I’m mad and I don’t usually get this upset.
People can say they disagree with my blog posts, tell me it sucks, not like my apps at all, or not like me. I know I can’t please everyone.
But if someone accuse me of stealing and copying their app, writes me an email, leaves a comment on my blog post, and writes on her Facebook that she hopes she can watch karma pay me a visit, that’s crossing the line.
Screw the motto “Don’t worry. Be happy”. I can’t stand around and let it go.
In this post today, I’m going to reveal all about how I developed Gratitude 365. I know many of you are intersted in the behind scenes of it. Maybe it’ll help you develop your own idea.
However, it’s going to be about standing up for myself and disputing these this fetched, outlandish, crazy, ridiculous and flat out insane accusation.
She suggested I blog about my “tactics” so here I am. I have nothing to hide.
It’s my side of the story and let you decide who’s the crazy one.
Finally I’m going to share something lessons I’ve learned that you can take away.
Let’s Start with Last Night
I get an email to my gratitude account. It’s a very short comment and it just says “your tactics would make an excellent blog post.” With a smiley face and her name.
I recognize the name and the email address immediately (explain why later). I’m wondering “what the heck is she talking about??”
It was from another developer of a gratitude journal. Probably the most popular one. Then I did some clicking around and landed on her company Facebook page and it said this…
Really nice, right?
(Hey Melissa, look squirrel!)
Sorry to say but karma is too busy dealing with people who actually deserve it like people who don’t pick up their dog’s poop in your yard.
I added my own comment and link to let her 365 followers decide for themselves. (Anyone else see the irony with 365 followers? Gratitude 365? Hmmm)
But this morning it was removed and her friend, who is just as clueless, left a comment that made her dumber than a 5th grader. You can’t take anyone seriously that writes like that.
(Does anyone really say “lamo”? Maybe she wanted to call me a “lamp” but got autocorrected. Damn you autocorrect!!)
I guess that you are like the people you associate with the most.
I then came to my Gratitude 365 blog and noticed she left a comment!!
So she leaves her website for everyone to go check out. I decided not to remove her website in that comment because I have nothing to hide. If anyone came across it, and wanted to look for themselves, they would see zero design comparisons.
However, she deleted my app link on her Facebook page.
Who’s hiding now?
The Back Story
The reason I knew her name was because I stumbled upon her when I first learned the idea of outsourcing app work in late 2010. I had her gratitude journal app earlier in 2010. I remember I had it even before I decided that I wanted to develop apps. I just like the idea of keeping a gratitude journal.
Just like many apps, I stopped using hers not too long after I downloaded it. The cartoonish design and functionality didn’t make me want to use it every day. I did keep a gratitude journal with pen and paper in 2011. The app has been still been on my iPhone though.
I came across her website when I began to seriously think about app development and saw she had a book on outsourcing app development (which I wouldn’t recommend anymore). Since she had success doing this, I bought it, since I wanted to learn anything I could. The was in addition to the another ebook I had.
Fast forward to 2012.
In February 2012, I see an update for her app in the App store on my iPhone. So since I’m a customer already, it notified me of a new update. I opened it and noticed a complete redesign. Looked pretty nice. Used handwriting style to make it feel like a journal.
But when I played around with it, I didn’t like the new functions. I didn’t care for all the new features she added such as adding weather, my location, and changing the fonts to just name a few.
I wouldn’t want those things if I kept a gratitude journal.
I noticed too in the reviews in the app store that lots of people didn’t like it. Too much going on. Gave bad ratings and said they wanted the older version back. I agreed the older one was much better.
Entering the Market with a Different Approach
Since Photo 365 came out, I’ve been thinking about what’s another app I could do. Everyone kept asking me if I was doing more apps. I wanted to, but couldn’t come up with an idea.
The idea for Gratitude 365 didn’t happen at that moment of her update, but the following month I thought, “Why not enter the market place with something different? Do my own version of a gratitude app.”
I downloaded other gratitude apps in the store (and there are lots) and noticed they seemed to be popular. Read the reviews and people enjoyed them.
However, I felt like their designs were not that good at all, but functionality was more simple. Still had too many for my taste. Her app had a nice design, but too many bells and whistles.
So I decided on great design + simple app. I wanted the focus back on what you’re thankful for. To me, that’s the whole point of a gratitude journal.
Simple as that.
Starting the Work
I used the same team that worked on Photo 365. They did a great job with the design and features on that one. Worked started in late March 2012. In April I got the first designs back.
Looked like how I drew my wireframe, but they also added in their creativity to the layout.
A couple weeks later in April 2012, the next design update came. It looks very similar to what’s in the App store now.
I wanted it to feel like they were writing on notebook paper. They did a great job conveying that.
The app was supposed to be done in May. Then delays came and soon it was July and the app wasn’t ready. The whole app was done. Features all included.
The only problem were fixing the bugs. This was a frustrating time for me because I didn’t want to wait. The waiting sucked.
The team were slow to fixing them, probably cause they had other projects to work on and this was running longer than expected.
Signed Up as a Beta Tester. Why Not?
Sometime in July 2012, I see an email from my inbox. It’s from the other gratitude journal developer asking for beta testers for her next update. I don’t remember being on her list, but maybe I signed up two years ago on her website or it was on the list cause I purchased her ebook.
I don’t recall any other emails from her before that.
I didn’t see the harm in signing up. It’s right there asking me with a link to click on. She was using a service called Testflightapp.com, which is very common for developers because it easily lets people test out your app for problems.
From what I remember she was fixing errors and adding some new features. That’s what she needed testers for. To test it out on their device and report back with any problems they had.
No resign. Nothing different from looking at the app in the App store. Same old stuff.
So I downloaded the beta and tried it out. I remember it feeling exactly like the version that came out in February. Didn’t notice anything different. I tried it out for a minute and then closed it.
I didn’t report back any bugs and that’s normal. When I had beta testers for Photo 365 for an update, I had 30 people signed up, but only five gave me any feedback.
I’ve been a beta tester for other apps and have seen follow up emails from the developer saying no one has given feedback yet and please do.
So it’s common to have people sign up, but not say anything.
What I saw in the beta, in the short time, look exactly the same in terms of design as you would see as a paying customer of her app.
So curiosity took over and that’s why i signed up for testing.
I didn’t act like I was James Bond and steal intelligence nor drink a martini while doing it (though I could really use a drink now).
Here Comes the Finger Pointing
That brings us back to last night when I saw the email, Facebook comment, and blog comment.
I almost didn’t want to respond to such false bull**** in her email. I was going to let her think what she wanted. However, after I saw karma coming after me and her blog comment, I had to say something.
I wrote a long reply telling her a summary of what I’ve told you here.
(Note: In the blog comment, she specifically said “stole my design”. In the Facebook status says “copied her app”. In the status update, it could mean copying her features or design, which I didn’t do. I have no idea. But I sense she means mine is a total rip off of hers.)
I explained to her, like I did here publicly, why I was on the beta list.
Sure it doesn’t “look” good, but the beta list isn’t anything exclusive. Anyone who signed up just saw maybe some new small features. No new design at all. Nothing super secretive. At least I didn’t see anything in the minute I used the app.
If something was so secretive, you wouldn’t recruit strangers to help you test it. You’d ask friends and family that you know.
I wasn’t testing out the next big app like Instragram or Angry Birds. Come on.
What I saw in this beta, you could pay 99 cents and download it in the App store anyways.
I certainly didn’t steal any design from her. I don’t know why she thinks that.
I think she believes because I was on the beta, I quickly gathered my resources to come out with an app that came out before her update was released.
The time frame would have been less than a month!!
If only my apps could have been done in just one month!! Oh I wish that was possible with Gratitude 365 and Photo 365. Both took 5-7 months actually.
Little did she know I had the idea already back in March, and final look was done by May already. I took NOTHING. ZERO. ZILCH.
Being a beta tester means nothing, in my opinion, since nothing earth shattering was being revealed.
You Judge Yourself
Okay so you want to see what all the fuss is about. Take a look for yourself. Her screenshot is on top. Mine is on the bottom.
Remember she’s saying I “stole her design”.
Hey look! It’s another gratitude app which was created in May 2012. I wonder if she contacted them about stealing her design as well.
I show you that one because ideas will be duplicated. We all have a calendar. We all have daily entries.We all have list. That’s where the similarities end.
If you dig deeper into each app, you’ll know that each one functions differently.
I did my app my own way. How I’d want it to be as a user.
Honestly, I don’t need to know today’s weather, or have my iPhone tag my location (today’s gratitude was written in the bathroom).
Some people like it. I don’t.
Her design is more fancy with the handwriting style. Mine is more modern.
How many apps are there that let you add filters to your photos? Tons
How many apps help you take panoramic photos? Lots
How many apps let you keep a daily journal? Many
My point is ideas will be done again.
I know there will be more gratitude apps. In fact I got this email from Karol Gajda the day I launched Gratitude 365. (Read from the bottom up)
Did I freak out? Did I convince him to stop? No way.
I thought that was funny. It’s going to happen with any business idea and especially in the App store. I know Karol will make it his own style, and it’s up to the buyer to decide which one they like.
I always tell people who email me that look for competition in the App store when developing an app. That’s a good sign. Karol is a fan of writing gratitudes and probably looked and noticed competition. He’s a smart entrepreneur.
I had to ask around
I knew 100% in my heart, I didn’t steal or copy anything. But I wanted to ask other people. I’m too close to this situation so of course that’s what I believed.
I turned to my app development group I’m a part of on Facebook and my Twitter followers. I knew they’d be honest with me. Here are their responses and really great insight to the situation.
Thanks to you guys on Twitter for taking the time to chime in as well.
Mars Dorian summed it up well. Her style and my style aren’t even close.
I wanted to hear from developers so I’m glad Kyle gave me his thoughts. He develops awesome games like Wordstack, which you should check out. He knows about people trying to do similar apps like him.
What I Learned and You Should Too From This
1) Some people are crazy. I believe she saw my app in the same category, wondered who this new app was ranking higher than hers, did some research and contacted me. She assumed I stole secret info from her beta testing.
For a long time I know she had the most popular gratitude app, and now maybe can’t accept the fact that someone else came along. She can’t stand to see competition. I can’t rationalize any other way for her to think my app copied her and hoped bad things would happen to me.
2) If you’re developing apps, you can borrow another idea. Ideas have been done over and over. What matters is how you execute that idea.
There’s Coke and Pepsi. Wal-Mart and Target. McDonald’s and Burger King. The television show “LOST” and every crappy copycat that came along afterwards.
Same idea, all executed differently.
As long you don’t blatantly copy, you should be okay.
3) Stand up for yourself. I know in the past Pat Flynn at Smart Passive Income has had doubters question if he really makes that much money online. One guy even criticized the shirt he wore in his videos. Huh?
He knows 100% what he doing is legit and felt like he had to stand up for himself. The internet is full of people who go around and say stupid things to just piss you off, but sometimes you can’t just stand back and let that person attack your character and how you do business.
Like I said, you can not like my writing. You can not like my apps. You can not like me. I can’t disagree with your opinion. However, don’t accuse me of something that isn’t true.
4) When you do things honestly from the beginning, you’ll have nothing to hide. That includes making sales and how you conduct your business. The same can be applied to your life. Don’t be dishonest.
Don’t make guarantees you can’t deliver. The only things guaranteed in life are death, taxes, and stupid people on the internet.
When someone accuses you of something, you won’t use more lies to cover your tracks. You know in deep down inside (or when hooked up to a polygraph) that you’re telling to truth.
5) Just laugh about it. After awhile when something so ridiculous is said about you, you just have to laugh at it. I imagine Hollywood celebrities must laugh at the tabloid headlines sometimes because they’re so ridiculous.
I started this post pretty upset, but by the end have been able to laugh about it.
6) Let them waste their time hoping you fail. When you have success, you’re going to find people who secretly or not so secretly post it on their Facebook. If that’s how they spend their time and attention, then that’s their problem. If someone hopes you fail, then go out and prove them wrong.
What Do You Think?
If you were in this situation, how would you have handled it? This is all new for me so I’d love to hear your thoughts.
Most importantly, do you believe I “stole her design”? Do we look like Barbie twins?
If I’m right, please leave a comment and show your support!