The Jelastic Spotlight: Checking back in with Max Matveev and Dragon Calc

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Last week, we had a chance to check back in with one of our previous Spotlight interviewees, Steve Good, and see how things were going for him since we last talked. This week, we got to catch up with Max Matveev, the creator of Dragon Calc, and see how things were going for him since we last checked in with him.

If you don’t remember, back in July, we talked with him when his app had over 100,000 downloads in the iTunes App Store and had over a 1 Million requests per day. Max is based out of Zurich and has continued work on his app since we last talked. Here is a quick recap of his app before we get to our interview with him:

Dragon Calc

Dragon Calc is an iPhone app that helps people that are playing DragonVale not only keep track of their dragons, but helps them find the best formulas and methods of getting their favorite, or most wanted, dragons. It also helps with sorting out all of the different possible outcomes of dragon breeding, sharing breeding stats and then, as a result, it is building up a community dragon breeding database.

The Jelastic Spotlight: Checking back in with Max Matveev and Dragon Calc

Hey, Max. Thanks for letting us catch up with you. So, we talked to you a few months ago. How are things going for you since?

Well. Still growing, just like Jelastic has been. My user base increased from 100,000 to about 350,000 and is still growing. Something that I really wasn’t really expecting, but that I have been happy to see. It’s pretty great.

Wow. That is awesome! Can you update us a little on your project?

There have been several minor updates to DragonCalc, and I’m about to release a new, fully redesigned version in like two weeks. I also have an iPad version currently still in development. I have plans for several other applications but I have several releases before the end of this year in my main job, so these projects are on hold.

Staying busy… nice. Can you tell us how your users have influenced your development process?

I have a feedback site that allows users to share ideas on how to improve my application. There are 170 ideas that I have closed already with most of them implemented, and only few rejected. At the moment, 70 are in my plans to implement or already in progress.

That is very cool. So since your project has grown, have you had to put a team in place to help with your growth and development?

I don’t have a team in the general sense, but from time to time I do outsource some of the jobs on some of the major freelancing sites out there. Projects that are in the roadmap are much more complex, so I do have plans to invite others to work with me. Fortunately, I have friends who (I hope) will be happy to join my team.

Do you have any new tools that you are using in the development process?

Not really. Just updated versions of existing tools, mostly iOS 6 related things.

Do you have advice for people out there trying to decide on what PaaS to use?

Well, last time we talked Jelastic was a really young platform, and I see that it is becoming mature. It is really nice to see that it has become more functional and reliable, and has been able to match the growth requirements of the my application. So, yes, I can recommend people out there looking to try Jelastic, and I believe most of those who try it will love it.

I think it’s worth mentioning that the Jelastic team proved to be very flexible, and it is quite easy to get beyond existing quotas when you need to. I faced a couple of problems, but the team quickly found workaround solutions for them.

That is really nice to hear. Obviously, there are growing pains, but I am glad that we’ve been able to grow with you. Last question, any advice for people out there considering striking out on their own and doing their own startup?

My first piece of advice is to release your product as soon as it has some minimally acceptable level of stability and functionality, and then release updates to match user’s feedback and expectations. Just because you can spend years polishing and perfecting your product and waiting for it to became the “ideal” one doesn’t mean you should. There are no ideal applications. It’s just my opinion, but my experience shows that this approach works. I can now see that my users know better than I do which way to go in the next version. So that’s how I do it, and how I recommend that other approach that.
Thanks for your time, Max.
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