Interesting Stuff

Riding Waves – Making a Pokemon Go Map App

By |September 4th, 2016|

TLDR: Made a Pokémon Go Map app and received over 300,000 downloads in the first week

I was on vacation in Big Bear Lake, California for the 4th of July when the latest and greatest Pokémon game was released, Pokémon Go. Pokémon Go was the first official Nintendo licensed app for iPhone and Android, so it was a pretty big deal. It wound up having one of the best game launches of all time and receiving international press attention.

gogoMapsIconRounded

Deciding to make an app

On one of the first days, it occurred to me that if I wanted to take advantage of the hype of Pokémon Go, I’d have to do it now. The App Store search engines work by giving apps that have a lot of downloads, high usage, and ratings high search engine positioning for keyword searches. So, I knew if I wanted to get ranked for any Pokémon Go search terms, I’d have a small window of time before other apps were occupying that same space.

For the next couple days, I figured out what kind of app I would make and got to work. I read that the company that created Pokémon Go previously made a similar game where they got all the Gym and Pokéstop locations from. I looked into it to see if I could easily scrape that data to make it available in a map app. However, the data was not trivially easy to scrape so I rejected that idea since time was critical. I settled on making a map app that would crowd-source Pokémon Gym, Pokéstop, and Pokémon locations. I pre-loaded roughly 5,000 points of interest that I found on other locations around the internet.

There were a few delays: driving [...]

I Launched on Android Years Late

By |April 7th, 2015|

So, just yesterday, I launched the Android version of Private Photo Vault (you can download it here).  Private Photo Vault was originally launched in February of 2011, so releasing it 4 years later is an extremely long period of time to wait to launch an Android version, especially in the software world.

Looking back, I can’t come up with any good reason that I didn’t launch on Android earlier (I was in college for a good percentage of that time though). Regardless, now that the product is released, I am immediately realizing the problem of launching late.

ASO

Showing up in app store’s search results is crucial for getting organic downloads. Upon launching Private Photo Vault yesterday, the app shows up as the 40th result when searching “Private Photo Vault” while Google Play is auto-predicting my app’s iOS name in the search results because people search for my app’s name on Google.  This is a huge problem as people who are looking specifically for Private Photo Vault and not those 40 other apps can’t find it. They will likely download a competitor because they won’t scroll through all 40 of the other apps.

Most app store algorithms work by looking at number of downloads, number of reviews, app engagement, and keywords. Since number of downloads and number of reviews are highly correlated with the length of time the product has been in the store, older apps will perform better and it is difficult to move your way up.

Competitors Move Ahead

While I had one the earliest products on iOS to allow users to password protect photos, my product is not novel on Android. There are many competitors on Android that have well established positions. Being forced to move ahead these competitors will probably take significant effort/money.

I feel fairly foolish for waiting [...]

My Lending Club Filters

By |January 5th, 2014|

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 [...]

Why you should attend conferences

By |December 6th, 2013|

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

Collisions

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 [...]

Made some new business cards

By |October 30th, 2013|

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.

 

I built a Lending Club bot

By |October 22nd, 2013|

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 [...]

Most Frequently Occurring Words in the Bible

By |January 17th, 2012|

I just recently had to write a program in my systems programming class to find the most frequently occurring words in any text file. After writing the program, I needed to test the program with some fairly large input, so I downloaded a copy of the bible.

My results:

The top 50 words and their occurrences (out of 13262 unique words) are:

64926 the
52167 and
35312 of
14048 to
13229 that
12891 in
10517 he
9851 shall
9130 for
9041 unto
8868 i
8563 his
8438 a
7990 lord
7490 they
7188 be
7119 is
6727 not
6695 him
6514 them
6300 it
6099 with
5672 all
5475 thou
4607 was
4606 thy
4531 god
4491 which
4372 my
4102 me
4077 but
4037 their
4008 said
3988 ye
3969 have
3865 will
3833 thee
3702 from
3661 as
3006 are
2869 when
2854 this
2837 were
2805 out
2793 upon
2761 man
2754 by
2625 you
2581 israel
2557 king

The program is written in c and runs quite quickly, taking about a third of a second to run on my 2.53Ghz Core 2 Duo.

Minecraft Creations

By |June 3rd, 2011|

Recently, in my computer science class, we had to create a data structure for minecraft blocks. Using this data structure, I have developed some pretty cool looking shapes.

Grandma Shuts Down the Internet, lol

By |April 24th, 2011|

This article is really funny. A lady digging for scrap metal apparently hit some fiber optic cables that were providing internet to all Armenia. As a result, most of Armenia had no internet for approximately 12 hours.

Check out the story here.

 

Ruby On Rails

By |March 7th, 2011|

I am currently learning how to development using Ruby on Rails.  I have been using the book Ruby on Rails 3 Tutorial and it is fantastic. Pretty sure, you will be seeing many new web apps added to my portfolio.

If you want to know some more about Ruby on Rails, check out this website.