Back in the day when I was getting into cycling, although I didn’t know what to expect, I knew one thing for sure: I had to pick the bike with the right frame. It didn’t take too long until I found myself inside an ocean of parameters because I came to notice that bike frames had many attributes alongside the size. One of them was the angles of where the parts meet each other and depending on these, the bike would give you a different ride experience like a comfortable one, or an aerodynamic one, and such.
I was serious, and I had to pick not just any frame, but the best for my needs. Well, there was a problem: Not every buyer or seller cared about every detail, and I wasn’t able to find all the details of the frames I was looking at, more specifically, the angles within the frame body.
So I came up with an idea: How about I make a small app that’s just for solving the problem at hand: Measuring the angles on a given photo. Did I do that right away? Yes. Did I use it for measuring angles on bike frames? Yes. Did I get the “best” frame for myself? No, but that’s another topic. What followed all of these is that I decided to put that app on the app store. It was awfully primitive, probably had the worst UX ever, and the code behind was… Catastrophic, to say the least. But I wasn’t expecting anything, to be honest. It was a small effort for me to publish and I would be more than happy if it just helped someone, somehow.
The app was being downloaded and used over the years, but I wasn’t getting any feedback, although that was fine. The thing about the internet is that it’s like a sea into which you throw your bottle with a note. You don’t know what will happen to the bottle, or if someone will ever read your note, but most importantly, whether you’ll ever get a response. Because we all fetch other people’s bottles, but we don’t always respond.
Well, after 3 years, I received a bottle. It was from a senior who presented himself as “a blue-collar guy or laborer” who had an injury at work and would never be the way he was. He had to measure the angles of the stairs he fell to see whether they match the industrial staircase requirements. He wanted my help because he thought that he was not educated in this discipline although it was a simple calculation (I told you that the app UX was horrible). He wanted to pay me for my service but I refused since I was more than happy to help, then he asked for a charity that he can donate to instead. I was just a guy who uploaded the app he built for himself, and not only did I help a handicapped senior from the other half of the world, a charity was getting a donation because of me! I was speechless.
If I had taken a perfectionist decision, I wouldn’t have released this app. If I hadn’t spared the small amount of time to put this online, I wouldn’t have released this app. There were so many reasons not to release it, but I did it anyway, and it took only one person to make me appreciate my decision.
I have 3 other apps on the App Store alongside Angles in Photo: One app for cross-multiplication (yes, I made an app for that, and yes, people use it), another one for checking the glycemic index of a food (I was quite obsessed with my nutrition once, we’ve all been there), and another one that I built when Safari was getting very slow on my old iPhone so I decided to build the simplest web browser that doesn’t do 1000 things in the background. Some of them have advertisements to help me pay my bills, but they’re all free to use. People do use them, and people do give feedback, although I never show the care I’m supposed to – but that’s the whole point, and if I was obsessed with that, I wouldn’t have kept them online, and no one would be using them.
You might not always appreciate what you do, but that shouldn’t mean that other people won’t. If they won’t, you won’t lose anything, but if they do, then you realize that something that’s too little for you might mean a lot to someone else.
Oh, I had another feedback for Angles in Photo, saying “Helped me get through my divorce”. I can’t imagine how that happened, but, there you go!