Starting a business is insanely hard work and you invest a lot of yourself into it. At Pi'ikea Street, my co-founder and I created and released 7 quality iOS apps. I am still amazed and sometimes in disbelief at all the awards, featuring, and press those apps have received. The emotional ups and downs were exciting and nerve-racking at the same time.
Four years ago, when I started Pi'ikea Street with my co-founder, Ben, we had the dream to make a great quality alphabet iPad app for kids. And we did! Someone at Apple recognized our efforts and when we first released our Interactive Alphabet app, it was heavily featured on the app store in almost every way we could imagine. Our timing was great. We took that momentum and revenue as a signal we should do more and created several follow-on apps. Apple was again kind in featuring several of them, but as the app store and our competition grew, our ability to get those big features and reach new customers declined. Our revenue has fluctuated and declined significantly over the past two years. We have tried everything we could think of to reverse that declining revenue trend, and nothing has worked. We have had a blast making high quality educational kids apps, but at some point you have to take a step back and say 'Is this sustainable?'. Our families have grown, our needs have changed, and it's time for us to sunset the kids app business and move on to something new. I'm actually looking forward to this for a number of reasons.
When you're making your own thing, there are almost no boundaries to the amount of time you can invest in it. So I invested day and night. The tension between 'have I done enough' and 'have I made it the best it can possibly be' is a constant source of uncertainty in an entreprenuer's life. When revenue from the app business was not enough, I took on other work to make ends meet. At one point, before we had our two kids, I was working three jobs: a full-time day job, a weekend coding gig, and our app business at nights. After 9 monthes I burnt out on that and luckily it was at a time when the app business was taking off well enough to let me focus on that full time. What's amazing to me now, is that handling three jobs was even conceivable at the time.
The work I've done writing all the code in our iOS apps, hiring contractors, finding an insanely good designer, designing test plans and executing insane amounts of testing, dreaming up new apps and features, and doing marketing has been huge learning experience. In some ways I feel like I've been on another planet relative to the work I did before this which was all enterprise application focused. I'm hopeful that I may have some new unique perspectives on problem solving having been in both of these worlds now.
I'm looking forward to what comes next.