didn’t do any research with users and went straight into development. Again, the features that I implemented were all to help me better understand what’s eating my cloud storage.
The most popular cloud apps are basically just regular file explorers. Unclouded has some advantages over those. For example it allows you to order your folders by size, and see how much space they’re using. Another main advantage is that you can find duplicates!
Other advantages would be instant file search, and automatic categorisation of files (Images, Music, Videos, etc).
AZ: What apps have you been digging on recently?
CG: These days I’m a pretty boring user and don’t explore many different apps. I mainly use my own apps, and the standard apps for social media, reading news, music, videos, movies, pictures and maps.
Maybe one app worth mentioning that I’ve been enjoying is Lumosity. It’s a “brain coach” that trains your memory, attention, cognitive abilities, and more.
Christian Göllner is the freelance Android dev behind Flashify, Unclouded, and System Monitor. He’s also available for hire. Give him a ping on Twitter (@goellner88) or Google Plus (+ChristianGollner) to get in touch.