Recently, we were able to interview Laura Laban, co-founder and developer of Infinite Flight
What made you want to create Infinite Flight? In other words, what is the story behind it?
It’s pretty simple, I was an engineering student, fan of flight simulation (Microsoft Flight Simulator, Flight Unlimited 2/3 were the ones I used at the time), and I always wanted to write my own one day. In 2004, I started writing one for fun in my spare time. After a few years of working on it, then moving to California to work for NVIDIA, a friend and I decided to join forces and make this hobby an actual product. 2 years later, Infinite Flight was out on Windows Phone, and one year later on iOS.
Flight simulators with such realism are rare on mobile. Why was Infinite Flight able to do what others could not?
One key aspect is that I and other devs are users of the product. It started as something I developed for myself and that I’m passionate about, that’s a prerequisite to a successful business. If you like what you do, and do it also for you, mountains are easier to climb. I don’t think others couldn’t do what we do, we just timed things right and listened to our community.
Before big updates, I usually see that people put lots of pressure on the team. How do you deal with such pressure from the community?
Keep our heads down, carry on fixing bugs and try not to take things too personally.
With such a large community, how do you make sure that everyone is satisfied? Why is it important to engage with the community?
We can’t satisfy everyone. We try to balance features and progress as much as we can to make it fair for all our categories of users. Engaging with the community is key in this endeavor, to know where to steer the ship.
What has been the biggest hurdle that you had to clear while running/starting Infinite Flight? What lessons have you learned from it?
Jumping from a safe career into a startup environment is tough. Though it’s gotten a lot better lately, app store submission process is high on that list too
I know there are 3rd party apps for Infinite Flight. Have these developers had any impact on Infinite Flight? If so, how?
It’s hard to measure, but I think they have an impact yes. Closed flight sims never survived long as the developers constantly had to keep them alive with new versions. And historically, those iterations couldn’t come as quickly as what we can do on mobile devices today. What third party devs provide is an extension of what we do, they allow users to enjoy things we haven’t had time or thought of implementing.
Being a company on app stores, how has this changed Infinite Flight’s business model, as opposed to a flight simulator like X-Plane, where they have access to the computer world? What marketing techniques have you found successful (that you would like to share) for mobile app based companies?
Mobile is different than PC. It’s more of an instant world, quicker sessions, faster play, etc… Historically too, mobile games were cheap, either free or $0.99 so users perceive them as inferior, cheap and not as well polished. It’s changing now with bigger companies coming into this market. Many of our friends who were in the gaming business back in 2012 are no longer there because of this drive to make their app free, riddle them with ads and try shady tactics to make their users pay.
Our approach is more honest, we have set a price, it’s not free, it works, there’s developers, artists behind it that want to keep this project going for many years. We want our users to know we’re not here for a quick buck and our history shows that.
In terms of marketing technique, we haven’t really done much outside of social media and making a good product people enjoy and talk to their friends about.
Since Infinite Flight has been a team effort, what qualities do you look for in a person when choosing whether or not to add them to the team?
Maturity, entrepreneurial spirit, independence, humility, ability to debate their opinion and a passion for what we do
Where do you see Infinite Flight in a couple years from now?
Closer to reality
And lastly, what advice do you have for other aspiring entrepreneurs out there?
Learn to context switch. Don’t waste the downtime you have, one hour here and there add up at the end of the week, month, year and your project will keep advancing. Also, starting a business for the sake of making money isn’t the right mindset. It’s too fragile of a goal. Find what you’re passionate about, try to start slow and don’t raise money if you don’t have to.
If you want to learn more about Infinite Flight, you can find their website here. To read our last article with QMS Consulting go to this link. If you’re interested in the most recent business secrets, check out our Business Knowledge page.
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