This week's interview will be with Brendan Duddridge from ClickSpace Technologies Inc.
First, please take a moment to introduce yourself and ClickSpace Technologies
I'm Brendan Duddridge from ClickSpace Technologies Inc. I started ClickSpace Technologies in 1996 as a consulting company. But in 1998 I started another company with a friend from high school. We called it ClickSpace Interactive Inc. In 2004 we started another company called Shop To It Inc (www.shoptoit.ca). It's a comparison shopping search engine for Canadian retailers and consumers. I am the CTO of Shop To It in the day time. At night and on the weekends, I work on Tap Forms for my own company.
What is your role at the ClickSpace Technologies
I am the founder and president of ClickSpace Technologies and the only developer of Tap Forms.
What is the size of the ClickSpace Technologies and would you want to introduce others?
It's just me.
What is the Idea of the ClickSpace Technologies's business (self publishing, services, etc)?
Currently ClickSpace Technologies is the business arm of Tap Form developing iPhone apps.
What platforms do you develop for?
Only for the iOS platform.
How many Apps have you/ClickSpace Technologies published
I've published 2 apps so far. One is Tap Forms, which I publish under ClickSpace Technologies. The other is the Shop To It app which I obviously published for Shop To It. I also worked on a 3rd app called Mark's reStyle for a clothing retailer here in Canada called Mark's Work Wearhouse.
What was your flagship app that you think brought you/ClickSpace Technologies to the limelight?
Well, since Tap Forms was my first app, I think it's definitely Tap Forms. It's been downloaded by hundreds of thousands of users and is doing quite well in the App Stores all around the world.
Which is your favourite app amongst all your apps?
Tap Forms is so feature rich, it's obviously Tap Forms. But the ShopToIt app has some really cool stuff in there for Shoppers. There's a deal finder that aggregates deals from hundreds of deal engines. There's over 10 million products in our database, and you can scan the bar codes on products to help you find the best deals on the items you're shopping for.
What is your favourite app that you have not created?
I have so many, it's hard to pick just one, so I'll just list a few. My most used app is probably Facebook, but I love FieldRunners and also Fruit Ninja.
What is your favourite device (Computer & Phone) and why?
I'm a Mac guy through and through and by extension, an iPhone user. I currently use a MacBook Pro for everything. I also have an iPhone 4, an iPad and an iPad 2.
Can you tell us a little bit more about your favourite app?
If I were to pick one from above, I'd say Fruit Ninja. I love how you can just pick it up any time fo the day or night and have a real-time multi-player game with anyone in the world. Plus it's a very simple concept game, yet still quite challenging.
What was the inspiration for the app?
My inspiration for Tap Forms was basically a need for a comprehensive customizable mobile database app. I really needed something that I could use to get rid of my big fat wallet. It was loaded with all kinds of loyalty cards, frequent flyer cards, insurance cards, etc. So I really needed something to let me get rid of all that stuff. When the iPhone first came out, Apple provided you with just about every app you'd really need to get going, except for a database type app. That's why I decided to build Tap Forms.
What are the main categories your apps are in? (Games/Utilities/etc)
Do you advertise for any apps you have published? What was the outcome/results?
I've advertised Tap Forms on Facebook, Google AdWords, MacStories.net, AppStoreHQ, iPhone Life magazine, and MacWorld magazine. Facebook wasn't very good at all. Neither was Google AdWords. In fact, I haven't ever really seen any kind of sales bump from advertising on any website or print medium. I guess it's probably because when I advertise, I only do it in small bits at a time. I have never had a giant campaign where you would see Tap Forms all over the Internet.
The best bump in revenue always seems to come when I put my apps on sale for a brief time. I think it's just the act of putting an app on sale which gives you the bump. There are a lot of websites and automated systems out there which republish your app sale so your sale gets a lot of eyeballs without you having to pay for any advertising yourself.
There was one other place I advertised which made a huge impact on the number of downloads, but unfortunately it brought in no extra income. And that was with the FreeAppADay service. I increased the number of users by about 130,000 in just 3 days. But unfortunately since I was giving Tap Forms away for free at that time, I made no money from it. When Tap Forms went back for sale at its regular price, there was a small spike in revenue, but only enough to make me break even on the entire campaign.
When did you start development?
I started Tap Forms right around June of 2008. I had the first version published and approved by Apple on September 28th, 2008.
How did you get into Development? What attracted you to this?
I've been a computer enthusiast since I was about 16. That was a very long time ago. I'm 44 now. I took a computer science course in grade 10 and didn't even have a computer to learn on. There really weren't any personal computers back then. Well, there was the Radio Shack TRS-80, which was the first computer I ever programmed on. When I was 17, my father bought me my first Apple computer. My interest in computers has just grown from then on. I ended up getting a bachelors degree in Computer Science (honours co-op) from the University of Manitoba in Canada.
Development for me solves two of my needs. I love to solve problems and I love to create things. I love how I can build something cool from scratch that never existed before and I love fixing things when they're broken.
What is your favourite programming language?
I like both Java and Objective-C. But since working on iPhone development I've come to really appreciate the Objective-C language. It just makes a lot of sense to me.
Do you believe in the giving back code to the society to help aid development
Absolutely. I haven't had the chance to give anything back to the iOS development community of my own creation yet, but I have assisted with a few open source projects with helping to fix bugs here and there.
Do you have any GitHub repositories or OpenSource or code repos?
What do you do other than Development?
I'm a husband and father of 3 (two boys, one girl). So that keeps me pretty busy when I'm not developing. I also love watching movies and listening to audio books.
What is your method of commute? (Bike, Train, Car, Walk)
In the winter I drive my 18 year old Mazda 626 winter beater. But in the summer I drive my Pontiac Solstice GXP convertible. I love that car! I've just ordered a 2012 Ford Focus Titanium to replace the Mazda 626. I really wanted a Chevy Volt because I love the idea. But it's going to be a few years before they get to Calgary and I just couldn't wait any longer. I'll take a new look at the electric options in a few years when they become more available.
So what is next in the pipeline for ClickSpace Technologies
I am currently working on adding a calculation field type to Tap Forms and adding full database level encryption. Currently Tap Forms has field-level AES encryption. I am expanding that to let you encrypt your entire database file, not just for specific fields.
I also have started work on Tap Forms Mac, the desktop counterpart to the iPhone and iPad versions. Unfortunately, I haven't had the chance to work on it in quite a while. I do still plan to get back to it, but between my full-time day job and working on Tap Forms for iPhone and Tap Forms HD for iPad updates and improvements, that keeps me pretty busy.
What advice would you give to other developers out there?
Just do it. Sketch your idea out, get it coded, and get it published. There's too much opportunity in the App Store for talented developers not to give it a shot. In my day job I've got two very talented developers working with me doing WebObjects development in Java. For the past 3 years I've been trying to convince them to learn Objective-C and write their own iOS apps. Unfortunately they think there's no ideas left out there worthy of developing. Even if there is an app out there that you wanted to build, you can probably do it better. Take a look at the extremely talented people at TapBots. They created Convertbot when there were dozens of other unit converter programs already in the App Store. But they did it way better than anyone else did. And they've succeeded with that model very well. Just take a look at Tweetbot. It's probably the best Twitter client on the market right now.
Would you want to provide your contact details if any one would want to get in touch with you/ClickSpace Technologies
Sure. I can be reached at email@example.com anytime. I'm always happy to chat with anyone about iOS development and especially about Tap Forms.
Thank you for your time, we appreciate your participation
Your'e very welcome.