Today’s interview is with Kyle Thomson of Mobile Education Store, a devoted dad and dedicated developer providing cost effective educational tools for parents of elementary age children. We have reviewed several of their apps including Conversation Builder, Preposition Builder and Rainbow Sentences. Be sure to follow them on Facebook and Twitter as well to be kept up to date on their latest projects.
Thank you for participating in our interview. Please tell us a little about yourself.
I founded Mobile Education Store in April of 2009. We specialize in apps for language development. They range from teaching basic sentence construction to learning how to build narratives to mastering social conversations. We currently have 16 apps on iTunes.
How did the idea for your app come about?
Most of my apps have been inspired by my daughter Caitlyn. She has a serious language disorder, and back in 2009 my wife and I were desperately trying to find some speech and language apps to help supplement her speech therapy. After a fruitless search, I decided to create one myself, and the idea for SentenceBuilder was born. From that point forward, each of my apps has been designed to address a specific language need of hers.
And how long was the process from the original idea to the release of the app?
It really depends on the app. My first app, SentenceBuilder, took 9 months from the original idea to release. A lot of this time was me figuring out the coding. My latest app, ConversationBuilderTeen, took 19 months to develop. Most apps take 6-7 months from the first layout of the idea to release.
Did you hire a developer or do it yourself?
I have developed all the apps myself. I have 2 programmers on my staff.
What has been the hardest obstacle you have had to overcome in the development process?
The biggest obstacle has evolved. At first, it was learning how to code the apps and finding time to do it. Although I develop apps full time now, for the first 2 1/2 years, I was holding down a full time job. Trying to juggle two full time jobs and a family certainly kept me hopping!! Today the biggest obstacle is rising above the noise. There are so many apps that it is difficult for consumers to find anything on iTunes. Marketing has taken on a new importance.
Have you had much support during the development process (from family, peers, Apple Inc.)?
My family has been incredibly supportive. My wife is a source of many great ideas and is a fantastic sounding board. She keeps me grounded too.
What are your plans for the future? Will you be developing any more apps?
I have big plans for 2013-14. I have 27 new apps on the drawing board with roughly half being released in 2013 and the other half in 2014.
What sort of feedback has your app been receiving so far?
The feedback has been amazing and humbling. I receive 10-20 emails a day from people all over the world. Some write to thank me for developing a particular app; others tell me about how one of my apps has changed their child’s life and others just give me encouragement to keep going! I think my favorite email was from a teacher. She wrote me – “my favorite part about your apps is that my non-verbal kids use language to ask to play”. It’s incredible to think that something I created for my little girl has helped so many kids in such a profound way.
And finally, what advice would you give to anyone considering creating their own app?
Just find something you are passionate about and go for it. This has been the most amazing experience of my life.
Thank you for sharing your story with us. We look forward to seeing what Mobile Education Store releases next. Keep up the great work!