Designer and developer Seth Taylor recently released an amazing iPhone app called Meeting Calc. Functional and simple, the app tells you how much a meeting costs by simply inputting the total hourly rate of everyone in the meeting and then hitting start/stop. You can also tweet out the results.
If you haven’t downloaded the app, then do so today.
I spoke with Seth and asked him a few questions about the app and his plans for the future.
What was your inspiration for this app?
My main inspiration for this app came while we had a company meeting with 40+ attendees and the presenter stopped to take a phone call. I started calculating the cost per second and realized it would be fun to make an app to do the same thing.
But, the challenge was that there are other calculators that do a similar function. So I figured out a few simple ways to make interacting with the app more fun.
As most people start pushing the buttons begin to smile or laugh, that makes it worth it to me.
An early wire frame of the app is shown below.
Who helped work on it?
My good friends at Eli Kirk… and my kids — they’re some of the cutest beta testers I know. Plus, if it’s enjoyable to kids to perform calculations, then adults might share it with their friends.
What have you done to promote it?
I use it; especially when there’s a meeting with [shudder] no predefined ending time. I’ve also shared it with my friends, sent it to blogs that would find it to be helpful, and infrequent Facebook/Twitter posts.
What are you hoping to achieve by having users tweet “results”?
I was really interested to see if people would end up sharing how much time they blew in a wasteful meeting. Plus, it could be an advertising help. It’s fun to see the activity too. Here’s a quick screen capture of a portion of the activity.
What future features or social interactions are you planning?
I have a few more ideas for this app that will be a lot of fun. One of the less-fun ideas is fulfilling the request from user mindblade to support $10,000/hr.
Plans for an Android version?
Nope. Not any more.
Some of the people I’ve met through making this app had some experience with making apps for both platforms and they discussed that it’s a lot harder to make money in the Android market because people on a free OS often complain about paying for apps of this simplicity.
Some of the other apps I’m building will definitely be released to the Android Market though.
Have you created/submitted other apps?
Yes, I have one more that was approved and listed in the app store. There’s 3 more in the works (1 is absolutely ridiculous, another will become standard on every shoppers device, and another deals with family history.)
The MetriClock was my first and it was a great learning experience. It still sells a few. My favorite part about the metric clock is the fan mail of people who’ve “always wanted a metric clock… with a timer.” I didn’t know there were that many other people on the planet that cared about metric time.
Even though I’m pretty young in the market, here’s a few tips I’ve learned when designing/making apps.
- Research the competition. Some people make the mistake of dumping a ton of money into an unsupportive category. Also, you may find it’s better to buy someone else’s app instead of building your own, trying to improve it, and trying to sell it.
- In the early stages, make rapid prototypes — Don’t worry about perfection yet.
- Don’t let the final unknown details paralyze you from trying. There’s plenty of people who’ve gone down this path before and are available to help.
- LiveView is a boon for designers. Whatever you design on your computer appears on your device so you can test button size, colors etc.
Get MeetingCalc from the App Store.