Saturday, April 21, 2012

iGenapps MyApps - What not to do if you're a startup.

I have been interested for the past two days  in an app that has shown great promise.  My Apps is an app from a company called iGenApps available for the iPhone that promises to change the landscape of iPhone programming, by bringing self-made apps to the masses, without the need to learn cumbersome code.  The app is available for $1.99 at the app store and its 3rd iteration was brought into the light by a road show that took the web by storm this week.  At a demonstration at a conference, appropriately named DEMO.COM,  the company was able to show how easy it is to develop a rudimentary application on the iPhone and make it available as a web app for usage by anyone to whom you email the web address.   

I actually stopped dictating my charts after I saw the demo on thursday and proceeded to drop 2 hours into creating an app that I've been toiling over for my call group.  In the space of 20 minutes I was able to create the app that I had toiled over in Objective-C for months.  Granted the UI was relatively generic and standard, it was perfect for what I needed it for.  And 20 minutes would have been all that I needed to create, distribute and sing the praises of this app until something went terribly wrong!

I was unable to see a preview of my app.  I tried several times, but could never get the chance to see what my app actually looked like in the wild.  I tried different things, even having one of my partners sign up and recreating the app through their account. But to no avail, the app would get stuck in trying to do a preview.  I knew that I was not alone when a few other users started mentioning this on the comments section of the App store.  So I sent an email to the company, followed by a message to their Technical Support team (which the app stated to use) and then on Twitter.  Despite all three modes there was no response from the company.  Tweets on Twitter from other users were not useful, with a plethora of retweets supporting the view of how much of a game changer this app would become.  But it was obvious that none of the people tweeting had actually used the product.  There were no negative tweets except my own.  I assume that the company, an obvious startup, had become oblivious to the negative comments in the App store since they were on their road tour .

I would like to assume that there was oblivion and that the company was completely unaware, because the deafening silence was essentially disturbing.  I managed to see the wonderful reviews on the App store go from 5 stars for version 1.02 of their software to 1 star for the current version 1.03.  I obviously wished that I was privy to the earlier versions.   This is a problem for startups that I have seen on several occasions - How to communicate with your customers when things go wrong?  And quite honestly, I think that this is probably the worst thing that could have happened to iGenApps.  Imagine being the leaders of a company, performing an incredible demonstration, wowing the internet community, even stopping a physician in his tracks from dictating so that he could look at this sensational app, only to have a server go down.   With such worldwide attention, it would seem that even if there was a disaster on a server, the company would get ahead of this and mention it in a tweet or on their web site.  Apple does this!

As of this writing a few people have written that they have received word that there is a server issue at iGenapps and that it is directly affecting the Previews.  It is hoped that they will correct this by the end of this weekend.  But the real problem here is that we are finding this out through other users who are lucky enough to get an email.   This is not a good idea for a company that is poised to be a game changer.   Other companies are using Twitter or at the very least, releasing server updates on their website.  But this deafening silence is awful.

I personally see this company and its product as game changers.  I think that there will be more companies coming to the forefront who will do the same, if not better, but IGenapps needs to improve on its ability to communicate with its customers if it is to lead in this nascient category.


  1. I received a tweet from iGenApps confirming that, as many of us suspected, their servers are down. According to the tweet, they are hopeful to get it back up on monday.

    I am rooting for this company despite this short coming. I think that the product that I have seen demonstrates a very important avenue of change. I will be posting a very detailed product review once this app works as advertised.

  2. Hi iPhone Doc. iGenApps have fixed the issue with the servers during the weekend like they said. I know it was frustrating not to see the preview of the apps but they finally fixed it and now I can generate the app I had created at that time. I didn't lose anything. It was just frustrating having to wait a few days but the money was well spend for what I need to create.

  3. Sounds like the hurdles of a brand new start up receiving an avalanche of new users. I'm glad they fixed it quickly, my apps are responding fine.

  4. Do you know if apps created by iGenApps can be sent viewed and downloaded on most other platforms, I have also been looking at a programme called and am waiting for an answer from them about the same issue. Have you reviewed or know about this programme.
    I run a magazine in Spain and want to use QR codes in the magazine to link to a simple app that can be viewed correctly on most platforms without additional costs!
    Thank you for your time.

  5. I have not had the opportunity to use APP.CAT, but it looks interesting. Unfortunately, it appears to have the same limited attachments as iGenApps does. I think that if you are using this app to promote your company then it should work either with iGenApps or App.Cat. iGenApps is cross platform because it is predominantly HTML, JAVASCRIPT and you are actually just creating Web Apps. For what you want it to do, you should be able to do that. I have spoken to some of the guys at iGenApps and they reckon that if you know a little Javascript or HTML you can program some things in, but remember the app is server side dependent and not phone dependent. Hence you may have difficulty trying to get it do anything on the phone itself (ie. Read a QR code).

    In my discussions with them, they do offer the ability to make native apps, but you have to turn it over to them and that is where things get a little murky. They don't exactly quote you a price until you tell them what you want done. I think you know where that goes.

    Overall, if you just want to flaunt your company, iGenApps will work well. Until they come out with some more robust add-ons though, you may have to go through the old-fashioned channels. Hope that helps.

    And thanks for reading. Good luck with the magazine and if you get a chance let us know about it and how things turn out.



I will be trying unmoderated comments for a while. If this gets ridiculous, then I will have to move to moderating the comments once again.