9 years in iOS - Sunsetting the Work

Uzair Hussain
5 min readNov 1, 2016


A run-through of my learnings in the mobile wild-wild-west and why I‘ve finally decided to take a step back.

2007 — Unlocked my first iPhone.

2009—Started working for Apple.

2011 — Built my first iOS team.

2012 — Launched my first iOS product.

2014—Registered my first iOS corporation.

2016 — Built my first iOS partnership.

Why stop now?

In the world of technology, everyone and their mothers will tell you about MAUs, DAUs, WTFs, etc. — Our team had learned what’s really important, the customer experience. So instead of trying to hit 1M users, we strived for 5 star reviews. Instead of hitting DAUs, we got our customers to use Cleu throughout each day. These were the KPIs that really mattered to us.

The unfortunate truth is, to scale in a technology business, you have to add a lot of fuel to a burning flame for scale. We had an extremely hot flame, but apparently it wasn’t big enough.

How did Cleu perform?

Here are some of our accomplishments.

  1. AppStore Featured Placements — Utilities Page, Home Page, Utilities Cover Banner
  2. FWA Awards — 2 Mobile FWA awards recognizing mobile design and user experience
  3. 1 Million Events — Users creating, repeating, & editing physical events within their environments.
  4. Works With Nest — 1 of under 100 products globally optimized to work with Nest products.
  5. Entrepreneur Article — 1 of 5 promising IoT products featured in Entrepreneur magazine
  6. CES 2016–1 of 16 emerging technology companies in position to work with Fortune 500 brands through OMD Startup Cocktails

Can’t you run it on the side?

Short answer, no — When you immerse yourself in a project like I did for this many years, your entire life becomes that goal. In my case, I slept and woke up to Cleu on my mind, figuratively *AND* audibly as the alarm went off every morning. In fact, I haven’t used the stock Apple Alarm app since fall of 2012.

If you haven’t heard the term, mindshare is everything. In this business it’s what defines the engagement in your product. In today’s example, it’s what has gotten me to hyperfocus on one product, one goal.

What about your customers?

I think about them the most. Everytime I log in to Mixpanel, I see usage all over the world. No seriously, we’ve hit almost every country on the map. And these users aren’t just checking in or “liking” something; these customers are using Cleu on the daily.

For these customers, we’re pushing out one final build, Cleu 4. This build will give support to our works with Nest, Hue, Uber, & loyal Cleu users. This build should also suffice until iOS 11 or iOS 12.

Any regrets?

It’s cliche to say no, but I must say, I regret not spending more time with my family and loved ones. I’m fortunate to have an insanely large support team around me, but unfortunately, I have also lost a few souls along the way.

I would also spend more time working on my mental health. For the most part, I wear my heart on my sleeve. If something is going great, you’ll know. If something isn’t going so great, you’ll also pick that up. In this arena though, mental health is critical. Depression comes quick and hard, and when it hits, it punches every positive ounce of energy out of you.

If I could go back in time, I would spend a bit more time with my loved ones and get a therapist.

Why’d you do it?

I was tired of rejected job applications.

I wanted to create global impact in a positive way.

I wanted to build something the entire world would understand.

I wanted to build something the entire world would use.

I wanted to be the best in my category.

What now?

My focus at the moment is to communicate this change to all stakeholders and the public. That’s my job.

As far as personal steps go, I dont know yet. I’ve explored going back to school. I even got a job offer from one of our partners. It’s just too early to tell. I’m looking forward to freeing up mindshare and allowing life to hit me as it comes.

Thank You.

If you have worked on Cleu, Thank You.

If you have invested money in Cleu, Thank You.

If you have advised Cleu, Thank You.

If you gave me your time for a pitch, Thank You.

If you declined me in a pitch, Thank You.

If you said our product needed work, Thank You.

If you gave us ways to improve, Thank You.

If you told me we’re crazy, Thank You.

If you let me ramble on over lunch about Cleu, Thank You.

If you followed every step of the way, Thank You.

If you use Cleu, Thank you. You make this all work.

Product Imagery

Original Mockups
Cleu 1.0–2012 — Alarm + Weather
Cleu 2.0–2013 — Introduce Calendar + PowerNap
Cleu 3.0–2015 — Introduce IoT (Nest, Hue, Uber), Produced Sounds, Apple Watch Support
Cleu 4.0–2016 — Introduce Circadian Backgrounds, WWN Support, Hue 2.0 Support

Everybody can tell you how to do it, they never did it — Jay Z