White Peak Software Year in Review 2009

For those who might be new to this blog, my name is Kirby Turner. I run White Peak Software, my independent software company, and have done so since November 2003. That makes White Peak Software slightly over 6 years old now.

There have been ups and downs for White Peak Software over the years but 2009 seems like the most challenging for me. For starters I have transited the company from one that offers services (aka contract programming) focused on Microsoft technologies to an iPhone company. This is a major step in my ultimate goal of eliminating service work all together so I can focus on writing and selling my own software products.

There is only a day and a half remaining in 2009. Even so, I thought now is a good time to post a year in review for 2009. My primary inspiration for this posting comes from Patrick McKenzie of Bingo Card Creator frame. While I make a good living from contract programming, it is not the ultimate goal for my company so I will focus the business stats reported below on the product side of the business only. Besides, the product side is likely more interesting to other indie developers out there.

Business Stats for the Year

Product Revenue: $15,217.57 (reflects payments received in 2009 for product sales between December 2008 and November 2009)

(Sales numbers below reflect sales between January 2009 and December 2009. For those doing the math, the sales numbers below will not add up to the product revenue total reported above.)

SMTP Diagnostics Sales: $737.10 (change from last year -24%)

Killink CSV Editor Sales: $9,089.20 (change from last year 6%)

Labor Mate Sales: $4,104.10 (change from last year 1,515%; U.S. sales only; includes sales between January 2009 and November 2009)

Web Stats for the Year

Visit: 19,943

Unique Visitors: 17,293

Pageviews: 41,381

Traffic sources: 25.55% Direct Traffic, 25.55% Referring Sites, 48.87% Search Engines (with 44.60% coming from Google)

Trial software downloads: Unfortunately I just discovered that my tracking of downloads broke at the end of April so I don’t have the stats. Bad me for not being on top of this.

What Went Right

  • Marketing efforts this summer for Labor Mate helped increase sales.

  • Labor Mate remained in the 100 in the Health and Fitness category for most of the year, reaching an all time high ranking of 34.

  • A mention in MacBreak Weekly podcast caused a one week boost in sales.

  • Got my first taste of in-app advertising thanks to Matt Martel.

  • Sales for Killink CSV Editor continued to grow despite not releasing a single update the entire year.

  • I reduced my technology focus on the service side of the business from a broad range related to Microsoft to a smaller set of technologies with a primary focus on the iPhone. I spent half the year doing full time iPhone development, which has been great. Unfortunately this transition involved ending relationships, some long term, with clients not interested in iPhone development, but it also meant building new relationships.

What Didn’t Go So Well

  • Failed to release Killink CSV Editor version 2. I’m hugely disappointed by this. I had a number of setbacks at the end of 2008/beginning of 2009 that derailed Killink CSV Editor. I’ll spare you from the list of excuses. At the end of the day I screwed up.

  • Failed to release my second iPhone app. Another setback for 2009 that effects my ultimate plans for the company.

  • I had a serious time management issue for most of 2009. Life with a kid has introduced new challenges for me. For almost half of 2009 I juggled my time between taking care of the kid and working on White Peak Software. The kid won most of my time, leaving little time for the company. This time management problem meant I spent what little time I did have on the service side of the business, ignoring the product side.

Plans for 2010

  • Spend more time focusing on my products. The kid starts daycare next week which will should help out on the time management, although it does mean another expense to pay out.

  • Release Killink CSV Editor version 2. This is long over due.

  • Release Labor Mate 2. This will be the app I originally dreamed of but never implemented.

  • Release at least 2 other iPhone apps. Details coming on the new apps.

  • Eliminate service work entirely by the end of 2010. This means I will be able to focus 100% of my “work” time to my products.