Small Business Spotlight of the Week: Juicy Bits

Don’t worry, I’m not turning the crowdSPRING blog into smut. This sounds dirtier than it is. If you’re disappointed, you probably know where to turn on the internet to get find what you were looking for.  If, dear reader, you find yourself not discouraged, read on.

Juicy Bits, quite simply, creates awesome apps for iOS (iPhone, iPad and iTouch) systems. Though I’ve already promised my first iOS app download to these guys, Juicy Bits definitely has laid claim to second and third app purchase.  I’d choose Spy Pix, which allows users to build in decoy pictures to photo albums and send encoded messages via email. I’d also be sure to nab 3D Camera. All you have to do is take a right and left angle photo and then choose how you want to view your 3D photo. They’ll even hook you up with 3D glasses to make viewing more fun.

You get the picture (ha!). Mike took some time to explain the actual creation of Juicy Bits, not just the cool services they provide:

How would you explain what you do to somebody’s grandmother?

Fortunately, the popularity of the iPhone and iPad has made this much easier. Apple has also done a great job making sure that everyone knows what an “app” is. So: Juicy Bits makes apps.

What made you use crowdSPRING?

I’m a geek who has a passion for good design; I’m not a designer (there, I’ve admitted it!). I created a very basic Juicy Bits logo for the public web site, but I was never completely happy with it. I first heard about crowdSPRING in a 2008 TechCrunch article, and I thought it was such a great idea, that I bookmarked the site for future use. When I started to consider the logo redesign, I looked through many of the crowdSPRING projects and saw that there were many excellent designers submitting work. That’s when I decided to give it a try.

What was your biggest learning curve/experience?

This is a tough one. Juicy Bits is the culmination of years of experience, and it takes advantage of almost everything I’ve learned. As a result, it fits me like a glove. Maybe the biggest thing I’ve learned is that you can’t fixate on the competition when you’re selling apps for a dollar or two. People don’t check Consumer Reports or do a lot of research when deciding to purchase something that inexpensive. Most of the purchase decision is based on visibility and impulse.

What’s the craziest story you have from starting your own business? 

This is the second time I’ve started my own business, and most of the crazy stuff happened the first time around. But, it has been crazy to hear from people about how they use Juicy Bits apps. For example, I’ve had the opportunity to talk with folks from Pixar, Hasbro, Kodak, NVIDIA, and many more. Some of them are fans of the apps, and others write to talk about possible business opportunities. Apple created a large cardboard version of one of the app icons and featured it in the window of their physical stores. That was definitely crazy cool to see.

What are some industry specific challenges you faced? 

Initially, the biggest challenge was learning a completely new way of writing software. After that, the Apple app review process in its early days could be a very frustrating process (it has since improved tremendously). Finally, getting an app noticed among the 500,000+ currently in the store is a constant effort.

If you could go back, would you do anything differently? If so, what and why?

Many people who leave a company to start their own business will tell you that they wish that had done it earlier. For my first time around, that was definitely the case. It’s difficult to leave a stable job and paycheck for something that depends completely on your own abilities. To truly feel alive, though, sometimes you need to struggle a bit. For Juicy Bits, I already knew that I should start earlier, so I didn’t hesitate nearly as much.

How do you see your company growing in the future?

Juicy Bits is an opportunity to do what I love. Of course, it also needs to pay the bills. J Ideally, I don’t want to hire any full-time employees, and I’d like to remain completely self-funded. Growth for me is building new apps with new capabilities. That means that I’ll continue partnering with other experts, vendors, and services like crowdSPRING. I’m not kidding when I say that services like yours make it possible for a one-person company like Juicy Bits to affordably purchase quality design services.

What’s your working relationship like now with the crowdSPRING designer’s project you chose? 

I had a difficult time choosing our final Juicy Bits logo, because three of them were solid favorites. All told, our project had over 300 submissions! The interaction and feedback with the crowdSPRING designers was fantastic, and it led me to consider logo possibilities that I simply would have missed or overlooked. The final logo is now proudly at the top of the public web site and has been integrated into other advertising, hoodies, t-shirts, and more. It’s starting to make its way into the apps too.

Six words of advice to those looking to start their own company. 

Don’t wait. Do what you love.

Juicy Bits’ call for a new logo received 305 entries.