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Take part in the creative process! Lets make a food storage tracking app together. Join my experiment to make the perfect app!
A Food Storage Tracking app currently in development using input from the kickstarter backers. For food storage related information, check out the companion website at http://mfs2.com, or you can pre order the app below.
A Food Storage Tracking app currently in development using input from the kickstarter backers. For food storage related information, check out the companion website at http://mfs2.com, or you can pre order the app below.
15 backers pledged $303 to help bring this project to life.

About this project

Food Storage Tracking App - Made with YOUR input! project video thumbnail
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Food Storage Tracking App - Made with YOUR input!

$303

15

I am going to make a new version of My Food Storage. The main difference between V2 and V1 of My Food Storage is: MFS1 is a food inventory tracking system, so you put what you have in it, and it tells you when things are going bad, what you are low on - you have to set specific amounts for each food item - and also what things have been wasted. This way you know what you have at home when you are out, and you know what you need to eat because it's spoiling soon.

MFS2 is about building up your food storage. Having months or even years worth of food saved up and on hand. The app will track what food you have just like the first, but it will also tell you how much food you need to obtain to meet your food storage goals - each food item will belong to a certain category and the app will tell you how much of each category you need to meet your goals. The amount of time the app will take to use on average will go up, but it will do a lot of calculation for you to help you be as prepared as you want to be. 

With or without you, this will happen, but with your help it will not only happen sooner, but it will ... well ... I'm getting ahead of myself. 

So ... why make something new? Why do you care? Whats in it for you?

I want to experiment with this app, this will be my 7th major app. Almost every aspect of this app is an experiment, and I want to do something that I haven't seen while doing some research into kickstarter campaigns for apps.

I want to get other people, the ones who really are interested in the app, to help me make the app. It seems to me that the people most interested in having and using the app are also the people most qualified to help me make my app exactly what they want. Help me with design, function, and other input you feel is useful.

This is the first, and biggest, part of The Experiment. To see if the people who will use the app, can make it better than I would have made it on my own. You can read more about The Experiment below, but first you should probably know a little more about me.

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Harry Potter themed Halloween: if you can't tell, I'm supposed to be a wizard dressed as a muggle.
Harry Potter themed Halloween: if you can't tell, I'm supposed to be a wizard dressed as a muggle.

Hi. My name is Doug. I run DougWatkinsDev.com which is my professional blog. I also develop iOS apps. I work from home so that I can spend as much time as I can with my beautiful wife, my silly little 2 year old girl, and my happy 6 month old boy. 

My Food Storage V1 is the result of modifying my senior project at Utah State University, into something that anyone can use.

My team found a ranch in Wyoming that had 20ish people living there - family and ranch hands - and the ranch was several hours away from the nearest grocery stores.

They also had a 1 year food supply for everyone that lived there - even going into details about how much a 5 year old needed versus an adult or teen.

They were keeping track of their food on 3x5 cards ... holy crap! They spent multiple days a year just tracking and reconciling their inventory.

My team decided to make two pieces of software. First, a PHP website running a MySQL database to store all the food inventory in. The website also created barcodes to print and put on the shelf where the food was stored.

Then I created an app to install on a single iPod, that had a barcode scanner to find items with, and the ability to add and remove items. The app communicated with the website to see what was there, then the user could choose to add or remove from that item. The whole process took about 10 seconds per item.

Move forward to graduation. I decided to make the app completely local - no online storage or connection needed. I also wanted to keep the 10 second or so addition time.

There didn't seem to be any apps on the store that met what I wanted to make - why make something that already exists - so I decided to make V1.  

Around the time I was graduating with a BA from USU, I realized what I wanted to do with my life - make iOS apps, so I started and haven't looked back. 

I totally love the creative process of making apps - distributing and marketing are not yet my thing, but that is a big part of what I am learning and doing with my website right now.

Speaking of which, this is another reason I am running this campaign. I am looking to help aspiring app developers learn and understand what it means to have a business making apps. 

So you will not only be helping me make this particular app a reality, but you will also be helping other developers to make better apps while being able to support their families by doing so since I will be documenting the entire thing so that I can best help them make their app business succeed.

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So here is the plan, based on your contributions, I have various levels of input you will have into the app's design. Features, colors, interface placement, and anything else that comes up, you will have the opportunity to help me make the app exactly what you want. 

I will retain executive decision power - my word is the final word - but I only plan to use this when you all can not come to a consensus, or a particular feature will be unfeasible to implement.

Menu Design Thoughts on V1
Menu Design Thoughts on V1

Version 2.0 will be a paid app, the pricing and how people will pay for it are also part of the experiment - the price in the app store will be free, people will create an account on my website and pay for the app through Paypal or something similar. 

Currently the price will be $15 USD, but as pricing is a part of the experiment, I expect it to fluctuate. I may also turn it into a subscription based thing - though I won't change you more if I eventually go that route. If you buy now, and until I make such a change, you own the app forever.

One reason I am pricing this way is to experiment with perceived value - I know about perceived value when it comes to physical goods, computers and the like - but I don't know of anyone applying that to mobile apps.

And, if $15 dollars seems like a lot of money for apps, and it is if you just compare prices to similar looking apps in the app store, you need to ask yourself the important question of "How much money will I save by using this app? How much food do I need to keep from expiring before the app pays for itself?"

At my house, this is probably about a month if you include fresh produce, since that seems to get put behind everything else in the fridge and not get found until we clean the fridge.

On top of this, peace of mind and ease of use are also worth something. I feel that if you actually think about the worth of the app, and not the cost, you might actually feel I am undercharging for what you will get out of it.

Technically these are stretch goals, laid out in advance so that you all know what my thoughts are on where this project could go.

Goal 1: 100% Funded - Start with the basics right? I wanted to set my funding goal at $3000 dollars - why? Because that would help me pay off a few creditors while I work on this, it would be about 1/3 of what I would expect my living expenses to be during this project - and this project will be my full-time job till completion - unless I get a full time job, see risks for more. But, after looking into what works I decided on $250 because I want the project to actually be completely funded. This Kickstarter campaign is more about getting your feedback for the creation of the app than it is about making or needing money, otherwise I would set the goal much higher.

Goal 2: $500 - At this point I will start hiring people to do parts of the project, little things such as designing an icon for use in the project - or maybe the logo for the app. This will continue until the next goal is reached. Though there is no set in stone things that will happen once we reach this step.

Goal 3: $5000 - We would have to hit this out of the park for this to happen. I completely don't expect this to happen, but if it does then I will hire a professional UI/UX designer to make the app look totally awesome. This won't have a huge impact on the way the app works, maybe a little if they are much better at it than I am, but it will make the app feel better, and definitely look nicer.

Screen Layouts for V1
Screen Layouts for V1

Goal 4: ??? - Honestly, I don't expect to make it to goal 3 $5000 would be one of the highest funded apps on kickstarter ever, at least as far as I could see - I didn't see any get that high that didn't also have some sort of hardware component; but if for some reason, we are getting even reasonably close to goal 3, then I will come up with something for beyond. Probably an Android version of the app. Most likely an Android version, which I will have to outsource most likely so that it doesn't take me a year to complete - since I would have to learn a new language as well as a new design pattern.

My Food Storage v1
My Food Storage v1
          

You can check out the current version of the app at :  http://apple.co/1kZM4Fp. This version is free, and will likely remain so. It is supported by ads - I have to make money on it somehow since this is my livelihood. I may add an option to remove ads at some point if I have time. Or I may just remove them and put a small price on the app.

It took me about 6 months to make it, though I basically made it twice, and it was the first major app I completed.

Fun story, I had the app within a week of being put onto iTunes, when I had other people test it for the first time, meaning my parents. Man, was I wrong about what was intuitive. 

I had to go back to the drawing board, and completely redo almost everything. Even the code was mostly discarded. The images I added detailing some of my design work is from my second time around. There were none the first time - mistake number 1.

As part of the experiment, I will need all of the backers who can - meaning those who have iPhones and iPads, and iPods running iOS 7 or later, to download and play with the current app. This will be our starting place, since this is version 2. 

If you are an android person, and you backed my iOS only app, thank you - hopefully one day an android version will come about as well - and you can still have input about features you think should be there.

The first month will go to you, mostly. I plan to take some serious time to gather everyone's thoughts about my current app, and what they want to see different in the next version. I think about a month will be enough time to do this, but I do have some time budgeted for this to take longer - as I said, this is an experiment so I'm planning on everything taking longer than I had expected.

After that, If we raised enough to support me hiring a UX designer, I will bring them on to design the look and feel of the app - using the information I've gathered from you all. I've allocated another month for this, though I expect it to take more like a couple of weeks.

Then I get to coding. Based on my experience with my last several apps, I expect this to take me about a month to do, but I've budgeted more time than that. The backers doing beta tests will start seeing beta's come to them during this time.

Also, depending on what features people want I'll need to also make some web API's, for things like syncing between devices using the same account, as well as some membership stuff on my website. This will add some extra time to the build process - but if I raise enough I will hire this part out.

I've scheduled a month to code the app, and a month to code the web stuff. Though they will both happen simultaneously. 

That takes us to September, or there about. By this time I hope to be finished, but to allow for sickness or any other random time block, there is still one month left in the schedule. I will use as much of this month as I feel is necessary to fine tune any last details, then I plan to launch to the select few who get early access. Once we all are happy with the app, it will launch on iTunes at a specified time - which will be decided during the two weeks of early access.

I expect to launch the app to the world during the beginning of October, unless something terrible happens.

Initial Budget
Initial Budget

The budget pretty much will all go to keeping my family fed and clothed while I develop the app. If we hit my extra milestones, then some of the money will go to cover those extra costs - like hiring a UX designer.

I've set my goal really low in the hopes of reaching full funding, but my goal is really nowhere near the amount of money I will need to live off during this development time - but since I've already got a system in place for living, and I plan on doing this either way, I've set the goal as low as it is. 

This campaign is more about getting people's opinions, and running an experiment, than it is about money. Though I will absolutely need to reach the stretch goals to be able to afford to hire someone else to do my design work.

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The rewards are fairly straightforward. 

First I'll go through them all one by one, then there is a handy dandy chart at the end of all the rewards for each pledge level.

Pledge anything, $1 or more - Supporter

Become immortalized on the web and app thank you page. Any pledge will receive this. You may opt out of being mentioned if you so desire.

 Pledge $5 or more - Designer

Get a personalized thank you through email/twitter/facebook/whatever, and help with the design aspects of the app. 

Pledge $15 or more - $10 for early backers - Decision Maker

Get all of the above, as well as a copy of the app, and input into which features the app should have.

Pledge $25 or more - Beta Tester

Get all of the above, plus be a beta test of the app. Spots are limited by iTunes, so get in early if you want to help perfect the app.

 

Pledge $50 or more - Lets Chat

$25 rewards, plus a guest interview with me, posted to my website or youtube channel, your choice. We can talk about whatever you want, G-rated.

 OR Pledge $50 or more - First User

Instead of doing an interview, get the $25 rewards and get the app 2 weeks early.

 Pledge $200 or more - Lets PARTAY!!

Choose your $50 reward, plus come out to the launch party. Somewhere in the Orem UT area - final details will be decided later after a head count is reached. Note: You will need to get yourself here, and there will be no alcohol.

 Lastly, for those who want to gift the app to others, there are 3 other Pledge levels.

Pledge $30 - Double Down

Get 2 copies of the app, plus be involved in the design and feature decisions. 

 Pledge $45 - Third Time's a Charm

Get 3 copies of the app, plus be involved in the design and feature decisions.

 Pledge $60 - Quadricopy

Get 4 copies of the app, plus be involved in the design and feature decisions.

Pledge $100 - SEO Special

This reward means you get a copy of the app, and full decision access, but it is mostly for the SEO/Traffic benefits some people who run like minded websites/YouTube channels/Podcasts will be interested in.

Between the two of us we will come up with a way to promote your content that will be mutually beneficial, but have the best opportunities to drive more traffic your way. Things like me making content for you, or writing about you or your stuff, allowing you to put whatever reasonable links you want in your article, or whatever else you want from me to help drive more traffic to your website - within reason. 

One note, I won't write anything for my site that won't also benefit my readers - so if your site is not related to food storage or prepping at all, don't select this reward as those are the only types of content I send to my audience - though if you have something related to dougwatkinsdev.com then we can talk about that also.

If that was a clear as mud, see the below chart for a little clarity on exactly what rewards come with what pledge levels. NOTE: The SEO Special is not listed, because it is special

Pledge Chart - what you get at what levels of pledging.
Pledge Chart - what you get at what levels of pledging.

If you have questions, please contact me - you can use my site if you want at dougwatkinsdev.com/support/ 

Risks and challenges

Risks are pretty minimal, I plan to make this happen with or without support from anyone else. BUT, the support will enable things to happen faster - and if enough money is raised, I'll make it even better with help from a designer to help make a much better design than I have time for.

The biggest risk will be me getting a full time job, currently I make apps by myself, for myself, and getting a job would put a kink in my development time plans. I am looking, but there doesn't seem to be anything that fits my desires and experience levels currently.

The project will still be completed if I get a job, but it will probably take longer - this will depend on a lot of variables.

My current time plan is based on how long it took me to write the first app. I should be able to write this one faster than that one and deliver it much sooner, but I'd rather under promise and over deliver. Plus having the extra time will allow me to make sure everything is perfect before launch.

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Support this project

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $1 or more About $1.00

    Supporter:

    Donate a buck to show your interest. All backers will get their name included in a thanks section of the app and website - unless you tell me you don't want to be included.

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    Pledge $5 or more About $5

    Designer:

    Above Rewards, Plus Receive a personalized thank you from me, you can choose either email, or twitter, possibly something else if you can convince me ;)
    You will also be involved in making decisions about the apps design - colors, menu, placements, etc...

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    Pledge $10 or more About $10

    Early Backer:

    Above rewards, Plus Get your own copy of the app.
    You will also be involved in making feature decisions, which to add/remove, which features will be core features, which will be updates, etc...

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    Pledge $12 or more About $12

    Early Backer 2:

    Above rewards, Plus Get your own copy of the app.
    You will also be involved in making feature decisions, which to add/remove, which features will be core features, which will be updates, etc...

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    Pledge $15 or more About $15

    Decision Maker:

    Designer rewards, Plus Get your own copy of the app.
    You will also be involved in making feature decisions, which to add/remove, which features will be core features, which will be updates, etc...

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  6. Select this reward

    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    Beta Tester:

    Above rewards, plus you will be a beta tester of the app. So you can see how everything works to have the highest weight when making app change decisions.

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  7. Select this reward

    Pledge $30 or more About $30

    Double Down:

    Get the Decision Maker rewards, but get 2 copies of the app.
    You will also be involved in making feature decisions, which to add/remove, which features will be core features, which will be updates, etc...

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    Pledge $45 or more About $45

    Third Time's the Charm:

    Get the Decision Maker rewards, but get 3 copies of the app.
    You will also be involved in making feature decisions, which to add/remove, which features will be core features, which will be updates, etc...

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    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    Lets Chat:

    Get the Beta Tester rewards, plus a guest interview with me on my website/youtube channel/podcast - your choice - to talk about your experience, or anything else you want - G rated.

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    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    First User:

    Get the Beta Tester rewards, plus get access to the app 2 weeks early, instead of doing a guest interview with me.

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    Pledge $60 or more About $60

    Quadricopy:

    Get the Decision Maker rewards, but get 4 copies of the app.
    You will also be involved in making feature decisions, which to add/remove, which features will be core features, which will be updates, etc...

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  12. Select this reward

    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    SEO Special:

    Get the Decision Maker rewards, plus I'll work with you to figure out what works best for you to help promote your similar brand - food storage and prepping or something similarly related.

    Possibilities include me writing content for you, or about you; you writing an article for me with whatever you want - keeping it g rated and related to things my readers will be interested in - including whatever links you want to your stuff; me coming on your podcast or something else like that.

    I'm pretty open to ideas on this one, but the main idea is for me to help drive traffic to your content. We can work together to come up with something awesome.

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    Pledge $200 or more About $200

    Lets Partay:

    Choose either the First User or Lets Chat reward, plus invitation to a launch party when the app is finished. Notice there being no limit to this. I will figure out where the launch party will be held depending on how many people choose this option - I don't expect many will. But hey, who knows? Will be in the Orem UT area. There will also be no alcohol, sorry if thats a bummer for you.

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Funding period

- (30 days)