John MacAdam

Responding to Negative Feedback

Oct 19, 2018

I publicly released my first mobile app on June 24th, 2012. It was an exciting moment for me! I received my first customer feedback the very next day. Here is the email:

Your app SUCKs I want my dollar back
Sent from my iPhone

Well, that hurt. So many emotions went through my mind:

I wasn't sure what to do. Part of me wanted to respond with a rude rebuttal. Part of me wanted to apologize, help him get a refund, and hide the app. But I resisted the urge to react immediately.

After stepping back, I took the email for what it was: feedback. Negative feedback, yes. But at least I was getting some feedback. It was up to me how to move forward.

Responding to Negative Feedback

I eventually responded to the email explaining my future plans for the app. And I asked a few questions to get more feedback. He was nice enough to engage in a conversation about the app. This conversation, and others like it, were insightful. Here were real people using the app and sharing their opinions.

Since then I have released 24 updates to the app. None of these versions have been perfect. Each version has generated more feedback, some positive and some negative. This feedback continues to help me make the app better.

Six years later the app is still going strong. It has sold over 12,000 times. Customer #1 might not have liked it. And I don't blame him. Instead, I'm grateful for his early feedback.