Approved! Want a free app??

Apple was kind enough to approve our app last week after we made some minor tweaks to it. And Frypan is pleased to offer it up to you for free today.

The Minneapolis Skyway app, for the iPhone.

The approval process was pretty simple, and the dudes at Apple worked pretty quickly. Both times it took less than a week.

What I didn’t realize is that when it is approved, it goes straight to the App store, for free. Which is cool. But we wanted to dial in the last bit of Marketing, and release it a week later (today). Some of you have gone through the “Developer Removed From Sale.” Luckily it was pretty simple to put it back on the App Store. Here’s how we did it.

1) In itunes Connect, click Manage Your Applications

2) Click the App you want to put back in the App Store

3) Click Edit Information

4) Click Pricing Tab

5) Check all the stores where you’d like your app to be available. Mauritius was an important market for us, for obvious reasons.

And that’s it. In less than two hours it was available in the App Store, and at about 4 hours it was searchable in the App Store and online.

I’ve got to Thank our most awesome developer, Jane Mitchell of Rainbow Rabbit. She’s poured a whole lot into this thing, to make it very cool and to work beautifully! She’s a fantastic developer and designer, and an awesome human!

From day one, we wanted to make something that would be valuable to both the fine folks who call Minneapolis home, while promoting the wonderful merchants who make a living in the Skyway. I feel we really accomplished that, and hope you guys think its as cool as we do!

Oh, and it looks very fresh on the iPad.

Cool story done by my new friend Anthony Carranza of Examiner.com. Check it out here !!

Frypan

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Rejected!

Our first submission was rejected by apple. I am sure it had something to do with the app being way too awesome, but Apple insisted;

“Minneapolis Skyway cannot be posted because it is a feature-limited version. Free or “Lite” versions are acceptable, however the application must be a fully functional app and cannot reference features that are not implemented or up-sell to the full version.”

Sounds to me like they are having a tough time wrapping their brains around such an advanced app. Its been tweaked, and waiting review again, but in the meantime check this out!

Our very lo-fi, lo-budget promo vid:

Tools for the vid –

1) Flip Mino HD – Previously Owned – Free
2) Simfinger by Atebits – Free
3) iShowU HD Screencast by Shiny White Box – $29.95
4) Psychic City by Yacht – $0.99

Total Cost of Shameless Self-Promotion – $30.94

Frypan

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Mobile March!

It helps to know what you are good at and what you are not. It in turn helps to have little brothers who can pick up the slack. Thanks to Robby Holley, we were able to create a fresh business card for Frypan Digital. Five days and $72 later, through the help of Overnight Prints, we had one thousand business cards ready for distribution.

I gave one to my wife and one to my mom which left me with 998. Who to give em to next? Mobile March! If you are into mobile technology, this was the place to be. If you have no idea how to develop, like myself, there was a great Mobile Business track where only half of the stuff discussed went over my head. On top of all of the speakers discussing the newest, latest mobile trends, it was a prime place to network and meet locals with common interests. One new contact, and proud recipient of business card #3 was Steve Borsch of minnov8. They are devoted to showcasing Minnesota’s best in internet and web technology and have a very cool website you should check out.
Besides trying to build a super cool app, our main objective was to set out and learn as much as we can. We’re definately doing that.

Business Card Design: Dinner for Robby @ Saffron(dope!)
Business Cards: $72.00

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The Minneapolis Skyway Open

Every year in the Minneapolis Skyway, the Downtown Network hosts The Skyway Open. The Skyway Open, sponsored by US Bank features 18 one-of-a-kind putt-putt holes by various local architect and design firms. The cool thing is, the whole event goes to benefit the Boys and Girls Clubs of the Twin Cities.

Frypan Digital thought it would be a great event to be a part of. We considered sponsoring a hole, but were short a few thousand dollars needed for the corporate sponsorship (see: all of our blog posts, to see why). Instead I contacted a director of the tournament and let him know that we’d be interested in contributing any way that we could.

Well the good folks managing the tournament were kind enough to let us volunteer at the registration table on that Friday. They let us work two shifts that night (6 hours), which was very cool, in exchange for letting us leave a couple fliers out at the registration table promoting our app. It was pretty good self-promotion, and we met a ton of really cool people, many of whom expressed good interest in the app. Sweet !

The thing we weren’t prepared for of course was actually designing a flier and then getting them printed. I was assuming it would cost a few hundred dollars just in printing. I spent an airplane trip from Florida to Minnesota designing the flier on Apple iWork’s Pages. They had some really dope templates to choose from. So I knocked it out.

Spending a lot of time in the skyway, I remembered a few printing companies, so I thought we should leverage and promote those businesses in the printing. I called up Alphagraphics and spoke with the owner, David Skinner, who turned out to be a super cool dude, and very eager to help. We asked that he print us a couple hundred fliers, and in return they could print their logo anywhere they wanted on it. Well I called David on a Monday, and he said, “There will be 2000 waiting for you down here on Thursday Morning.” Right on Brother! No cost. The quality was awesome, and they printed both sides; back side was a one page add for Alphagraphics in the Skyway. A great connection, and a great act of generosity on behalf of Alphagraphics.

Cost of fliers: $0.00

Frypan

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Image Is Everything

Isn’t that what Andre Agassi used to say, somewhere between Brooke Shields and a crystal meth habit?
andre

Well, we needed to find an image. An image for which to build the Minneapolis Skyway App. Initial research left much to be desired, but gave us a building block. At the very least we needed a primitive guide to the eight mile maze in order to begin logging the hundreds of businesses…..and one public bathroom. Seriously, if you don’t want to have swing into Arby’s to buy a French Dip and Swiss Combo for $5.01 in order to get a bathroom token, you might want to check out the Minneapolis Skyway App. If not, you can pick up the App later and map your workout in order to burn off the 1100 calories you just slammed to get into the john. Back to the image, here is where we started. Our initial image we were running with was this one from the University of St Thomas.

Not exactly our everything, but free and good enough to get us logging some mileage and familiarizing ourselves with the belly of the beast.
We discovered the skyway has some maps of its own that were updated in July 2009. It really only complicates matters, especially when blocks are divided into buildings that aren’t clearly designated or marked. Where are you in that circle? Do they think you are the State Puff Marshmallow Man? Are you at the Orchestra Hall? Convention Center? or maybe you are somewhere at then end of the dotted line where it reads, “you are here.”

As we continued to log data through the skyway we stumbled upon Minneapolis Geographical Information Systems, or GIS. Destiny? I think so. They provided us with an image that is everything we needed to make a custom map fit and feel right for our mobile application. Check out our little preview of it below, and check the full version on the soon-to-be Minneapolis Skyway App.

Cost of Cartography: $135.79
Frypan

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Minneapolis Skyway App – For the iPhone

We are very pleased to introduce the Minneapolis Skyway app for the iPhone. Not in the AppStore yet, but we’re darn close. Coding is 90% complete, Design is 90% complete, and a large part of it rests on Apple’s shoulders once we officially submit it.

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The very talented Jane Mitchell of Rainbow Rabbit, having lived and worked in Minneapolis for a number of years, quickly grasped our vision. She knocked out a perfect design, and we’re pretty pumped to release this thing. Jane’s designed a number of other cool apps too; Shopaholic, Pet the Cow, gScale, and my favorite, eMaze.

emaze

The Minneapolis Skyway first opened in 1962, connecting the city’s first mixed-use building, the Northstar Center, with Northwestern National Bank across Marquette Avenue.

skyway

It has often been compared to a “habitrail for humans,” very similar to habitrail for hamsters. Every day hundreds of thousands of people use the Minneapolis Skyway; business professionals, travelers, vagabonds, street performers, and sometimes even Prince.

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Most professionals know how to get from their parking spot to their desk, and a few favorite lunch spots. Most suburban shoppers know even less than that. And out-of-towners are almost completely in the dark. The few maps scattered about are few and far between, not to mention dated. I mean, is the Target Center even still there? But at its very core, the Minneapolis Skyway is a thriving pedestrian, socio-economic ecosystem, replete with banks, clothiers, hotels, art, music, jewelers (LOTS of jewelers for some reason), food, and of course, PEOPLE! Oh, and our favorite hot dog stand, Franks a Million.

We hope our App will help you explore this crazy second story world with ease, whether you’re just looking for a super sweet gold chain, or want to browse the permanent Dale Chihuly Macchia exhibit at 225 South Sixth.

chi

The Skyway – By the numbers

Blocks : 70
Miles: 8
Bridges: 78
Businesses : 1000
Condos: 2000
Hotel Rooms: 4000
Pedestrians/Day : 200,000

Skyway Apps: 1

Frypan

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Networking in 3 Steps – Landing a Developer

Step 1: Network

I’ve been working in the IT industry for a little over 5 years, primarily as a recruiter, for a company in Minneapolis called Concord USA (be sure to contact Concord for any of your Data Management, Integration, or Enterprise Architecture needs!!).

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As a commissioned employee, I learned early on the importance of a strong network. Networking 101 in my book is defined as such: Reach out and connect with as many good people as humanly possible, establish a good relationship, and they’ll want to hopefully do business with you in the future.* Concord has given me an opportunity to do that every single day. It was through this work that I met the developer of our iPhone App, Jason Blood.

Step 2: Engage

Jason is one of the best .NET resources in the Twin Cities, and worked for us at Concord’s largest client at the time. The project was a huge success and Jason continued to land cool contracts at great clients around the Twin Cities. I’d reach out to him from time to time, just to stay in touch. Luckily, it was our connection on LinkedIN that informed me he was building iPhone Apps; he just finished developing uCook.

I called him to share our idea, and asked him if he’d like to be involved.

Step 3:
Do Deals

As a local Minnesotan, Jason quickly understood the vision for our app, and expressed interest in the development. Since we didn’t have a bunch of dough to throw at a developer, it was important for us to find a local resource with intimate knowledge of Minneapolis, and to structure a deal that could reap nice rewards for all parties involved, with minimal initial investment. For Jason’s fee, he agreed to a profit share, essentially a 50/50 split of all sales revenue.

ps

This seemed more than fair to us, we didn’t have to pay a large sum up-front, and it assured us that Jason would give the development close attention, as he had vested interest in the success of the app.

*A common side-effect of networking = Getting connected to more cool and talented resources. Jason introduced me to Jane Mitchell of Rainbow Rabbit, who I’ll write more on later, and who is finishing up the design of our app.

Total development Cost to date – $0.00

Frypan

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