Give a summary of EasyStats. What does it do? When was it launched? How much monthly revenue is it currently generating?
My name is Zach Prager and I built EasyStats.
Easy Stats is an iOS app for basketball coaches and parents who want a simple way to keep stats for their team. I launched it on the App Store in 2013 as a free app. Currently, it offers an upgrade option as an in-app-purchase which generates $1k a month on average.
How did you get the idea for EasyStats? Did you do anything to validate the idea before building the product?
I initially started working on Easy Stats while I was coaching high school basketball. My main complaint with existing apps was they were too complicated. So I decided to build one myself where ease of use and simplicity would be the main goals.
Talk about the MVP for EasyStats. What features did it have? How did you decide what to include and what to leave out? How long did it take to build it?
As I developed features I would try them out during our team’s practices and games. The immediate feedback was super helpful because it allowed me to iterate on different ideas quickly and figure out which designs worked best. For example I quickly realized the mechanism to substitute players in/out of the game was too slow and causing me to miss the game. Speeding up that process made a big difference. It took a few months from start to finish to get the first version in the App Store.
Talk about the tech stack for the MVP.
Initially the app was all Objective-C. It stored all data locally on the device with Core Data. Now there is also a backend service that runs on AWS. Right now, the app only uses the backend service to sync data across different devices. Eventually I’d like to build a web frontend so people keep stats in the browser.
The stack is API Gateway + Lambda (NodeJS) + DynamoDB. I wrote a CloudFormation template so it’s easy and fast to spin up an identical staging environment. CloudFormation is great because you can have all the infrastructure stored as code in version control.
What were the total expenses for the MVP?
The MVP had zero expenses. I only spent my time.
Talk about the founding team. How many founders? Who are they? Who was responsible for what?
Talk about the MVP launch. What exactly did you do? How did it go?
The MVP launch was pretty quiet. I simply released it on the App Store and waited to see how it went. My plan was to first see if people found it useful before spending more time developing it. Luckily, there was an existing demand for this type of app and I started off averaging several hundred downloads a month just through App Store search without doing any marketing. That was enough evidence for me to continue improving the app.
Since launch, how are you getting users for EasyStats?
I’ve tried using Google Adwords and Apple Search Ads a few times, but I have not seen much of an effect. Word of mouth has definitely been the main driver of growth so far.
How has the product evolved since launch? What features have you added? What features do you plan to add?
There have been many features added since the initial launch. A large portion have come from suggestions from users. In 2017 I had a professional designer redesign the whole app which I think has really helped. I also added a “Pro” upgrade people can buy which gives them more types of stats and the ability to sync across their devices.
How has the team changed since launch?
Still just me.
How has the tech stack changed since launch?
I still write everything in Objective-C. The backend hasn’t changed, although it hasn’t been around too long.
How have the expenses changed since launch?
I didn’t have any expenses until I added the backend on AWS. It costs less than $50 a month.
What’s your business model? How is revenue growing over time?
The app makes money when users purchase the upgrade to ‘Pro’. About 1 in 10 choose to upgrade. I’ve gone back and forth about maybe switching to a subscription model, but this works fine right now. Revenue grew over 100% last year.
Give a description of what you do, on a day-to-day basis, to run EasyStats.
I usually just answer emails until I have a good idea of what I want in the next release. Then I’ll find some time to make improvements, add new features, and release it. I usually do like two or three big releases a year.
What are the things that most helped you build EasyStats into a successful business?
Feedback from users has been the most important thing for me. I really listen to what people ask for but I also try to stay to true to the original goal of keeping the app simple. Maintaining this balance is probably the biggest challenge.
Knowing what you know now, what would you change about EasyStats’s journey to date?
Don’t build features no one asks for. I spent a long time building a feature that updated stats live on the user’s Facebook page just because I thought it would be cool. No one really used it and Facebook ended up removing the API so it stopped working anyways. It’s important to ask people before spending time adding features, it’s surprising how willing people are to give you their input.
How has your life changed because of EasyStats? Has it improved? Or gotten worse? Overall, are you happier?
I genuinely enjoy programming and building things. Easy Stats has given me a way to do something I like while also earning a little extra money. Most of all it’s both fun and fulfilling to build something that other people like and find useful.
How can one learn more about EasyStats?
Share this interview on: