In this the second part of a 3 part series I dive into how we we’re able to turn one mobile application in a portfolio that approached almost 100. We also discuss how the advent of cloud technologies paved the way for a new suite of opportunities for educators. Finally I talk about why I got started with the PE Geek Workshops which have been conducted in almost 40 countries around the globe.
In this particular episode we touch on the following
1. How One App Led to More
2. The most popular app we ever built
3. The cloud and how it led us down a new direction
4. Why I started The PE Geek Workshops
[00:00:28] Jarrod Robinson: Hello everyone and welcome to episode number 83 of the PE Geek podcast and as always it’s a pleasure to have you tune in now. This is the second part of a three part series that focuses in around the history of thepegeek.com website and you haven’t listened to the first part I recommend stopping and pausing here and going back to episode 82 where you can dive into the first part and then continue on with this
Now for some context, this particular series is in reaction to someone who emailed me asking to basically find out how it all begun. What sort of lessons I learned along the way writing about technology in physical education, has there been big trends that I’ve observed and I was a little bit hesitant at first to share it but in and amongst all of the different things that I
am sharing there are some big lessons, there are some big takeaways, there are some things that I have observed and it may also give you a little bit of insight into how seriously we take this and sort of how much work goes in behind the scenes to bring to life all the various things that you hear from me because a lot of the time people ask me how do I get so much done, how do we get so many podcasts out there, different websites and blog posts and
all mobile apps and all sorts of things and this will share a little bit about that, but it’ll just point out some of the trends that I’ve observed along the way and the story of the PE Geek Website is very much a story of those trends and those different things that we’ve observed along the way. So if you haven’t listened to part one, go back, listen to that first and then continue on with part two. Hope you enjoy.
Now in part one of this series I spoke a little bit about how I got started, my interests, the background in terms of signing up for the website and getting my first ever spam comments that inspired me to continue to write. But along that course, you know, I eventually made an eBook and then I resulted in building my first ever app and at that very same moment, that very point
in time the iPhone was really exploding in popularity, app had become word of the year in and amongst that time period. And I sort of realized that there was a lot of opportunity to build apps to serve people and help them do something a little bit easier. So the first app we built was super simple, it’s still on the store, and I used my own money to make that happen and then eventually we got to a point where people had
purchased the app enough for me to get back my funds, so I was back to square one and then I ended up making a small amount of profit and most people here might think great, stop whatever, but I saw that there was a plenty of opportunities to build more apps. So I took those profits without listening to any of my advice from my family who said, you know, that was great Jarrod you should maybe just focus on building that first one
and that’s it. It’s too much of a risk. And I didn’t, I wasn’t going to listen to that. So I went out and I built Step Test which was my second app which did a very similar thing, another fitness test and eventually I got the money back from that and I kept doing this process over and over and over again where I would get back the funds from making one app and I’d roll them into the next one. And as a result I kept building more and more complex mobile applications
and eventually we got to Easy Assessment, Easy Portfolio. In the early days they were pretty much the only assessment and portfolio apps that existed on the store and Easy Portfolio went on to win awards across a variety of different industries and still on the store now and still used by lots of people but other mobile applications have come out since then that do what Easy Portfolio did but in a more cloud-connected world.
So that really leads into the next part of the journey, in the early days of mobile apps they were very isolated, they were very, an app did one function and it did it only on the device that you were doing it. So Easy Portfolio for example was a portfolio tool that you captured and all the information went to your one device. And in and amongst this period of time something magical happened and that was the
abundance of cloud-connected applications that started to appear in the world, we had Dropbox and we had Google Drive appear in there at this stage. And everyone started to look for tools that meant that they could work on one device and pick it up on another device and another device and another device and all of this made possible by this amazing cloud connected world that we have. And in and amongst this we started to look at how we could build
tools that leveraged the fact that the internet was really the driver in all of this. And we got started building a couple of web based applications, so you may have heard of those, Active Globe. We built one called Sports Tracker which has been really received by the community in Australia because it’s mostly an Australian solution and also Vidalyze which is our cloud based video analysis tool. So in and amongst this is
an obvious lesson in where technology went, it went to the cloud, it went to always connected devices. And if you look at many of the tools that I talk about now on the podcast they all have a cloud based connection that makes them possible and makes them infinitely extendable and all of those things that we sort of focus on as being the cornerstone of the successful apps today. And that really connects with
what I spoke about before.
Now in and amongst all of this journey we actually had a couple of really successful mobile applications that weren’t cloud connected, they were the Balance It, Jump It, Work It, Stretch It. Those applications have pretty much been the bedrock for us in terms of allowing us to generate enough revenue and enough income for us to be able to do a whole host
of things. So all of the stuff that we do costs a lot to make happen. Our website for example, the hosting that it’s on, sending emails to almost 25,000 people, that costs a lot of money. Mobile applications are not cheap, the average mobile applications anywhere between sort of $4,000 to $10,000. So all these things cost and they all cost money to continue to build and the thing that made that all possible was
pretty much a couple of applications, Balance It, Jump It, Easy Portfolio, Easy Assessment, they’ve been pretty much the bedrock for all the things that you see. And I love the fact that you can build something that people find useful and valuable and then those exact funds you can release to building other projects and supporting other projects and that’s always been our mission.
Now in and amongst this whole time period
something else happened and the thing that really changed the game for us in being able to see a global perspective of technology has been the workshops that we’ve ran to this day in around about 40 different countries. Now as I was starting to build some mobile applications for myself and starting to use a lot of them in my practice a lot of people were beginning to explore them also. And in order to do that they
wanted some support and assistance and that led me down the path of eventually doing workshops in different countries and eventually starting to run my own workshops, the PE Geek workshops which you can see at thepegeek.com/events. And out of everything that I do whether that’s online, podcast, blog posts, webinars, build apps, whatever it may be the absolute
favorite thing of mine is to run workshops. And that is, you know, thirty to forty people in a room for the day, we focus on the use of mobile applications in iPhone, Android, etc. in the classroom practice and I love it. Apparently the people who come to them do as well and you can see every person who’s ever replied to our feedback form over at thepegeek.com/testimonials. And it’s, it is, it’s the number one thing
that I do in my PE Geek website which is run those workshops and I absolutely love it.
Now in and amongst all this time period I’ve been sort of juggling the full time teaching arrangement, so pretty crazy workload in terms of going and working full hour, you know, full eight hours a day, the travel in and amongst that and then coming home and then also having to
explore the website and all that and emails and things that we were getting. And as a part of this it just got to a point where I had to actually take on other staff to help me. Now this is probably, a lot of you probably aren’t even aware of it, but this podcast for example is not edited by myself, the minute I hit record on the podcast and then stop recording that goes away to a team member who actually edits it, uploads it,
posts it on the website for you. Blog posts for example, I always sit down and write these out in Google Docs and then a team member will go ahead and put those on the site and publish it and make the graphics and do all the different bits and pieces that you see.
Now the reason why I value that so much is because I’m able to get a lot done by removing out all the different things that get in the way. So a number of people have emailed me saying they don’t know how I do it
and the reason I’m able to do so much is because I don’t do anything. The only thing I do is actually focus in on building content, running the workshops, doing the stuff that only I can do. And I think there’s a lot of lessons in there, a lot of people are doing things that they shouldn’t be doing, whether that’s you’re a teacher and you’ve decided that you would like to explore teaching a new activity or a new game or whatever and you go out and spent
twenty hours becoming an expert and an instructor in that when you could have just leveraged someone on the internet to do it for you or you spend the next twenty hours trying to work out how to use a new software package when you could hire someone and they would have done it in five minutes. So there’s a big lesson there. For me the ability to hire staff that are existing around the whole planet was the complete game changer. It meant that I could continue to work, continue to do the things that I was doing,
and meanwhile everyone who was emailing us, the 300 or 400 emails that we would get a day were being handled and all the content that we’re able to produce was able to keep coming out and it meant that we were able to keep doing the thing that I love more than anything.
So in and amongst this time period I’ve realized that PE and technology is something that I love more than anything. However what we do at the PE Geek is only really one component
of the phys ed experience. And I sort of realized that we were only really serving one part of the audience and that was people who were interested in phys ed and technology which is what I love. So in part three I’m going to share with you how Connected PE came about because they’re very much connected, they’re very much the same thing, connectedpe.com is another website that we run, another podcast. And it is very much the umbrella that sits
over the top of the PE Geek website. And I’ll also pave how the Connected PE conference came about, the Connected PE community and all those different aspects that you may have heard of recently. And I’ll also shed some light on the future and where this is all headed in terms of the podcast and the PE Geek website and all those bits and pieces.
So hopefully you found this little background story interesting, it’s definitely something that
you can look at and look back through as a catalogue and know the history of where they’ve sort of progressed from now and the real lesson here is the advancement in the technology that have happened in the background that have made it all possible. So our podcast became possible because of the fact that everyone was carrying mobile apps that they could listen to podcasts on. Our apps became possible because of the fact that everyone was having mobile applications on their devices, our workshops
became possible because we were building mobile applications and people needed training around those. So everything has snowballed from one to other. It hasn’t been this great forethought in it, is that even a word, foresight in the whole process, it’s really just been something that we’ve been passionate about and continue to be. So and we just love the fact that people enjoy learning about this stuff as much as we do. So in part three we’ll dive into the final piece of the puzzle which is Connected PE and the plans
for the PE Geek website in the future. Speak soon!
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