Year of Nick: March & April in Review

I missed my end-of-March review, so this one is a double-whammy.

Looking back

My goal for March was to figure out what kind of business I want L8R to be. My goal for April was to begin generating revenue in some way.

Both goals met! Sorta!

I want L8R to be big. I want a lot of people to use it and love it and have their lives made better by it. As I talk to early users I continue to gain confidence that we’re on to something, and there’s an appetite for a new kind of experience that L8R is in a great position to offer. More on this in a separate post.

As for generating revenue — OK, I sort of cheated. Rather than prematurely ship and charge for L8R, I prematurely shipped and charged for another app, MasterPass.

I earned revenue

MasterPass is a word game where Hangman meets MasterMind. It kind of sucks. I mean, by all means, check it out in the App Store and pay $1.99 for it. I’d be grateful. But neither the game’s visual design nor its fundamental gameplay are a success by any measure, and I was a little ashamed to release it at all.

Still, it was fun to see a handful of supporters share their games:

Given my focus on L8R, I haven’t been able to give MasterPass the love it needs to be a viable game. So I thought I’d try out Assembly, a platform for splitting profits with collaborators around the world.

It was a long-shot. It’s hard enough to collaborate with your friends, so I knew collaborating with strangers was going to be unlikely. Still, I thought there was a possibility that someone would fall in love with what MasterPass *could* be, and propose to take over a lot of the work in exchange for shared ownership.

I found it hard to wrap my head around Assembly’s framework: Bounties, Posts, Chat, Roles, Partners, Appcoins… there’s a whole lot of vocab to pick up. Ultimately my project didn’t get much attention, and I don’t know whether to blame myself, or Assembly, or MasterPass itself.

One person sketched an App Icon that I didn’t think was effective, and then I had the burden of thanking them for their work without rewarding them with the bounty. I wasn’t sure if I was being rude or not.

Another person gave me feedback, which I’d solicited, but it was low-quality and kind of a bummer to read:

I’ve always been a fan of both Mastermind and Hangman so I really like MasterPass’ concept. I know it’s still in beta, but the design needs a serious improvement. Furthermore, the app is overpriced and should be priced at $0.99 (Tier 1). Lastly, I would suggest using another name rather than MasterPass.

So yeah.

But! Check out this revenue!

It actually felt nice to make a chunk of change — I’d never sold a personal project before. Usefully, I learned how to navigate sales in iTunes Connect, signed contracts, connected my bank, etc. etc.

I traveled

I visited friends in San Francisco, took a road trip through Memphis (ghosts), Nashville (bachelorettes) and Louisville (brunch), and I did my first family vacation in 15 years — to the Galapagos. We stayed at a comically posh hotel, being stuck together on an island and sometimes a boat for 7 consecutive days, had about as good a time as we could hope for.

I started a podcast

I launched Reading Spanish, a podcast in which we read and discuss passages from Spanish-language literature. Find it out on your favorite podcast app.

I started Reading Spanish because I enjoy lit and I wanted to brush up on my Spanish. It’s fun making something for an audience of 1.

(That said if you also like to read and discuss Spanish-language lit, I am totally willing to expand my audience to 2 and have you on as a guest.)

I beat FFVI

Getting to the Galapagos meant a lot of flying, and I wisely downloaded an RPG to my phone: Final Fantasy VI.

I’m a fan of other games in the series, in particular FFVII and FFX, but I think VI might be my new favorite. I loved everything about it, particularly the playful tone of the game. Just a wonderfully executed story.

Great music too!

I began rolling out the L8R B8A

As this post is already unwieldy I’ll talk more about how L8R is going elsewhere, but the TL;DR is: swimmingly! I’ve neglected my writing a bit in the last few weeks because I’ve been super focused on getting it onto people’s phones.

In the next few weeks I’ll be adding more people to the b8a. If you want in, let me know here.