1. Startup

Interview with Thomas Arie Setiawan on Darisini Directory App

Darisini directory app which just launched for iOS platform gets a warm welcome. It is proven by the fact that it’s still on the top ten of Top Free for App Store Indonesia. Darisini, according to one of its founders, Thomas Arie Setiawan, is an app that has a feature to find the closest location from user current location to destined location.

The development team consists of three people: Firman Maulana, Fredy Sujono and Thomas himself. Interestingly, Darisini, according to its own founder, is a weekend project, not a specific project that consumes time. After iOS, Darisini will be present for Android and Windows Phone platforms.

Since launched for the first time, Darisini already has 1500 data entry related to the topics of hospitals, drug stores, coffee shops, public transportations and other retail shops. We got the chance to talk with Thomas Arie through an email about Darisini app and other crucial things regarding Darisini’s future. Here’s how it went:

Question (Q): Congratulations for Darisini launching. So far, Darisini is still on the top ten of Top Free App at App Store Indonesia. Is there an actual data on how many have downloaded it so far?

Answer (A): About the download statistic, as per May 28, 2012 (data statistics app): 4,068 download (the total from App Store Market Indonesia: 3,900).

Q: Darisini is free and ad free, how about the monetization plan, at least for the operational? There are many cases of this kind of directory app that eventually has to close down because they couldn’t afford the operational fee.

A: It’s true that currently (and in the future), we will distribute Darisini app for free, and ad free. Today, we (as app creator) feel that advertisement is kind of annoying. We once tried (on the appearance concept) with an ad inside, it will disturb the user experience.

Related to the monetization plan, we indeed have a plan, but not from the user. We don’t have the plan yet to, say, releasing a paid or free version, which may be one of revenue stream.

Of course there’s operational fee, and from the beginning, we already have a scenario so everything can be measured (server, design, etc.) and efficient. There’s operational fee, but still in the amount that we can manage.

Our monetization strategy (I’m sorry that we can’t reveal much, yet), is indeed for business with comfort, concept and feature as the main core in the development.

Q: So far, Darisini’s database is collected manually while information out there is growing. How long it will be kept that way or is there a better way to optimized it other than user generated content model?

A: True, currently we manually collected the data. The user-generated content concept has come to mind, but we feel that the cost for maintenance would be too high. We don’t want to be busy keeping the content in order. User participation is, of course, in the milestone, but location adding by user is not our first or second priority. Maybe third or fourth.

User participation is planned to be brought out in another form.

About adding location, we are in the middle of dealing with partner (I’m sorry, we can’t tell about them yet) for data source. With partnership, we will be able to present more locations (category and amount) in several big cities in Indonesia). And, we can add the location by ourselves so the data will be more valid, development is measureable.

Q: It is mentioned that Darisini will also be present for Android and Windows Phone. When is the product be launched for each platform and how about the difficulty level (application making) for each platform?

A: At the beginning, we wanted to make an iOS app with one simple reason: Us three (Firman Maulana, Fredy Sujono and I) are iPhone users. From technical side, everything is made easy. Other than technical conditions which related to execution, for example about screen resolution, OS, built-in features, etc.

On the development for the iOS, we were involving some beta testers which happened to use different devices. During that period, we acquired feedback to provide for Android. Currently, the Android version is under development, and we will also support OS 2.3 and above. There is also a plan for Windows Phone, but maybe after the Android version.

Of course, problems are unavoidable. One of them is about preference (obviously) :)

But we take it back to the basics. Also on the development concept is how we try to make a data architecture that is expandable, consistent and optimal. So in the next development, we don’t have to do major reconstruction.

Q: On Windows Phone platform, there’s already From Here app from Armanovus that has similar features, how to distinguish Darisini with similar apps?

A: Before we decided to make Darisini app, we’ve tried many apps (especially on the iOS). We like Komutta on Android, or even Google Places. There are, of course, apps like Locality, FindNearMe, FindNow, NearMe, Spotdokter, From Here and PomBensin, the later is an app from Pertamina.

Many of them (but not all) utilize Google Maps as their data source. User decides on GPS location, search based on category, doing query to Google and acquire data. Many times we got a result that was far less from our expectation.

From here on, Darisini app is trying to do a different approach. It’s true that we also utilizing Google Maps, but in the context of looking for a location and finding a route. This may be what made the development took such a long time to finish. If there is a location with inaccurate information in this app, we can edit it. Changing/adding data can be done easily.

That’s an excerpt of our interview with Darisini. Generally, we are impressed and feel helped with the existence of such app. We hope the development for other platform will be smooth so Android and Windows Phone users can enjoy its benefit. If you have a question for Darisini’s developer team, please feel free to leave it on the comment box.

Note: Interview transcript has been through editing process without lessening any means.

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