How to create the perfect app

Asana for Android or How I Got to Know the Co-Founder of Facebook

May 7, 2012 by Gabriel Machuret

This article, by Pavel P., comes from a Russian Tech website, and is translated and reprinted with his permission.

In the fall of 2011, a new and ambitious task management system named Asana was born. Asana was created by Facebook Co-founder Dustin Moskovitz, and it quickly became one of the most popular task management systems around. I wanted to use it on my Android phone, but at the time Android Market had no offering. The only apps that used the keyword ‘asana‘ in them were yoga apps. The mobile web interface was original and innovative, but it was missing functions, and there were some usability issues.

Asana mobile web app opening screen
It occurred to me at this point that any time a web service opens, if you plan to use it, you should check in Google Play. If there isn’t an app there, then there’s likely to be a market for that app. Moreover, if it’s a popular service, and you can make a great mobile app client for it, you can even charge for it! I didn’t want to waste any time, so I immediately used AppsGeyser to create a proof of concept. After just an hour, I was ready.

I had:

  • A mobile application for, which opened its native mobile interface.
  • Icons, screenshots, and descriptions for this app
  • A Developer account in Google Market (Play)

I put it all together, and started selling the app for $0.99. (I would have sold it for less if Google Play allowed me to.) Then I went to sleep, and pretty much forgot about it. Three days later, I discovered I had sold more than 40 copies. It’s great to make money, but I was curious to find out who was buying. It turned out that one of my first customers was founder Dustin Moskovitz. Apparently, he had his Google Alerts set correctly.

asana android app users

Right away, I sent Dustin a letter, telling him that people really need a mobile Android client. He wrote back right away letting me know that they were interested in my statistics, in finding out if there really is a market for an Android app.

Asana email from Dustin Moscovitz 1

After this exchange, I decided to make the app free, and refund all of the money that people had paid up until this point. After a few months, there were 40,000 installs, and 10,000 active users. Dustin was finally convinced that there was a need for an Android client. He asked me to rename my client to the “unofficial Asana App” because there were bad reviews. I couldn’t really improve my app since Asana didn’t yet have an API. I asked Dustin when to expect the app, and he was evasive about an exact date, but he did promise me an app by the end of the year!

asana email Dustin Moskovitz 2

My conclusions:

  • If you have a popular web app, don’t forget about your users, monitor the demand for mobile apps, and don’t wait for someone to build an app for you and start earning your profits.
  • There are some really interesting ways of getting contact information of successful people in your industry.
  • There are ways to make a company change its priorities, if you’re creative enough to show them that there is a need to fill.

After my communication with Dustin, the number of active installations has increased, but I will be withdrawing my app from Google Play in order to avoid any conflicts with Asana.

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