Dan Russell-Pinson Interview: Not A One-Hit Wonder

Posted on June 13, 2011

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My Appinions: How did you get started developing apps for the iOS world?

Dan:  Before iOS, I made several Flash games including the Tipping Point series, Block Drop and Collider.  After being a little frustrated with the process of getting my Flash games sponsored, I switched my focus to the iPhone.  I ported several of my Flash games but didn’t have much success in terms of sales.  I was contracted to create several educational apps for a client and after that I was hooked.  I created my first educational game, Stack the States, and it’s been very well received and I haven’t looked back since.

My Appinions: Why educational apps?

Dan:  I have a 7 year old daughter so it’s fun to create apps that she can play and enjoy.  Also, I love hearing from parents and teachers about how their children/students are learning from my apps.

My Appinions: What do you think it is that has made your apps so successful?

Dan: I brought everything I learned from the video game world to make games with the right mix of education and fun.  I think my educational games would be fun to play even if you stripped out the educational content.

My Appinions: Can you briefly mention some of the most memorable feedback you have received from users of your apps?

Dan: One mother told me that her child wasn’t interested in reading until they saw their older sibling playing Stack the States.  She said her child became interested in reading just so they could play Stack the States.  I also get a lot of emails from parents telling me that their kids learned all 50 states and capitals from playing my game.  Those are my favorite emails.

My Appinions: Do you have any apps in the works? If so, would you mind sharing some details?

Dan:  I have a new app about the US Presidents that will be released around June 25th.  I’m very excited about it.

My Appinions: What is your preferred mode of communication with users of your apps (Twitter, Facebook, website, etc) and do you implement their suggestions into updates often?

Dan:  I mostly communicate with my customers through email and my Facebook page.  I only use Twitter for major announcements.

My Appinions: What advice do you have for developers out there who are just getting started creating educational apps for kids?

Dan:  Make an app that you would actually enjoy playing.  Keep your costs low.  Try to make your apps as unique as possible in order to stand out.  You only get one chance to make a first impression so take the time to polish your app and make sure it’s full of great features.

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