Is It Safe To Come Out?

September 17, 2006

I think the big rush of the last couple of weeks as finally calmed down. On the one hand, I expected to be busy, but it was a surprise how well the MacZOT promotion worked out.

The way it came about was a little haphazard. After months of wondering what to do next with my business, I decided to revive KIT. It had been mostly neglected for over a year thanks to the success of Feeder. I felt, with the things I know now, I could make KIT the success it should have been originally. It’s a long process, but had to start somewhere.

This first step meant spending a month bringing the old version up-to-date: revamping the interface, adding some essential new features and revisiting the whole app to make it work better. I wasn’t sure how well this would be received, but after launching the revamp seemed to do the trick.

KIT starting gaining regular sales again, nothing spectacular – it is the sort of app that people like when they see it, but don’t know to look for it. My plan for step two was to feature it on MacZOT for a day after sorting out the inevitable problems with the new release, but instead MacZOT came looking for me. I told them my aim was maximum exposure for KIT.

I was asked if I would be willing to try something different and I agreed. I didn’t know what this would be until the day it was announced. MacZOT would run a week-long StoryZOT, where a developer’s story would be featured every day, while a special bundle of an unknown quantity of apps was offered for $5.95. I wrote my story, it was long and got converted into an interview. Kinda cheesy, but whatever.

This infuriated regular ZOT customers, as they didn’t know what was in the bundle, didn’t have high hopes of anything decent or new (facts such as this were dribbled out as the week progressed) but it kept them hooked. I didn’t know what was in the bundle either and, sharing similar concerns, didn’t push to find out. Other things were happening during the week – Jack died – and I didn’t have enough time to get my bug release out.

By the Friday, with all stories told, it was leaked to TUAW that one of the applications was KIT and this story made it onto the front page of Digg. I had nothing to do with this; it created an absolute frenzy on the MacZOT discussion blog and, before too long, my support inbox.

My site was hit with 20x its usual traffic (without a murmur, I should add, I have superb hosting) and on Saturday all the apps were revealed. I was really happy about the bundle – all the apps were great – I was even happier that KIT appeared to be the star of the show, but with over 1,500 copies sold in a single day I knew what was coming next.

I was absolutely buried in emails: bug reports, feature requests and sometimes just compliments. I worked pretty much around the clock trying to keep these down and get the bugs fixed. I thought it would calm down by the weekend when I released that version, but, silly me, releases just bring more exposure and triggered the second avalanche.

So: more working around the clock, literally every hour of the day, and by yesterday I think I’d shifted it all and am now back to a normal level of backlog. But boy, am I exhausted.

So there you go, KIT now has users, many of whom are really buzzed about the product. It’s ready to launch into the future the way I had always hoped and the plans I have for it are extremely cool and could benefit from any and all buzz. I just have to continue work the thing, if you know what I mean.

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