Jason Fried on 37signals Launch of 1st iPad App

June 29, 2010

7:36 am

We were excited to hear that 37signals had launched it’s first iPad application called Draft. The application is very much a sketch pad that can be used to jot down or whiteboard out anything your creative heart desires. The images are then captured and can be sent to Campfire or sent somewhere else via email. We reached out to 37signals founder and co-author of REWORK, Jason Fried (@jasonfried) with a few questions about the application launch.

What was the inspiration of the Draft iPad app?
We build things because we need them. Before draft, sharing quick design sketches involved paper, a sharpie, a scanner, and then an email/upload to the tool of choice. Draft cuts out all the tedious steps. We just sketch in Draft, click the “Share in Campfire” (or email) button, and it’s sent off in seconds. It’s a significant workflow improvement for us.

How long have you been working on the product?
A few months on and off. We worked with the guys from Overcommitted on the project. They did the backend work, we guided the design and overall vision for the app.

At $9.99 how did you figure out pricing on the app?
For us, pricing an app like Draft is an opportunity to experiment and learn. Many iOS apps are either free or priced at a buck or two. You don’t learn much if you price your app at $0.99.

Further, this is a very niche side project for us – we’re not going to get rich off Draft one way or another. We’re also not interested in market share when it comes to something like Draft. So, we decided to limit our overall user base by pricing it on the high side. We’d rather have 1000 people at $10 using Draft instead of 10,000 at $0.99. Same revenue, lower costs, more profit. Fewer resources are required to support 1000 customers. That feels like the right balance for an app like Draft.

Lastly, we believe it’s definitely worth $10. For me, personally, it’s worth a few thousand dollars. I put a high value on my time. I’m very aware of the cost of daily hassles. So $10 to remove tedious steps from my daily workflow is the deal of the century.

In the end it’s up to everyone to determine their own price/value threshold.

Where do you find yourself using the Draft app the most (use case or use cases)?
I use it every day, many times a day. Whenever I design UIs, I sketch first.  Draft is on my desk all day. It’s in my iPad dock, front and center, so I can tap, draw, and share in a matter of seconds.

I still use paper too, but when I know I want to share something with someone, I reach for Draft.

Download the Draft iPad Application

Draft in Action

Draft in Action

Photo Attribution: Jason Fried by Jeremy Keith

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Frank Gruber is the cofounder, CEO and Executive Editor of Tech.Co (formerly Tech Cocktail). He is the author of the book, Startup Mixology, Tech Cocktail’s Guide to Building, Growing, and Celebrating Startup Success. He is also a startup advisor and investor to startups. Find Frank Gruber online and follow him on Twitter at @FrankGruber.

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