Three Lessons from a Free Mobile App

  What's it like to create your own app (or create anything and put yourself out there)?

Here's one brave woman's experience.

Guest Post by Sarah Prager


I had the idea in the back of my head for years. Like many of the ideas we all have, I had barriers holding me back. But one day I decided to say “so what?” to those barriers and do it anyway. The results of that decision have taught me many lessons.

The idea was for there to a mobile app that would show events from today’s date in LGBTQ history. For example, on November 3 it would show that Harvey Milk was elected on that day in 1978. Earlier this year I launched a fundraising campaign (supported by Dillan) to be able to pay some app developers to create and design my app, Quist.

This is where my first lesson came in: Put yourself out there and amazing things will happen.

Just when I was feeling discouraged that it didn’t look I was going to raise enough, a stranger – someone I had never met, never emailed with, never even followed on Twitter – donated over $5,000 towards my $6,500 goal. Just to be nice, just because he thought it was a good idea, just so the app could be made. He wasn’t a history buff or a member of the LGBTQ community and wanted nothing in return. I cried with disbelief and gratitude. Being the recipient of this act of kindness was a major transformative moment in my life.

I went ahead with the historical research and hiring the development firm. It was a side project in addition to my full-time job and two small businesses of my own. I stayed up late and got up early working on the app. That’s when I learned my second lesson: You can do it all, for a while. I don’t know how, but I made it work. I was a machine with enough passion and determination to add this in on top of everything else. I found out I could handle more than I thought I could. Working on Quist was a seven-day-a-week job and nothing – not personal, financial, or professional troubles – slowed me down.

Of course, the third lesson is that you can’t do it all alone. I felt like I was getting it all done, but there way no way I really could. My friend Tracy, my wife Liz, my dad Rich, my sister Alex, my brother-in-law Ben, my sister-in-law Carolyn, and my friend Kristin all helped out with Quist, either for free or for the equivalent of less than $5.00 per hour. I realized that I have a lot of people who will be there for me in a real way if I just ask and that it’s OK to ask. I already knew I was a very lucky person, but this brought it home.

These lessons might be clichés, but living through learning them in just six months transformed me. I hope that Quist will help others with their own lessons that can be taken from LGBTQ history, like you’re not alone and things do get better over time. That’s just the beginning of what it has taught me.

Download Quist for free in the Apple Store or Android Marketplace. Learn more about the app at and Learn more about the author, Sarah Prager, at and read her other writing at