March 24, 2016

Pulling Farmanac from the app store

Farmanac sales graph showing downward trend

After five years I’m sorry to announce that I’ve decided to remove Farmanc from Apple’s app store. It’s been nearly three years since the last update and in that time iOS has gone from iOS 6 (with skeuomorphic visual design) to iOS 9 (flat design). The app now looks and feels out of place in the operating system and amongst the other apps.

While I’d love to spend time updating its visual look and feel, designing new interactions, and working with my engineering partners to build it all, the economics of it simply don’t add up. App sales were decent the first few years – totalling a few thousand dollars each year – but sales significantly dropped off over the past two years.

There are likely multiple factors for the drop in sales. First, I haven’t been able to devote any time to marketing or drumming up media (essential for any successful app). But, second and more significant to my decision to discontinue development is the broader economics of the app store. These days it’s very difficult to make a profit selling apps, especially for Farmanac whose existing business model relies on an upfront purchase of a couple dollars.

Farmanc may be reborn in a future incarnation but as this chapter ends I’m happy to reflect on a journey filled with opportunities to learn. From diving deep into mobile design patterns for both iPhone and Android, to playing a marketing role, and, most profound, the respect and knowledge I’ve developed for the interplay between software development and the business plans which allow it to thrive.

Finally, a big thank you to everyone who purchased Farmanac, wrote a review or simply encouraged me in its development. I’m grateful for your support. While Farmanac is no longer available for download, if you have it installed, it will continue to work (just don’t delete it).