Over four years ago, I wanted to build an app. I wanted to be able to say, “Hey mom! Look at this super rad thing I made on my own!”. Little did I know, that one thought spread into something that has given me so much joy, learnings, and opportunities. Today, Cycles – Daily Habit Creator for iPhone and Apple Watch is officially ending it’s development and will be free forever.
At this point you may be asking yourself, "What the heck is this app?". I have written a good amount about Cycles, it’s dev process, and just why I built it on Medium. At the same time, I have live streamed the past three updates on Twitch and posted reruns on YouTube. If you are interested in a more in depth look, start there!
This post will be mainly looking at the overall impact this project had on my life and career growth. I hope to help give people some motivation to get started on their own projects – no matter the idea. It will take you somewhere.
Cycles is an app that provides needed scheduled reminders, encouraging you to build positive habits. It provides a way for someone to build habits such that they won't need to actively remember to keep up with it. I wanted to utilize technology to make a fairly difficult task easier! At it’s core, Cycles was a notification system that would adjust to your schedule.
In college, a friend and I interned at a startup company called SightPlan where we shared a lot of common interests – especially the fanboy-ness of Apple products. Me, a developer, and him, a designer, both wanted to hone in on our skills and create something we could show off. That was when Cycles was born! I wanted to learn and the only thing that made sense to me was to build something I found passion in. I had a drive to get this thing done. Cycles took 1.5 years for me to build. During that time I definitely had my lows, but I also had my highs!
As I mentioned above, I’m definitely an #AppleFanBoy. I started learning to code on a MacBook. I have owned every iPhone since the 3G. I even worked at an Apple Retail store for a year in university. Developing an app for iPhone seemed like the logical next step. I do want to note, I have really wanted to port this to Android, but I never got around to it. Sorry to all the Android users out there :( #FeelsBadMan.
I also got into iOS dev when Swift 2.0 was just released and when the first gen AppleWatch was just released. I was at a Hackathon during that time and created an text adventure game called “The Forest” for Apple Watch.
One other thing I realized when looking back at this now, the App Store is a much better place to actually monetize your creation. I didn’t become a millionaire off this app, but I made something that people were willing to give me money for. That part still blows my mind. People found my app so useful that they wanted to pay to support it. I think as developers we forget that we make some pretty cool shit. Don't forget that there are people out there who enjoy your creations :).
Not going to lie, this section can go on for a while, but I want to sum up some of the big ones I saw come out of this:
I learned so many incredible, real-life dev skills. There is only so much school can teach you. Doing things on your own is the best way to truly master something. (BTW my Twitch viewers still call me a n00b so, again, #FeelsBadMan KAPPA)
This application became a resume piece for almost everything. People were intrigued by this and were impressed by that fact that it was live on the App Store. I truly believe this app got me my job @ Microsoft as a Software Engineer for Xbox.
I learned and understood a lot about mobile architecture. You can’t deny it, we live in a mobile first world. This is a highly valuable skill to have and honestly, its DOPE to know and understand how this little device works.
This app helped me grow on Twitch. Ya in case you missed it at the beginning, I livestream programming on Twitch! It’s one of the most rewarding things I have ever done and encourage everyone to try it just once to see how you like it!
While there are definitely many more benefits from this app, these are some immediate takeaways that I hope get the point across of why you should build something!
It took me a really long time to come to terms with stopping this project, but I knew it was better for me to start moving onto something else. The reasons?
I always felt like this app would REALLY pop off. The problem was I got to the point where I wasn’t having fun contributing to this idea anymore. It was frustrating to want to build new features when I wasn’t having fun.
This app is my first full-fledged app and that makes it my baby! You wouldn’t want to abandon your child right (Please don't answer this)?
I wanted to keep pursuing my iOS dev journey and thought this was the best way to do it. I have realized that it is a great way to learn, but I can build so many other things and still learn just as much.
I got stuck in a mindset of how to monetize Cycles. How could I make money off this thing I spent so much time on? In my opinion, for a personal project, that should be your last concern. The money and success will come if you give it time, passion, and hard work.
In all I spent around 3 – 4 years developing this application and everything around it. That’s a long time, but in the end it was all worth it.
It’s time to finally retire Cycles and keep it up to live as long as possible! There are tons of things that aren’t don’t yet and would love to recruit/encourage others to work on it if you feel up for it. Feel free to DM me onTwitter/Twitch/Here/Literally anywhere!
It’s also time to learn some new tech on a project that I am really excited about and boy, I am really excited about my next project. I believe it will excel my dev skills even more and produce a really cool and fun application.
Finally, I want to really focus on bringing this journey to my community on Twitch and the dev community in general. I want to motivate EVERYONE to get started on a project no matter what skill level. We have a passion to build things and make our lives easier with technology.