The Genius Behind Grammar Snob

Grammar Snob - Puzzle London

Grammar Snob has been one of the finest Sticker packs to be released on the iMessage iOS 10 App Store. We were lucky enough to speak directly with the brains behind Grammar snob, John Haney.

Apple’s iOS 10 update saw the launch of the iMessage App Store, which has brought in wide range of different stickers, games & apps. It’s fair to say that Stickers have been one of the biggest growth areas in the App Store overall in 2016.  For those of you that aren’t familiar with stickers; they enable users to place a range of images, sayings and gif’s on images and texts.

One of the most notable sticker apps that has been released has been Grammar Snob. This sticker app enables users to be editorial whizz kids, by correcting their friends with a range of common grammatical mistakes made in conversation.

We were lucky enough to fire a couple of questions at the man behind the global phenomena that is Grammar Snob, John Haney to find out a bit more about himself, stickers and a bit of advice for budding sticker developers.

Q: What’s your backstory prior to getting involved with stickers?

“I started programming computers when I was 8 years old. I had been copying BASIC programs from library books into our Atari 800 and then started understanding the language enough to make my own. I have had Macs for the past few decades and been programming for them as a hobby all along. I got in on the App Store early and had a great success with my Flashlight app. I make apps for businesses at my day job, and make my own apps in my spare time, under the company Apps From Outer Space, LLC.”

Q: What was the inspiration behind Grammar Snobs, how did the idea come about?

“I was at WWDC when Apple first announced iMessage Stickers and iMessage Apps, and I started thinking about what novel uses you could make since the stickers can be placed on top of messages. I’d seen “stickers” in other chat apps that were basically just emoji used in place of your own messages, and Apple gave us something special with the idea of peeling them off and placing them on top of messages. My first thought was an app that would un-autocorrect mistakes I might have made in a previous message. Then I turned to the idea of grammar corrections, and I couldn’t get the idea out of my mind. I had the general plan for what I wanted to do the same week in June, and continued mulling it over in the months leading up to the iOS 10 release in September before I finally put Pencil to iPad Pro to scribble out the stickers.”

Q: You were early in the sticker store and Grammar Snob picked up a lot of coverage across titles such as Mashable & Next Web. Did you work on securing that coverage or did they find you?

They found me. I was incredibly fortunate that my announcement tweet was picked up and retweeted by some of the tech giants on Twitter. I was thrilled as I saw the likes and retweets roll in overnight and humbled when @mattgemmell and then @gruber commented on my Sticker Pack. Then the press coverage started to roll in. Then I saw some more amazing things like George Takai sharing Grammar Snob on Facebook. It was a whirlwind.

Q: Did you use paid for media to enable that initial placement in the store?

No. Folks at Apple independently chose to feature Grammar Snob a few different times in a few different places on the iMessage Store and the App Store. I’m so grateful that they liked it and gave me those features. That placement is precious and really made the sticker pack perform so well!

Q: Any surprising stories/funny stories that you’ve encountered?

I enjoyed the negative reactions to Grammar Snob almost as much as the positive. Snarky tweets like “use this sticker pack and you’ll break up with your significant other” are fun. I’ve had a few friends hear about this great sticker pack and then they got to tell them they know me. That’s been fun.

Q: You’ve launched 2 other sticker apps since, what are they and how have they gone?

My 10 year old daughter made a sticker pack from her original artwork of birds and flowers, and is aiming to fund a trip to Germany. My other sticker pack is a story world where you send the background and then peel and drag characters, vehicles, dogs, cats, whatever onto those backgrounds. I think they are both really great sticker packs but they haven’t gotten as many downloads as we were hoping for yet.

Q: What’s next for you?

I am currently working on a few next projects. First, a big update to Grammar Snob to let you make your own custom grammar stickers. Second, a refresh of some of the older games and apps that need some attention, Pond Fishing and Light Runner. I have a long list of app ideas that I want to make. The next one I’m very excited about will help you be better about connecting with your broader network of friends.

Q: Any words of advice for people creating sticker packs?

Try to find a good niche audience for your stickers to stand out. And consider doing the extra work of making an app that includes a sticker pack at your first launch. This will give you more flexibility if you do decide to provide app features on top of just the sticker pack down the road.

We’d like to thank John for talking to us and giving us insights into the brains behind Grammar Snob. You can download Grammar Snob here.

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