Labor Mate's Fail From Grace

Labor Mate was originally release in October 2008. My expectations for it were low. If it sold 100 units in the first year then I would consider it a success. But my expectation were exceeded. Labor Mate sold 4997 units in the first year, and it has sold 9201 units in all as of yesterday.

In January 2009 Labor Mate broke into the Top 100 for the Health and Fitness category in the U.S. store. It stayed in the Top 100 daily for nearly 11 straight months peaking at number 34 in the U.S. store. Labor Mate has also been in the Top 100 for the Health and Fitness category in a number of other stores including the U.K., Japan, Sweden, Netherlands, and Italy among others. All of this changed in mid-November. Labor Mate’s fall from grace had started.

A couple of things happened in November bumping Labor Mate out of the Top 100 in its category. First, it received a couple of ridiculous, negative comments in iTunes. I’m not sure of the real impact but the slide from the Top 100 started at the time of the comments. Second and only a day or two later, BabyBump made the What’s Hot list. I believe it is this second point that has taken the biggest toll on Labor Mate’s Top 100 streak.

BabyBump was released in October 2009, just over a year since the initial release of Labor Mate. BabyBump includes features that I have long planned for Labor Mate but have yet to implement. And honestly it looks better than Labor Mate in my opinion. Creative design has always been a weak skill set of mine.

At the end of the day, BabyBump did it better. This was a major wakeup call for me. I let Labor Mate, the one time market leader in its space, grow stale. I had a top ranking and it was mine to lose. And lose it I did.

A major mistake I made in 2009 was to focus most of my attention on contract work and not enough time on my own company. This lack of focus was a setback but also a major kick in my ass. Unfortunately it took Labor Mate’s fall from grace to light the fire under me (and in me). I have learned from this lesson and will do better going forward. For starters, I have since hired a part-time designer as the “Creative Director” for White Peak Software and the first project we worked on together looks great. It will be in the app store soon.

So what about Labor Mate? Is Labor Mate dead? No, far from it. Just a few weeks before the fall from grace, version 1.5 of Labor Mate was approved. This release added support for 8 additional languages, Dutch, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Spanish, Swedish, and Russian. So while sales in the U.S. have dropped, sales worldwide have improved and Labor Mate continues to sell an average of 31 units per day worldwide. So despite not being in the Top 100 of the Health and Fitness category in the U.S., sales remain steady. Also, I have big plans for Labor Mate 2, which I will start working on soon.