French developer, Matthieu DUCROCQ, says he’s always been passionate about wine, which led him to develop a desktop app for wine enthusiasts called Open Cellar on Desktop a few years ago. By day, the 27-year-old programmer works for what he calls a French “computering company,"and at night he’s an indie developer. He recently introduced his first iPhone app called Open Cellar.
1. What made you decide to develop your iPhone app?
Since the iPhone was confirmed a real success, I decided to develop Open Cellar on this great platform. Basically, I thought about a free release at the beginning. However, I had to invest with my own founds for the SDK and the computer to be able to develop it. My real aim is not to have a ‘mercantile’ approach, but really to refund my own investment on this release. Moreover, I am working hard to improve such concept with new wine like ‘Be wine Connected Video’ to enrich the pleasure of wine lovers. Of course I understand that it takes some times to offer full irreproachable services nut I am doing my best and will carry on to offer new releases.
2. What is it that you think differentiates your company from other App Store developers?
I do not own any company, but did convince thousands of Open Cellar on Desktop users through the last years with my individual project. My philosophy is not to compete with other wine cellar offers, but truly to upgrade the present software through Open Cellar users advises and requires.
3. Tell me about Open Cellar, your app. How did the idea come about?
I did have the idea 4 years ago through a simply talk with my uncle who was seeking for a wine cellar software on desktop. He had try few commercial software, but was really disappointed with most of them. Through his own experience, I decided to make him a ‘surprise’ and to offer him this wine cellar software. Then, I decided to propose it to anyone on Internet, and I was really pleased with the worldwide success of Open Cellar.
4. Your app is priced at $3.99, which some people might think is high
in the App Store where there are so many apps for $0.99 or free. What was your price justification?
All the desktop software releases are free – Mac, Linux and Pocket PC. My personal financial investment for SDK and Mac was around 3000 dollars.
5. There are now 50,000-plus apps in the App Store. How can yours get the attention it deserves when there's so much competition, distractions and noise in the App Store?
[It’s] not easy for an individual wine developer like me to make the difference with real commercial products that are marketed professionally. However, Internet and iPhone community can help a lot for that. That is why I decided to mail you while your first written impression can become a real nightmare for my opportunity to convince English iPhone users.
6. You have a social networking component to your app. How difficult is it to engage the participation of your app's buyers and to build a community?
I do already have an international community through my desktop releases. Through the iPhone, Open Cellar iPhone users can use a gateway to reach wine data information shared by my internet users. Of course I will very soon upgrade such possibilities, i.e. wine labels database, comments on specific wines, get in touch with Open Cellar users though new iPhone OS options. Such developments take some time to be available.
7. What do you think of the new 3.0 SDK? Got any ideas who you might change your app to take advantage of all the new features?
I am thinking of many new options, i.e. networking tools, Google map to introduce some kind of wine map, etc .
8. Do you plan to release your app in Nokia, Blackberry and other app stores?
Considering the time I invest on these four platform to carry on with new features and answer my user suggestion forbids me to think about new platforms yet. But why not in the future....