Saturday, December 18, 2010

Out with the New, In with the Old

With 2011 nearly upon us, it's time to look back and plan ahead.

This past year was a year of ups and downs. It brought the release of the long-awaited iPhone app, while seeing the Android version finally removed from the market (see note below). The year introduced me to a lot of great wine business owners looking to engage with their customers, while also showing how much time is required to do this well. It was also a year of learning what is required to grow a small business, while clearly demonstrating the need to keep the growth manageable. 2010 was a fantastic year!

This new year will bring some changes to Wine by the Bar. I'll be going back to the roots of my idea and focusing on using barcodes and the increasingly popular QR codes. There will be a lot more effort devoted to cleaning up the website and the database that drives the wine searches. I'll also have a chance to evaluate what technology is best to get back onto the Android phones and tablets.

2011 will also be less about growing a business and more about enjoying the dream. This shift doesn't come without cost, though. The app, for the first time, is not free.

I struggled a lot with this decision. On the one hand, it has been my goal to provide a free utility that the wine businesses themselves would support financially. Businesses expect, rightfully so, a level of support that I am not comfortable committing to right now. I am, however, comfortable delivering a consumer product myself that will improve with regular updates. Charging for the iPhone app seems like the best solution to let me focus on delivering worthwhile software to everyone.

With that, I'll raise a toast to lessons learned and future success!

Note: While the Android version is gone from the market, it is my sincere hope that 2011 will see its return. Technology may be at a point where I can (finally) write a single app to support multiple phones. Cross your fingers!