From No Coding Experience, to Having an App in the App Store in 3 Months

I still remember it like it was yesterday.  “This isn’t going to be a very pleasant call,” our developers said on our conference call.

I was nearing the end of my 6 hour drive to the Bay Area from Los Angeles.  I had been driving all day, mapping out our next steps to take our product to market, again.  We were in the middle of re-designing our app after some initial user feedback.

“We’ve given it some thought, and we don’t think we can continue working on this with you guys.”

Wow. what a fucking cooler.

TL;DR4 months ago I could barely print Hello World, and thanks to a ton of coffee, and some great Udemy courses (Mark Price’s – iOS 9 and Swift 2: From Beginner to Paid Professional in particular), I was able to build our MVP, and take it to the app store in just under 4 months.  We have a lot of features in the pipeline that we’re really excited about.  Check the app out here!

The call consisted of our team.  My roommate at the time, who was head of marketing and business development, myself (UX/UI & Operations), and our two developers.

By the time the call ended I had pulled into my driveway.  I felt defeated, and went through all the scenarios in my head over and over again trying to parse through why and how everything fell apart.  I was sitting in my driveway broke, unemployed, and now with half of a team, no product, and a quarter tank of gas.

Bummer.

I let myself be mad for about 5 minutes.  I might have yelled in my car.  I’m not sure.  I do remember hitting my steering wheel really hard.  Then instantly regretting it thinking God forbid if I break anything I have no money to fix it. Ha!

It was October 20th, 2015.

On the 22nd of October,  I flew out to Seattle with my girlfriend Vicki for an anniversary trip we had planned a few months prior.  It was refreshing to get away for a little bit, but my personality lends me to sink my teeth into problems until I find a solution.  Our biggest problem was that we didn’t have a product, and it was eating me up inside.

I called my Co-Founder on one of our last nights in Seattle and told him I was going to build our MVP, or minimum viable product.  We needed to manifest our vision for the app in some way, so that we could recruit some talent and really take this to the next level.  I hung up and realized I had no idea how I was going to do it.  I had no idea where to begin, or even what languages were available, let alone the pros and cons of each.

When I got back to California, I started doing some research.  It literally felt like I ripped off the top of a fire hydrant, and I was just getting blasted with information, swimming in a sea of data and opinions.  I finally found a few Udemy courses on swift and figured I’d give it a shot.

The first course I took felt like I was learning how to drive an 18 wheeler by playing Mario Kart.  It was a great way to be introduced to the language, but once I stepped away from the course, I was lost.  Truthfully most of it was syntax.  Many courses breeze through some fundamental syntax, which is great if you have some previous programming experience, but for people like me, it was like trying to write the next Harry Potter book while not knowing where to put periods and commas, let alone spell words correctly!

I finally found a course that really helped me understand the basics, and helped fill in a lot of the “why” to the “what.” It’s an all around, well thought out course.  I HIGHLY recommend it to anyone interested in learning swift.  The course is Mark Price’s – iOS 9 and Swift 2: From Beginner to Paid Professional

I finished the course in around 3 weeks, and felt it was time to start building our MVP.  As many developers will attest to, you really learn when you start building your own projects.  It took me a hilarious 16 hours to build the basis of my home screen, but I learned so much, and that was just the beginning.

Marks course not only taught the fundamentals of swift, but he arms you with the knowledge to ask the right questions.  There is SO much information floating around online, that once I knew generally what I had to accomplish, it was just a matter of googling, stack overflowing, and immense trial and error.

November – mid January was a bit of a blur.  I worked, learned, tested, and developed for 6-10 hours a day for 70-80 days.  And when I wasn’t doing that I was thinking and dreaming of code.  Brainstorming solutions in the shower, quickly taking notes during dinner so I wouldn’t forget when I got back to my computer, staying up late googling problems etc.  It was an all consuming, all in, caffeine filled process.

After being rejected from the app store the first time around, it was finally admitted on January 29th.  The same day one year ago our build was admitted by our other developers.  Funny coincidence.

We have a lot of updates down the pipeline, so stay tuned!

Download Fount Here

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