Happy Monday, everyone!
We made it to Issue #49! Thank you to everyone who read last week’s issue ❤️
Newly Released and Updated Indie Apps
Here are some newly released and newly updated apps from this past week! If you would like to possibly see your app in this list, please submit your app to the look at me form 👀
Today’s Spotlighted Indie Devs
📆 Today I’m featuring Karan Pandya.
👉 Please make sure to follow them or support them anyway you can! 😇 I’m excited to share their indie dev stories.
1) What is your name? Where do you live?
My name is Karan Pandya! I live near Toronto, Ontario in Canada.
2) Introduce yourself. Education? Background? Main job? Interests outside of tech? Interests inside of tech?
I’m currently a Product Manager in a startup company here in Toronto. I did engineering for my undergrad, then went straight into working in the startup scene! Outside of tech, my interests are design (as a general lens through which I love to look at the world), health, and fitness. Inside of tech, I love (as cliché as it might sound) exploring the intersection between technology and design. I enjoy exploring and expanding my knowledge for technology interaction, interface, and experience
3) Have you ever considered yourself an indie developer?
I have, and I still do!
4) What got you started/interested in creating your own applications outside of your “normal” job?
I have always found myself most motivated or passionate when working on my own initiatives. At a point in my early twenties, I found myself in a luckily position where all of my passions intersected (health and fitness, technology and design, developing an entrepreneurial spirit), and that was how Liftr was born!
5) How do you balance your time between friends/family, work, hobbies, and indie dev?
I try to set aside time every week to focus on my apps, and do the same for other areas of my life (for example, I block my calendar if I’ve set up some plans with my family and friends ahead of time). It is definitely easier said than done, but I think small, actionable steps that are achievable on a week-to-week basis are the key to incrementally reaching a better balance :)
6) Liftr - I have such a special place in my heart for Liftr 🥰 One of the first legit apps I tried to create 8 years ago was a workout tracker. I did not succeed at the time but I still always wanted one. I have to say that Liftr is what I was imaging 😊 How long have you been working on Liftr and was your original plan and inspiration?
Thank you so much for the kind words! I’ve been working on Liftr since summer 2018, so more than 3 years! My original motivation was to build the fitness app that I’ve always wanted to use. I am very particular about design and things that I value in apps, and so I decided to create something to fit me :)
7) Liftr - I love the ability to add goals! I actually didn’t know I wanted that until I saw it 😅 Was this an original feature or something you added after using for a while? Either way, have this 🏆 for surprising me with something I didn’t know I wanted 😛
Thank you! Goals was something I added after Liftr was out in the wild for a while. After I had built and launched the original MVP, I wanted to address functional gaps that would truly improve the experience and outcomes for Liftr’s users, and being able to track specific goals was definitely at the top of the list.
8) Liftr - The catalog of exercises is so great! This is something that you’ve curated yourself? How do you decided what exercises to put into the app and what to leave you? Do you listen to feedback from users on what should be included?
I curated the entire list of exercises myself! I performed some research and analysis, to try and find the most popular exercises that were important to include. I definitely listened to feedback about missing exercises, and in my redesign of Liftr in 2020 I increased the # of exercises from ~150 to over 250. I hope to increase that again in the future, because there are definitely exercises that I know are still missing (which is why I also allow users to create their own custom exercises to fill in any gaps in the meantime!).
9) Liftr - What was one of the most difficult things you came across while building Liftr? What was something fun that you learned along the way?
It was definitely flexing into and strengthening the technical skills required in making an app! I’ve actually had a surprisingly lengthy and difficult journey with regards to my ability to code (even before Liftr and throughout my undergraduate journey), and adopting a “programming” mental model. It has gotten easier over the years however, and it’s something that’s just taken a lot dedication and consistency to tackling over the years. The entire journey has been fun though!
10) Liftr - I think one of my favorite features is seeing exercise progression and personal bests. This is definitely a fun thing to keep checking up on! But what is your favorite feature you’ve added to the app? I always like to see how users’ favorite features differ from the creators 🙃
That is a great question! I think my favourite feature is the Widget support in Liftr that I added for iOS 14 - I was able to learn a new paradigm (SwiftUI), include a new OS feature, and improve functionality of the app all at once!
11) Liftr - What’s next for Liftr?! Do you have any future features that you can share with us?
I have lots of updates that I would like to get to, and it feels like the roadmap is always evolving which is a great feeling. I think the next few releases will include smaller quality of life improvements and bug fixes. I think the next large update to Liftr will be a set of capabilities that many users will truly find useful - workout program creation and planning. No estimated release date yet, but I’m working on it!
12) What’s been the hardest part of being an indie dev? What the most fun part of being an indie dev?
The hardest part for me has been trying to “scale” the abilities of a one-man team. When there are programming issues or app bugs that I’m trying to resolve, I don’t have teammates to try and lean against. When there is a tough business decision to make, I have to figure it out and understand the ramifications. But, I also think that the hardest parts that I just mentioned also make it extremely fun to be an indie dev as well! You take on the toughest challenges, and have to face the consequences of decisions made at every turn. There are always lessons learned, and I feel like I continually progress and evolve my abilities, which feels amazing. I think this all ties together into being in control and command of my own ship, which is what I love about being an indie developer :)
13) Is there anything else you’d like to tell the indie dev community about you?
Oh yes! There is one more thing - in addition to building indie apps, I also do love making icons and helping others with their app design. So if anyone is looking for help with design (whether it be interface of their apps, app icons, or other items) I am always looking to collaborate and work on projects :)
14) Do you have any other indie devs that readers should follow / lookout for?
Too many to count! I would like to however mention some folks that I’ve had the pleasure of talking to - Philip Young, Khoa, Saw Kambampti, Amol Kumar, Shihab Mehboob, Sawyer Blatz, and Viktor Maric!
Thank you to everybody who made it to this footer! You either spent the time to read or took the effort to scroll 😊
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