The cost of not releasing your first Android app

Some of you need more motivation than others, so I’d like to make a case for why you should create and release an Android or other mobile app immediately.  Not next year, not when you get around to it, but RIGHT NOW.

There are lots of ways you can get delayed.  You can get busy for a while and never get back to the project.  You can lose motivation or belief that the app could succeed.  Maybe you get frustrated by unexpected challenges and progress becomes stalled.

Or, perhaps you’re the ultimate planner and are working out all of the details before you get started.  This can be the biggest sinkhole of all – you can always do more research, and forestall releasing your app yet another day.

The cost of waiting

There’s a hidden cost in waiting, however.  It’s not just missed days of your app being available to buy or download.  The problem is also that you continue to move forward without the valuable lessons that you will gain from releasing your first app.

If I had waited until I finished my great opus before releasing anything, I wouldn’t have any apps out yet.  My first app idea is still maturing, but in the mean time I have released a handful of apps of varying degrees of success.  Each one of them shapes what I realize I must do to make my big apps successful.

Also, there must be a point when you transition from planning to doing.  At a certain point, you can spend more time learning about and planning to do something than it would take to just do it.  Factor in the cost of your time, and it should be clear that you can’t just keep planning and researching.  Your time and money will be better spent building something.

The final problem is that motivation has a shelf life.  If you put your project on the back burner for too long, your enthusiasm may fade beyond recovery.  At that point, a project that you may have been able to do an amazing job with may be something you never return to finish.

What to release

Ostensibly, the only real cost of releasing your app is the $25 to become a registered developer with Google Play.  That lets you deploy as many Android apps as you please, with no renewal costs.  That’s downright cheap compared to the amount of your time you have likely spent building or planning your apps.

Of course, rushing to release your big idea could make it less successful.  I’m not suggesting that you do a rush job on your best idea.  I suggest that you pick an idea that you’re exited to do, but is as simple as possible.  The point is to finish this app and go through the full app life-cycle.

For me, getting that first Android app released into the wild and getting downloads was all the motivation I needed to take things things to the next level.

Posted in Android permalink

About ProjectJourneyman

I am a software engineer that escaped the cubicle world at a large company to go solo with Android app development. My attention to detail and quality applies both to my apps and to my research on how to make money with Android. Now that I have the freedom to work on my own projects, I am documenting my efforts in the hopes that it will help other current or aspiring independent Android developers get the income they desire.


The cost of not releasing your first Android app — 6 Comments

  1. This is a great article!

    I have to agree with you regarding the benefit to completing the full lifecyle of a product. This is exactly the approach I took myself. And now that my first app is on the market, there WILL be more to follow!


  2. Thanks, helped me convince my friend to _finally_ submit his game to the appstore, which he has been working on for a year 🙂

  3. Great article however it is hard to come up with a new attractive idea … I wonder if there is any good way to find an idea. Tx

    • Lots of ways to come up with a good idea… revolutionary ideas are harder to come by. I should post an article covering my suggestions in greater detail, but here’s some food for thought:
      1. What do you spend time doing on your phone that you would like to be easier or quicker?
      2. Is there an app or piece of software (yours or otherwise) on another platform that you could recreate for Android? (of course, don’t violate the copyright of others)
      3. Is there an open source app that you’d like to modify to work differently and release as a fork?

      I have many ideas for apps, and they mostly get written down and shoved into a folder. While many of them aren’t very good, I have a few that I am excited about. I consider what I’m excited about and then consider which ones are feasible to complete (since a million dollar idea won’t earn any money if I never release the app).