A brief history of time…

Zaz Ali

Time is relative. 15 minutes waiting for a stuck District line train (“minor delays”, really?) feels like 15 years, whereas 15 actual years ago was just last night, right?

“As in life, so in software development”…as that well known saying goes. Here at Quin, we release a new version of the app to our users every month. To anyone from a software background, that is laughably slow. But to most people  in the medtech industry, we’re eyebrow-raisingly fast. So what are we?

Perspective matters

To our users, we’re confusing. One release, whole screens have been redesigned! But the next one…umm, maybe they’ve added that button? A month’s work in software isn’t always visible and the most complicated things to build in code are often hidden under the hood. So even as the problems we try and solve get more complex, and Quin’s algorithms become more intelligent, to our users the visibility of our progress is sometimes lacking.

This manifests in different ways. It could be a drop off in engagement, as users stop returning to an app which isn’t conspicuously adding value to their lives, or responses to a survey that tell us our users don’t think we’re doing enough for them.

The impact

This can be disheartening to a development team. To know that we’ve spent the last month working on something that our users don’t even notice. Sure, it will create value for them down the line, but again there’s that question of time. At a startup, who knows if we’ll ever get to that point on the line?

There is no easy answer. Well, actually there is – build quick, easy features that look good and map to what our users have seen before. “We’re like <insert generic logging app> but with a better colour scheme!”

Easy comes, easy goes

The thing with easy answers is that they answer easy questions. And the questions that remain unsolved around diabetes are hard. Hard to answer – but also hard to identify in the first place. At Quin, that’s what we spend our time doing. Hours at the whiteboard, figuring out what the tough questions are and figuring out (even tougher) solutions to answer them.

So forgive us if all you see is a button. We promise you, there’s a lot more going on underneath.

We’re always looking for more people to help us improve our app. If you own an iPhone, use MDI therapy (Multiple Daily Injections), use a CGM (Continuous Glucose Monitor) that shares data with Apple Health (Dexcom G5 or G6), we need your help. Find out more our research programme and help us create new science.


Zaz Ali