1 02, 2014

How Flappy Bird accidentally went viral

By |February 1st, 2014|Apps, iOS, Marketing|2 Comments|

If you haven’t heard, the latest bird game to hit the top of the App Store is Flappy Bird.  I saw this game at #1 for numerous days in a row and had to figure out what was going on.  One guy even goes as far as to say that the developer is using bots to fuel all the downloads for the app.  He just doesn’t understand the mechanism that is fueling this extremely rapid growth.

Here is one of the latest charts showing Flappy Bird’s crazy growth. After months of nearly no downloads, it jumped and out of nowhere surged to the top of the App Store.

Flappy Bird number downloads


What Flappy Bird is NOT doing

Ad Spend - According to the developer, he has spent no money on any advertising for Flappy Bird.  Many of the top games in the App Store such as Candy Crush or Clash of Clans have a 5 or 6 figure daily advertising budget.

Cross-Promotion – Flappy Bird is doing no cross-promotion with other successful apps in the App Store.  One technique of driving growth for apps is to link to other companies apps and they link back to you in turn growing both of your user bases. Flappy Bird doesn’t do this.

Social Sharing Buttons - Flappy bird does not employ any sharing features within the app itself.

Marketing of any kind – According to the developer, he just got “lucky”.  Well, lucky is good and all but it doesn’t help other developers to figure out how they can replicate these techniques and make more money.

So why is Flappy Bird #1 in the App Store??

Alright, so to explain how Flappy Bird has had such unbelievable growth in the past few months, you need to understand a bit about [...]

5 01, 2014

My Lending Club Filters

By |January 5th, 2014|Interesting Stuff, Investing|0 Comments|

In my last post about Lending Club, I talked about how I built a lending club bot to autoinvest in loans so I didn’t have to do it manually.  Here, I’ll be telling you how the bot actually makes a decision about what types of loans to invest in.

Look at historical data

There is loads of historical data available on past Lending Club loans and there are even sites that have aggregated this data and built tools around analyzing it. My favorite of these sites is Nickel Steamroller. You can individually look at various criteria such as loan purpose, loan length, employment length, home ownership, etc and see the historical performance of notes.

What criteria to look for

So, there are 2 crucial components to look at when trying to figure out what kinds of loans to invest in: 1) the historical ROI (return on investment) and 2) the total number of loans that have been funded.  Look for loans that have high historical ROIs and a large number of loans that are funded. If there isn’t a large number of loans funded, it is not a large enough sample size to make a good bet on if future loans will perform well.

lending club stats


If you take a look at the data above, it shows the historical data on loans based on the type of home ownership the person has. If you take a look at ownership type none, the ROI is really high and around 12.19% but there have only been 50 loans of that type funded meaning the data isn’t meaningful enough to actually bet on the performance of future notes.

The Criteria I use

I don’t mind taking a decent amount of risk on the notes that I invest in, [...]

6 12, 2013

Why you should attend conferences

By |December 6th, 2013|Interesting Stuff, iOS|2 Comments|

I just came back from San Francisco yesterday afternoon after attending a conference called AppNation at the Moscone Center. I live in Las Vegas so it takes a bit of work to get up there. With the cost and time involved with traveling, why even attend conferences?

appnation conference


This is probably the most important reason that I attend conferences. I recently heard Tony Hsieh speak in Downtown Las Vegas on what he believes to be one of the most important components to living in a city, collisions. His definition of a collision is whenever there is an interaction between people. He believes that by increasing the amount of collisions that occur on a daily basis, you can maximize fortuitous chance encounters. When 2 people come together that have formerly never interacted, there can be an exchange of ideas and thoughts that has a compounding effect that can really enhance a product someone is building or anything that someone is working on.  By attending a conference in your field, you are essentially increasing the chance of colliding with someone that works in the same problem domain as you everyday. They can share ideas & tips that can dramatically enhance your product or shorten your learning curve.

Idea Exchange + Compounding

Following the idea of collisions, the exchange of ideas with other people at conferences can have powerful compounding effects with your own ideas. While attending the conference, I heard an employee of Uber talking about how Uber is really a Supply & Demand marketplace. In my mind, I had previously just associated the company Uber with being a luxury car service. However, I have predefined definitions of supply and demand in my mind, so when I hear that said, my mind begins whirring about [...]

26 11, 2013

App Store Screenshots – Boosting Downloads

By |November 26th, 2013|iOS, Marketing|0 Comments|

After releasing numerous apps to the App Store and having had some that have flopped and some that have crushed it, I have learned what works and what doesn’t in terms of App Store Screenshots. Here are a few strategies I use when creating screenshots. This is Part 3 of a set of 3 posts on how to improve your App Store presence. You can also check out part 1: how to write a download boosting app store description and part 2: how to make a killer app icon.

Why App Store Screenshots matter more than ever

Since the release of iOS 6, Apple has redesigned the app store search results so that instead of having results show up as a list, search results now show up 1 at a time and show the first screenshot. This has dramatically changed the way app discovery works and it is important to know that it is there and to take advantage of it.

iOS 5 App Store Screenshot          iOS 7 App Store Screenshot             
Since an entire screenshot shows up whenever someone searches for your app, this means your first App Store screenshot is more important than ever.

Strategy #1: Select your screenshots that highlight key features

This may seem like something simple, but have your App Store screenshots highlight the most impressive features in your app. If there is heavy competition for your app, highlight the features in your app that make it different.

Strategy #2 : Communicate anything that may not be immediately obvious

There are times when you have a feature in your app that is hard to describe just by an organic screenshot from your app. In these cases, place additional text on the [...]

30 10, 2013

Made some new business cards

By |October 30th, 2013|Design, Interesting Stuff|0 Comments|

Being a app developer, I don’t really have as much of a need for a business card as people do in other businesses. Occasionally, I have found that they would be helpful to have though, so I decided to design some.

When I decided to make it, I wanted something that was clean and would stand out. I decided to have my name fairly large in embossed foiled lettering. Here is the result, let me know what you think.

my business card

I had these printed from Morning Print and have to say those guys are fantastic.


29 10, 2013

How to Make a Killer App Icon

By |October 29th, 2013|iOS, Marketing|1 Comment|

Over the past few years in the App Store, I’ve had apps that have varied from extremely poor performance to chart topping performance with millions of downloads. One of the key factor’s to an app’s success is the app icon. There are several attributes that I have found generally lead to more downloads. I will also show you how to find the best icon designers in the world. This is the Part 2 of a 3 part series on how to optimize your app store presence. You can also check out how to write a good App Store description.

Icon Styles

I believe the best way to learn is by example, so I will start this post by showing you some of the best icons in the App Store.


Candy-Crush App icon   Clash-of-clans    Game-of-war

These 3 icons are from some of the highest grossing games in the App Store. As of this posting, Candy Crush is #1, Clash of Clans is #2, and Game of War is #4.

An interesting thing to note about Candy Crush and Clash of Clans is that they both have an icon border and have a 3 dimensional component where the subject of the icon overlaps the border. This really causes the icon to pop out and get more attention. The other important thing to notice is that the subject of the icon is huge and occupies most of the icon.

What is interesting about Clash of Clans and Game of War is that they are copying each other. The angle of the face, the expression, even going down to the saliva that is sticking between the bottom and top of their mouths. This is important [...]

22 10, 2013

I built a Lending Club bot

By |October 22nd, 2013|Interesting Stuff, Investing|15 Comments|

Since, I haven’t posted on here in a while, you probably didn’t even know that I was using Lending Club, but now you know!

What is Lending Club?

I’ll give  you a brief intro on Lending Club if you are unfamiliar. Lending Club is a site that facilitates peer to peer lending.  Here is a common loan story on lending club:

John has got himself into a situation where he owes a lot of money at high interest rates on his credit cards. He has decided that he wants to take control of his life and pay off his credit card debt, but a bank won’t give him a loan to pay it off. He goes online to Lending Club and requests a loan from his peers that is much lower than the interest rate on his credit cards. His online peers can choose to invest in his loan in increments as small as $25. He pays off all his credit cards and now only has 1 monthly payment to Lending Club at a lower interest rate than he previously had.

peer to peer

This is a very common situation on Lending Club, but people can actually get loans for all kinds of reasons such as home improvement, starting a business, etc.

So what is this bot for?

Anyway, Lending Club has grown in popularity over the past few years since I started investing. Large institutional investors have started dumping millions of dollars into these loans and have started acquiring the best loans as soon as they are available for investors to put money in. Since the loans were getting snatched up so quickly, I was left with all of the loans that historically performed the worst. (I will have to write another post on how to [...]

21 10, 2013

App Descriptions – 5 Secrets to Boosting Downloads

By |October 21st, 2013|iOS, Marketing|0 Comments|

If you’re reading this, you’ve probably discovered that writing a good App Description can be hard!

There are really 3 things you want your app store description to do:

  1. Convert
  2. Convert
  3. Convert

This post will explain the 5 secrets on how to write an app description that actually converts!

This is the first of 3 posts that I will be writing on the App Store that will cover your App Store presence and how to get people to actually download your app after seeing it in the store.

First of all, I wanted to say that I am going to be presenting the 5 secrets of an app description that I have personally found that actually lead to more users downloading an app. I will be teaching by example of apps that have all received millions of downloads or have been ranked in the top charts.

1.  Social Proof

One of the best ways to persuade new users to download your app is to tell them about all the other people currently using it. Hearing about others using it makes it psychologically much easier to believe that the app is really good.

Here are some good examples of what I am talking about:

“Over 3,000,000 people trust Private Photo Vault to keep their photos hidden.

Top 100 Photography App in USA, Korea, Japan, Taiwan, India, Italy, Finland, UK, South Africa, Egypt, Mexico, Malaysia, Australia, Hong Kong, France, Ireland, Germany and many more countries.”

Private Photo Vault

App Description

 “#1 Top Paid App on the App Store

Downloaded and used by millions including Starbucks, ABCFamily, UFC, A-list celebrities, teachers, bloggers (fashion, fitness, food) and Instagrammers ALL around the world.”



If you are just launching your app, you won’t really have the ability to list all of the other people using this app. You’ll want [...]

11 10, 2012

iOS 6 UIPasteboard setImages and setImage

By |October 11th, 2012|iOS, Tutorials|1 Comment|

The iOS6 sdk has some changes to it. Along with these changes come changes to the UIPasteboard. One thing is the UIPasteboard now handles most images as NSData.

Here is my solution to accessing and setting images in the UIPasteBoard.

Accessing Images:

for (NSObject* obj in [UIPasteboard generalPasteboard].images) {
if ([obj isKindOfClass:[NSData class]]) {
UIImage* img = [[UIImage alloc] initWithData:(NSData*)obj];
} else if ([obj isKindOfClass:[UIImage class]]) {
UIImage* img = (UIImage*)obj;

I saw in a comment that setImages: is not functional, here is a fix:

Setting Images:

for (UIImage* img in myImagesArray) {
NSData* imageData = UIImageJPEGRepresentation(img, 1);
NSMutableDictionary *item = [NSMutableDictionary dictionary];
[item setValue:imageData forKey:(NSString*)kUTTypeJPEG];
[[UIPasteboard generalPasteboard] addItems:[NSArray arrayWithObject:item]];

21 09, 2012

Three20 iOS 6 Rotation

By |September 21st, 2012|iOS|4 Comments|

Today, I was working on updating one of my apps for the iPhone 5 and after dealing with iOS 6. I realized my view controllers weren’t rotating. All that was required was simply adding this line after the TTNavigator had been setup.

[[[UIApplication sharedApplication] keyWindow] setRootViewController:[[TTNavigator navigator] rootViewController]];

This is due to the changes in the ViewController rotation API in iOS 6. A rootviewcontroller must be set for the main window of the application.

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