By: Arli Lima, Staff Writer
Over the last few weeks the iPhone community has been buzzing with anticipation of the new iPhone 5 release. Amidst the overwhelming burden of updates, functions and features, a new iPhone application has been introduced in an attempt to make your social networking experience easier. Jason Bass, creator of clothing line IRockFox and marketing ambassador for Miller/Coors Light has developed an iPhone application PicMo that merges photos and branding with the click of a button. Read on to find out his creative process behind the app and exactly what it takes to create an actual iPhone application.
BmoreFab: The concept of your new iPhone App is brilliant. Give our readers a detailed synopsis of what you have created?
Jason: PicMo is the name of the app. It’s a mash-up between “picture” and “promotion” and that’s how I came up with the name “PicMo”. The idea is to create a campaign or multiple campaigns where you can assign either a logo or type text onto a picture. You are then able to position the logo or text on the picture where ever you want and change the location and rotation of the logo. Once you put it on the default image, every picture that you take under that campaign will have the logo in that same position. You will use your iPhone to take the photos with the logo will already be added to it. You can share it through Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.
BmoreFab: Wow, what a great concept! This is one of those ideas that make you say “Why didn’t I think of that?” Take us through your though process…Why did you think of that?
Jason: I used to promote parties back in the day and I eventually switched over to the branding side of it. I started to realize how important it is to get those pictures from the event, have the logos already on them, and be able to share them almost immediately. If you have ever relied on a photographer to come to your event and take the pictures, he [photographer] might get them to you in like two or three days if he’s good. Who knows if he [photographer] will put the logo on the picture exactly where you want it. A week or so goes by and the wave or momentum of the event has gone down and you have to go out and do all the sharing of pictures on your own. So I started thinking, I have to make this happen. I need the people to see what’s happening at the party right now!
BmoreFab: How long was the development process?
Jason: It’s definitely been a long process. This is my first time ever developing a phone app and I did everything from start to finish except for the actual coding of the app, I had a freelancer do that for me. It started with an idea and then a few sketches which were absolutely terrible. My first few drafts of the sketches were so bad because I didn’t understand really how to position the buttons, the spacing and things like that. After a couple of times it took me three weeks to get a style and sketch down of what I wanted. I took it into Photoshop and did a mock up of what the scripts would look like and from there I found my freelancer. The total time took about three months.
BmoreFab: While you were in that sketching and development process did you bounce any ideas off your friends or other people?
Jason: Actually I tried to keep the idea of it very close to my chest. I say that only because when you get into this situation where you have a really creative idea or something you are passionate about and you try to bounce it off your circle they don’t always give you the feedback that you want to motivate you. It’s either a lame response or they just don’t get the idea at all. To avoid all of that, I only mentioned it to my mother or the few people that saw me sketching it while I was out at a bar or something like that [laughs]. Yes I sketched at the bar and I carry a notepad around everywhere, because when you are that motivated you go at it as much as you can.
BmoreFab: What has been the biggest challenge for you in regards to the development?
Jason: Knowing what you want and making that very clear and trying to communicate that to the actual coder or person that is doing the programming. Sometimes you think you put it out there and did the right thing with it and you think you have the idea down but once you see it in the functioning stages you are thinking, Oh no that’s not right. Then you have to go back and make changes and come back again with another test or demo and then you realize something else is wack. All those different edits take a lot of time. In my case I was paying my coder an hourly rate with my personal money and it kept adding up. I didn’t have any investors and it gets kind of frustrating a lot of times when you think you are doing your best and have to make continuous changes it’s frustrating. Overall it’s really a learning process more than anything. So I think that’s the hardest thing, realizing it’s a learning process.
BmoreFab: Speaking of investors, I thought you partnered with Kickstarter to help with the funding costs?
Jason: Yes, I did partner with them and I got a really good response in the beginning, but it wasn’t a very successful project with Kickstarter. When you do things on your own sometimes you don’t get the push that you need publically to get people really excited about it and for this project, I was only using my local network. With Kickstarter, I got to about 33% of what I needed for funding but with Kickstarter I was able to get coverage from mashable.com which is a huge network within itself. Mashable.com did a feature on PicMo and also BlackEnterprises.com contacted me about doing a feature, so hopefully that comes through pretty soon.
BmoreFab: Is PicMo available right now for those who want to purchase it?
Jason: It’s going to be available in about two weeks. I have to go through an approval process with iTunes and it’s going to be released with a free version that has limited access and full access to the app with all the features will be $1.99.
BmoreFab: Are you only releasing it on iTunes? What about Android and all the other cellular operating systems?
Jason: I’m going to wait and see the response of iPhone users. The reason I say that is because with the iPhone you have one phone and one operating system, but when you deal with Android you have multiple phones and multiple operating systems and also multiple devices. You might have a Galaxy [phone] which has a huge screen and then you have Evo [phone] which has a smaller screen and you have to make sure the graphics and resolution is right and the actual software works on every phone …it gets really complicated.
BmoreFab: Well you sound like you are a pro at it now; will this be an ongoing process with you? Are you in the works to develop another app?
Jason: I’m going to continue to work on my app and depending on how it is received I may develop another because I also have a few other ideas. With this project it has opened up the doors for a ton of potential apps that I think should be developed and available to people. In my notebook I probably have about six strong and almost ready to go ideas.
BmoreFab: What advice would you give to someone that wants to develop an app?
Jason: Do a lot of research. Don’t think you know it all and be prepared to learn some difficult and expensive lessons. Don’t jump at the first person that might want to invest in you because if you commit yourself to someone else’s money then you have to make sure it gets paid back. Get the experience, get the knowledge, learn the lessons, and don’t quit.
BmoreFab: What has been the feedback for PicMo?
Jason: Just the idea alone has been getting some good feedback. I sent it to a couple of people so they can test it and see what they thought about it and the beta testers have been giving me some good information on it they are liking it and I’m happy about that?
BmoreFab: What is your favorite app…besides PicMo?
Jason: I like Instagram a lot and I like to play any game that is free and featured on my iPhone.
BmoreFab: You mentioned the app will be available in about two weeks, where can our readers go and get more information or updates on the app?
BmoreFab: Any last thoughts you want our readers to know?
Jason: When people are out here and they are trying to do different things that make sense, just support them. People are always willing to support the “other” guy, but when someone steps outside of the box and does something different support them and have their back a little bit. If you can spend a couple of dollars going to a party, you can support your friend with their ideas…believe me they will appreciate it.
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