OneKey has exceeded thousands of downloads. It has been featured on top charts (2nd in HK, 7th in JP etc). However, I was unable to make sufficient profits (because the cost exceeded the revenue).

What are the reasons that led to this “failure”?

  1. I was not solving a problem.
    My initial reason of making OneKey is simply because I thought the keyboards I made are good-looking in comparison to Apple’s default keyboard. The unique selling point of my app, is only customisation. But is customisation really a problem? I think not.
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  2. Too many competitors.
    My app is a paid app, while other keyboard companies are making their app for free. Which one would you choose? I bet for the majority of the people, it will be the free one. Unfortunately, for individuals like me with limited budget, simply cannot compete with those companies. A good example would be SwiftKey, with fundings over millions of USD.
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  3. I had the wrong focus.
    Instead of focusing on functions of the keyboard, I focused more on the appearance (partially because I’m a designer). However, this is obviously not an appropriate approach. I did not realise the fact that keyboard is a day-to-day use app — so with poorer functions compared to Apple’s default keyboard, why on earth would anyone purchase my app?
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  4. Lacked market research.
    I did not realise that the Apple App Store is decreasing in popularity. I did not notice that there is a trend of people adopting the freemium price model. Nor did I notice that I am creating an app in a market that is already mature (or technically, saturated).  These are the consequences for not doing market research beforehand.
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  5. Outsourcing issues.
    I outsourced for programmers because I had to reduce cost to the minimum. However outsourcing has caused numerous problems for OneKey: a) quality was very poor; b) deadlines were not met, which caused 8 months of delay; c) work was not accomplished so I had to hire another person to finish the remaining codes. Lesson learned: Keeping things cheap is one thing, but maintaining quality is another thing.
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Even though I was unable to make profits from OneKey, I don’t view this project as a failure. Rather, I view it as a valuable lesson for myself — I’ve gained experiences, skills, and knowledge, and hopefully, these will be lead me to success in the future. I will leave OneKey as it is right now (Ver 2.0), no more updates. Thanks to all my dear friends and OneKey supporters that made OneKey possible! =D