Business Startup Week 6: Outlime and a Crash Course in Marketing

Last week saw the launch of my first Android app, Outlime to Android Market. Outlime is built for designers to quickly sketch ideas and designs on their Android phones. It's intentionally minimalist, staying out of your way so you can just keep sketching ideas.

Outlime Screenshot

Quick Interface Design Sketch in Outlime.

Outlime can load your camera snaps so you can sketch right on them! This is great if, for example, you want to sketch some ideas on a website design - just snap it on your phone, sketch the changes, and share to your co-workers.

Thanks to Android's built-in technologies, your sketches can be shared instantly with friends and co-workers through any appropriate app installed on your phone (GMail, MMS, Bluetooth, Facebook, Twitter, etc.).

Outlime in Android Market

Outlime published in Android Market

Outlime was inspired by 37Signal's Draft for iPad. Before launching, I contacted 37Signals (in the spirit of good coding karma!) to let them know about Outlime. I got a great, positive response, and was very pleased to release Outlime to the market last Tuesday. Depending on demand, I may release an ad-supported, limited free version. I was disappointed to discover that Google's AdSense for Apps isn't yet available to UK developers.

Outlime costs just £1.29, and is available now from Android Market. If you have Barcode Scanner installed, just scan the QR code below to go straight to Outlime

Outlime QR Code

Scan the QR code with your Android device to install Outlime via Android Market

Marketing 101

One thing that's become apparent with the release of both Amberleaf and Outlime is the need for better marketing. A great book that was suggested to me is Rob Walling's Start Small, Stay Small, which I bought after being recommended to Rob's site through Twitter.

Start Small, Stay Small is full of useful and (most importantly) practical tips for building good marketing behind web apps. It's aimed specifically at small, startup software developers, and after the first few pages I was hooked, finishing the book in a couple of hours.

At the back of my mind, I've been aware of falling into the trap - building an app; launching it; and completely missing the marketing. Before reading Rob's book, I'd found little practical guidance on marketing software apps. The advice from Start Small, Stay Small, and other resources I'm discovering, has been a great eye-opener.

Inspired by Rob's advice, I've made a few changes this week. I signed up to MailChimp for managing my mailing list, and began making some changes to the Amberleaf site. Switching to a dedicated mailing list provider was a relief, as I'd previously relied on a woefully inefficient combination of Google Mail and a spreadsheet! You can sign up right now here:

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I'm looking forward to trying out some new marketing approaches for Plymouth Software, and getting Amberleaf better known to the web developers for whom it was originally designed. I'll also be submitting Amberleaf's upcoming new page designs to Rob's Startup Lens site for feedback.

What's Next

With Outlime out in the wild, this week's plan is to focus on Amberleaf's updates and continue developing its marketing. I was also pleased to read that Rails 3.0 has been released. I've been working on a smaller project to learn Rails 3 in preparation for upgrading Amberleaf to the new framework.

About Amberleaf

Amberleaf is a tool for web designers and developers to manage their domains and hosting accounts. Signing up takes a few seconds, and includes a 30 day free trial. After that, it's just £4.95 a month with no minimum term contract. Check it out today at

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