Exclusive Interview With Gerald Aquila, Creator of Firetask

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Firetask is the first task management app to effectively combine the advantages of the classical approach based on priorities and due dates with David Allen’s "Getting Things Done®" being specifically designed for the iPhone and iPad. Firetask for iPhone and iPad syncs wireless with the Mac version over a local WiFi network or with any Firetask app over the Firetask Cloud.

We wanted to find out more information about how this iOS app was developed, the production process, the sales and of course the future. Read our exclusive interview below…

If you would like to purchase Firetask you can do so here:

iPhone version – $5.99/£3.99/download
iPad version – $9.99/£5.99/download

The Beginning

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JC – Please explain how your app was originally thought of and what were your thoughts behind the marketplace, specifically?

GA – Wolfgang (our designer) and I were trying out various task management apps and we really were not satisfied with what was available on the market. The main problem was that there were very functional apps with a horrible user interface and very simple apps with good-to-great user interfaces, but nothing in-between. So our main design goal was to come up with a functional app that combined aspects from GTD and traditional task management systems that was not overly complicated and offered an intuitive and easy-to-use workflow.

 

Design

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JC – Please explain the design, how you came up with the colors and themes.

GA – The first version of our app was for the iPhone – mainly because iOS was quite new back then and we wanted to try out doing something with it, but also because the mobile part is the most important part of a task management tool (you need your tasks anywhere you go). So we really designed it to be simple and functional, working a lot with icons and colors to easily distinguish task context and priorities.

Target Market

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JC – Who do you see as the main target market for this app in terms of age, genre and expenditure?

GA – This is really hard to say, it seems we have users that still go to school as well as users in their fifties and sixties. We see our target market more in terms of users who need to manage and complete many different tasks in different contexts or projects every day. We also see that we have many users from the creative world (designers, producers, directors), because they love that the user interface is very visual – this is especially true for our unique kanban-style “Organize” view on iPad and Mac.

Production Process

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JC – How long did it take from the original planning to the production process of this app?

GA – This was really a fluent process. Actually, we did the very first prototype using Adobe AIR that looked promising at the time. However, when the iPhone SDK came along we knew that we definitely wanted to go native and do something that would run on our new iPhones, something that we could take with us wherever we go. It took about 10 months from idea to the first, very simple version on the App Store.

Sales

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JC – How do you predict sales to be, is there a good solid market for this style of app?

GA – We really created the app originally for ourselves, so we did not have any sales goal. Actually, we didn’t think back then that so many people would love our app. Even today we focus more on making great apps than on doing sales forecasting ;-).

Obstacles

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JC – What has been the hardest obstacle you have had to overcome regarding this app development?

GA – I think the hardest thing to implement was the cloud-syncing. As we only have limited resources we partner with MindMeister and they provided us with the server part. But it took as a lot of time to get syncing really reliable and stable. I think a lot of people out there underestimate how complex two-way syncing across multiple devices with automatic conflict-resolution really is.

Third Parties

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JC – Would you considered developing apps for third parties?

GA – Not really, as both Wolfgang and I also run our own companies. I have created a multi-project dashboard for the iPad for my other company Onepoint, but other than that I am only working on our own ideas.

App Store

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JC – What have you learnt from the App Store?

GA – In the very beginning, timing was of the essence: who was first, won. Today it is different, it is now the same game as everywhere in product marketing. You need a great product, and good website and ideally the funds to run ads and promotions from time to time.

Apple

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JC – Have Apple supported you well with your App development?

GA – They always answered our questions and I think they are doing a great job regarding development tools and documentation. What I am really missing is a “fast-track” for App Store submissions, if you are fixing a major bug that users are waiting for. I believe that this is really something that is a “design bug” in the App Store processes and needs fixing.

The Future

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JC – What next, are you developing another app, would you go for the same genre again, if not which?

GA – Currently, we are working on silent/background syncing across all our apps, after that we will again add some more features that our users have asked for. We also have another idea for an app that we might pursue when there is more time, but I don’t want to talk about this yet :-).

Android

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JC – Have you considered developing apps on other platforms such as Android? If so, what has the experience been like?

GA – I think that for individual developers and small teams the Android store does not offer much promise, if you are already have success with apps on the iTunes App Store. The reason for this is simple: Android users seems to want everything for free meaning that you cannot make a living developing for Android if you are not a large company.

Our Support

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JC – What do you think about TheAppWhisperer.com? Have we helped you? Would you recommend us? Have we been supportive?

GA – You have definitely been supportive, but as this is the first time we are doing something with you, I don’t yet know if you will have helped us – we hope so… 🙂

 

2 thoughts on “Exclusive Interview With Gerald Aquila, Creator of Firetask”

  1. About the Android app: the problems he states are real, but IMO don’t apply in this case. Anyone who has bought Firetask is obviously ready to pay for a great app and service.

    More crucially, the lack of an Android solution may be cause someone investigating their todo-app options (like me, right now) to go for a competing service instead. For me, the app could be however barebone and it would still make all the difference.

  2. Agree. I’d pay for an app that I could use on my Android phone, if it handled everything the way I need it to.

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