Archive for the ‘Celebrations’ Category

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 24th, 2011

On behalf of all of us at Oceanhouse Media, I wanted to send a brief update and a huge “Thank You” to our customers, partners, and supporters!

Karen and I started this business in January of 2009 at a time of uncertainly for our family. We had a vision of building a digital publishing company, but we did not hold rights to any content. We choose to embark anyway. Along the way, we found tremendous support from customers, reviewers, fellow developers, teachers, parents and incredible license partners. Recognizing all of the support that we have received from the community, we are humbled and grateful.

2011 has been an amazing year. Back in January, we announced the sale of our 1 millionth paid app. We’ve subsequently added close to a dozen license partners, grown the team substantially, and moved out of our house and into a beautiful office space.

We are learning just how much our apps are impacting people and their lives. For instance, some of the email messages we received from the parents of children with special needs have brought us to tears. Each story that we receive reinforces the knowledge that we are fulfilling the work that is expected of us at this moment. It is incredibly rewarding to know that our efforts are impacting the world in such a positive manner.

We are honored to have the opportunity to work with great license partners. We are thankful that they have entrusted us with incredible content. We are committed to delivering ever higher quality interactive experiences as the technology evolves. And, wow, do we ever see the technology evolving quickly!

On a purely personal note, Karen and I love how we are able to share our journey with our 3 year old and 18 month old daughters. They are some of our best app testers! Also, spending quality family time with the girls is the single best way to re-invigorate me and remind me why we work as hard as we do.

So, as we celebrate Thanksgiving I simply wanted to take a moment to extend a warm “Thank You” from all of us at Oceanhouse Media.  Without you as customers, partners and supporters, we would not be able to do all that we do.

Please accept our best wishes! May the coming holidays be filled with good health, peace, love and laughter!

Sincerely,

Michel Kripalani
President, Oceanhouse Media


We Received the High Tech Award from TechAmerica!

Monday, October 31st, 2011

On Friday, we attended the 18th annual TechAmerica Awards luncheon, which celebrates San Diego’s most innovative technology companies. We were honored to received the High Tech Award in the Software Category for our work on children’s book apps for mobile devices. We’d like to thank TechAmerica for putting together this wonderful event, we had an excellent time and were pleased to connect with many local businesses. We also want to thank all the families who bring our apps into their household. Your feedback and support keep us motivated to continue innovating the reading and learning experience as technology evolves.

“We’re extremely honored to receive TechAmerica’s High Tech Award for our work in developing interactive children’s book apps that help teach kids to read. “We’re committed to bringing more beloved children’s classics to the app market with educational features that promote literacy in the youngest of readers at the touch of a screen.” — Michel Kripalani, President of Oceanhouse Media.

The rest of the crew, back at the office celebrating the good news!


Thanks A4CWSN!

Friday, August 12th, 2011

Last night, we received a “Developer of Distinction” award from our friends in the Apps for Children with Special Needs community!

“The “Developer of Distinction” is awarded to the Best of the Best. Developers who make Apps that serve our community of Special Needs and Education. Apps that work flawlessly and developers who listen to what we have to say about how to improve or add to their Apps. These Developers have extensive and open Social Networks and are always willing to listen, answer questions and give advice if asked. They communicate with our community and often show their support by providing promotions throughout the year. They work tirelessly to make better Apps and are always looking to provide the next App that will be beneficial to our Children. The Winners of this award are chosen by the Facebook community of a4cwsn, consisting of Parents, Teachers and Therapists. The community is almost 5000 strong.”

Thank You!
We are so thankful just to be part of this community and for all of you who share your stories with us. We love to hear that your families enjoy our apps and are learning from them. The incredible support and positive feedback we receive from you inspires us and keeps us motivated. We love to create fun, innovative and educational apps, and we thank you for joining us on this adventure. Right now we are working on some exciting new features that we hope you’ll love. We’ve really enjoyed getting to know so many of you on Facebook and we look forward to many more good times! Thanks Gary for bringing all of us together. Your energy and enthusiasm is contagious. ♥

 


BlogHer ’11 Highlights

Monday, August 8th, 2011

I was lucky enough to attend BlogHer ’11 last Friday which was hosted here in San Diego, California. I had such an amazing time and met so many incredible people from all over the world. Here are the highlights!

I started the day at the Newbie Breakfast and Welcome where I met awesome mom bloggers from Life Well Blended, Motherscribe and Twofer Mom. Then, I just had to check out “Minding Your Own Business | Bad Blogger Pitches,” which was moderated by our friend Liz Gumbinner from Cool Mom Picks. The session was very informative and also light-hearted and full of funny stories. . . I learned a lot of good tips on what not to do! I was also very happy to meet up with Lori, a local tech blogger from WellConnectedMom.

Lunch was an especially fun part of the day and not just because of the great food and great company. There we were enjoying our meal in the beautiful upstairs pavilion, when suddenly music started playing and a flash mob broke out right next to us. Here’s some video I caught of the action!

After lunch, I visited with our good friends Shannon Rosa and Jenny Alice who helped host the Special Needs Mini-Conference. There, I enjoyed chatting with some fellow app developers who share our enthusiasm for creating fun, positive apps for children. It was also great to meet up with Leticia from TechSavvyMama who was sharing all of her techie knowledge at the Geek Bar.

The Voices of the Year reception was my favorite part of the conference. There were many fun and interesting people there and I probably met almost all of them! I really enjoyed hanging out with Katrina and Katie from FabFitFun, Thara from RebelMom, and of course all the HTC girls from Seattle. Everyone at the reception had a chance to write about what inspires them on a big canvas HTC phone. You can’t see it, but I drew a big heart and wrote love inside :)

Thanks to all the coordinators of the event, the sponsors, and the event staff. Everything about the day was truly wonderful. And of course, thanks to the awesome people I met. I’ll see you online!

And to the flash mob ladies, if you’re reading this, I’d like to get in on that next year!


Welcome to San Diego, BlogHer ’11!

Thursday, July 28th, 2011

We’re thrilled that BlogHer ’11 is coming to our hometown of San Diego, California, August 4th-6th. San Diego is also the long-time home of the great Dr. Seuss, where he was inspired to write many of his beloved children’s books that Oceanhouse Media now adapts as interactive mobile apps. BlogHer ’11 features a compelling lineup of speakers, a variety of creative workshops, and let’s not forget the fancy roof top parties . . . so many moments to capture on camera!

That’s why, as a special welcome to all our blogger friends, we’re offering BlogHer attendees a FREE Cat in the Hat Camera app to bring to the conference on their iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch. Whether you’re a foodie, or a techie, a mommy blogger, or a fashionista, use this playful camera app to capture fun conference memories and share them with your friends.

To request a free camera app, simply leave a comment on our Facebook page with a link to your blog. **Good while supplies last**

Also, we’ll be down there on Friday the 5th, and would love to meet up. So send us a message and let’s hook up!

Thanks for stopping by and we hope you have an APPsolutely fantastic time at the conference!

Want to review an app? Bloggers interested in reviewing our children’s apps can send us an email requesting a promo code for a specific app, or ask to be added to our press list where they can get promo codes for new releases.


Check out our new office!

Monday, July 18th, 2011

We’re very excited to announce that we have moved into a beautiful new office in Encinitas, California. Over the last two and a half years, we’ve gradually been expanding our small team and it was finally time to get a bigger space. We looked at a lot of offices and were thrilled to find this one which is open and spacious, has a lot of natural light, and is just blocks from the ocean. We wanted to share the photos below with you.

Getting set up in the new office

As you can see, we still have a lot of organizing (and decorating) to do, but so far things are really coming together. Today, we set up a nice reading room where we keep a lot of our current projects. We’re also setting up a voice over booth where we’ll record the narration for our omBooks. Our team can’t wait to get settled in and start creating fun new apps!

Our reading room :)

Beautiful atrium where we have lunch

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The BlogHer conference is coming up August 4th-6th, so if any of you are going to be in town, don’t forget to stop by and say hello. We always have good snacks!

Oceanhouse Media's new home (not the whole building)

 


Happy Father’s Day, Pop!

Thursday, June 16th, 2011

All of us at Oceanhouse Media would like to wish the fathers out there a very happy Father’s Day! To celebrate, we’re hosting a promo code giveaway for one of our favorite beginners omBooks, “Hop on Pop!”

“HOP
POP
We like to hop.
We like to hop
on top of Pop.
STOP
You must not
hop on Pop!”

Enter to win this app for your iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch by leaving a comment below telling us what you love most about your Pop! :)

I’ll start: What I love most about my dad is that he is really supportive of everything that I do, and I can talk to him about anything. (Aaw)

By the way, the Hop on Pop omBook is also available for Android devices on Amazon’s Android Appstore, The Android Market, and on your NOOK Color.

Ok now it’s your turn. What do you love about your dad? Good luck, and have a wonderful Father’s Day! And remember, no hopping on Pop this weekend, he deserves a break once in a while!


Interview with Oceanhouse Media

Tuesday, May 10th, 2011

Written by The iPhone Mom
May 9, 2011

*reprinted with permission from The iPhone Mom

September 2009 was the first time Oceanhouse Media was featured on this website. Back then their primary focus was motivational apps, following the motto “Creativity with a Purpose.” Then just a few months later I received word of a little app called “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” and just like that Oceanhouse was releasing beloved Dr.Seuss classics into the App Store. I say “just like that” but of course there’s more to how it all worked out! I’ve watched from the sidelines as Oceanhouse Media has taken off and is now responsible for bringing so many beloved children’s titles to life with this new medium. I recently had a chance to ask Michel and Karen Kripalani, the founders of Oceanhouse Media, some questions about their company’s journey.

**Tell us a little bit about yourselves.

Michel: Karen and I launched Oceanhouse Media in January 2009. We found that our combined skills and interests helped a great deal in the creation of our app development company. I come from a software and visual arts background, whereas Karen comes from marketing and entertainment. I’ve run two software companies before and I seem to have entrepreneur blood running through my veins. I love building and working with small, motivated, passionate teams.

Karen: Michel and I met in January 2006 and were married in August of that same year. In addition to working together, we’re also raising a family in San Diego with two happy little beta testers of our own! As parents, we’re able to see how our book apps are enjoyed by young children everyday. I love focusing my talents and energy on both Oceanhouse Media and my family. The two go so well together. As Director of Marketing, I oversee the day-to-day marketing and public relations for our company. I’m also in charge of casting and directing the voice over sessions for all of our omBooks (Oceanhouse Media digital books).

**What were you doing before you began developing iPhone apps? What was the reason you made the jump into development? How did you get started?

Michel: I have a visual arts degree from UC San Diego and have spent over 20 years in the software industry. My first business right out of college was MOOV design, where I developed and programmed the world’s first interactive CD-ROM magazine, Verbum Magazine. Two years later, I started Presto Studios and created high-end video games for 11 years. We developed such hit titles as The Journeyman Project series and Myst III: Exile. From there, I was Director of Business Development at Autodesk for four and a half years in their entertainment division. This position allowed me to travel worldwide. I acted as a liaison to Microsoft, Sony, Nintendo and other game development studios. During the global economic crisis of 2008/2009, I was laid off from Autodesk. It was a bit of a shock, but I was ready to have my own business again, this time back in software development. I had been playing around with the iPhone since it was introduced in 2007. When Apple announced that app developers could sell their own apps in 2008, I knew this was exactly what I wanted to do.

Karen: My background is in business, acting and photography. I have a marketing degree from Fordham University in New York City. Prior to getting married and starting Oceanhouse Media, I spent several successful years in Los Angeles as an actor, writer, spokesperson and photographer. I’ve traveled the world working with National Geographic, USA Network, Fox Sports and Canon Cameras. I am a people-person so I love building relationships and overseeing the PR for Oceanhouse Media. And being involved in the voice work for all of our apps not only fits perfectly with what I’m trained to do, it’s also a lot of fun bringing some of my favorite childhood books to life for my children to now enjoy in digital format.

Michel: Oceanhouse Media’s first app, Bowls, originated from an idea that Karen had to create Tibetan singing bowls as a way to inspire a relaxation. We were looking for an app that would take advantage of the iPhone touch screen. Swirling your finger on the rim of the b owls to get them to resonate just so unded fun. The app still sells very well for us. We like to call this “our little app that could.”

**Can you tell us abou t the “evolution” of Oceanhouse Media? How did you get from the titles you were originally working with to having access to Dr. Seuss’s library?

Michel: Building on the early success of Bowls, we approached Hay House Publishers, creators of best-selling self-empowerment titles, and s igned them on as our first licensor. From there, we added more licensing partners, with things really taking off when we secured the rights to turn the 44 classic Dr. Seuss titles into digital book apps through our agreement with Dr. Seuss Enterprises. As a UCSD alum and local businessman, I had been asked to sit on the board of the UCSD Libraries back in the 1990s. The main library on campus is the Geisel Library, named after Ted Geisel (Dr. Seuss). I asked for, and was able to get, an introduction to Dr. Seuss Enterprises through a connection with the head librarian. For Christmas 2009, Dr. Seuss Enterprises allowed us to develop a number of apps based on How the Grinch Stole Christmas! We were able to illustrate what we could do and subsequently were given the opportunity to expand the deal to include all 44 Dr. Seuss books. As of today, we’ve developed omBooks for just about half of the collection. Our goal is to have all 44 omBooks available by the end of 2012.

Oceanhouse Media has developed more than 170 apps overall. In January of 2011, we announced that we crossed the one million mark in paid app downloads on the App Store. I enjoy working on licensing agreements that bring many of the most beloved children’s titles to the app market.

Karen: As we were starting Oceanhouse Media, Michel and I felt it was important to try to make a significant contribution to the planet. It would have been easy for us to focus on gaming apps with Michel’s previous experience, but as new parents we really saw the need and the value of producing quality digital book apps that help kids learn to read. On a trip through our local bookstore we thought “what better author to model our apps on than Dr. Seuss, the best at making reading fun for kids?”

**Oceanhouse seems to have exploded over the past year, how do you keep up?

Karen: We have a dedicated team of both in-house staff and contractors. Our team includes incredible programmers, graphic designers, technical artists, professional voice actors, music composers and sound designers. Not to mention, Michel is brilliant at wearing multiple hats. Plus, many of our staff have young kids, so we like to use them as our beta testers and they always have great input! I have to also give a shout out for our awesome nanny who helps me juggle kids and work!

Michel: From my CD-ROM and video game development days, I’ve worked with a lot of terrific software developers, programmers, designers, etc. Many of these folks have now joined the Oceanhouse Media team. They’ve been instrumental in creating our proprietary tools that allow us to release two to three titles a week. Many of these people I’ve worked with in my previous businesses and some I’ve known for over 20 years, such as our Director of Development, Greg Uhler.

**What publishers are you working with now?

Michel: Our family of licensors continues to grow. In addition to Dr. Seuss Enterprises, we currently have licensing agreements in place with Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company, Zondervan (a division of HarperCollins), Mercer Mayer, Soundprints, Hay House Publishers, Chronicle Books and Character Arts. In many cases, we work directly with the authors to bring their titles to the app market.

Karen: We decided early on to closely follow our company’s mantra of “Creativity with Purpose,” developing apps that uplift, educate and inspire. We look at every licensing agreement with this intent in mind. I believe this has helped us gain the trust of our partners and maintain our focus on high-quality product development. The Dr. Seuss apps opened the doors for us to develop apps for well-known titles from The Berenstain Bears, Mercer Mayer’s Little Critter and the Five Little Monkeys series among others.

**Who is your favorite author that you’ve gotten to bring to the App Store? The one where you said to yourself – I can’t believe I’m doing this?

Michel: It goes without saying that having the opportunity to bring Dr. Seuss’s classic titles to the app market was a turning point for our company. Not only do we feel a tremendous amount of honor to be given this opportunity, but there’s also a sentimental aspect. I read Dr. Seuss as a child and now read his books with my own kids. We see our apps as a companion to the printed books. I like to believe that if Ted Geisel were alive today he would love to see what we are doing with his stories in the digital medium. Our Dr. Seuss apps are a great example of how technology can be used in a fun and interactive way to encourage kids to read.

Karen: I’d have to agree with Michel and say Dr. Seuss. As a child, I have fond memories of the Seuss stories, with Green Eggs and Ham being my favorite. Each time I’m in the studio for a voice recording of a Dr. Seuss story, I always remember how special these books were to me as a child. And now watching our kids enjoy the apps is a real joy. Regardless of the medium, Dr. Seuss will always have a lasting appeal.

**Anything new on the horizon that you can share?

Michel: The next Dr. Seuss apps to be released will be Mr. Brown Can Moo, Can You? and Oh, the Thinks You Can Think! in May. We expect to announce another four to six new content partners that will yield many more great apps from a wide range of authors. A few of these new licensing agreements will let us create titles that focus even more on learning and education. We’ve also developed a lot of new features for beginning readers allowing them to boost their reading skills. These new enhancements will provide the youngest of readers with an even more positive user experience.

Karen: We’ll also be introducing new voice talent in the near future, starting with our new series, Elmer the Patchwork Elephant. Each voice actor adds they’re own element to the recording process, so that is incredibly exciting. We’re building additional apps in the Smithsonian Institution series. The success of our first release in this educational collection, It’s Tyrannosaurus Rex!, is very encouraging and we can’t wait to release more.

 

**Has Karen done any of the voice over work for the stories?

Karen: Yes, I narrate The Berenstain Bears, Tacky the Penguin and the Five Little Monkeys series. I am also the voice on many Dr. Seuss omBooks including Dr. Seuss’s ABC, Fox in Socks, Hop on Pop, Happy Birthday to You! and I Can Read With My Eyes Shut! It’s fun to watch our kids’ expressions while they’re listening to these apps. They enjoy both the Auto Play feature and the Read to Me option, where I can sit next to them and read the story to them.

Michel: Karen has done a great job overseeing the VO needs of the company. Through the work that she and Greg Uhler, our Development Director, are doing, I believe that Oceanhouse Media is delivering some of the highest quality VO audio on the App Store.

** Anything else you’d like to share? Tips for developers who are just starting out?

Michel: First off, this is a really crowded space. When we started the business in January of 2009, there were already 12,000 apps on the App Store. I was very concerned that we had missed the boat. Now, when you look at the App Store, you are faced with something like 400K apps. In this environment, you absolutely have to know how you are going to stand out. It’s critical to know the audience that you’re targeting (i.e. toddlers, early readers, older kids) and the level of interactivity that’s required when compared to the competition. Proper planning will avoid lengthy, and costly, development cycles. It is extremely easy to over design. Likewise, it is easy to under design. The magic is in finding the right balance.

Karen: Listen to user feedback, particularly if you’re creating apps for kids. Parents have a great deal to say from watching their own kids use interactive apps. Their comments and opinions can be useful in updates to your app and for future software developments. Also, don’t underestimate the need to have a strong marketing push to support your app once it hits the market. All in all, it’s an exciting time to be an app developer!

**What is your personal favorite app? The one you use most often?

Michel: Personally, I like news and info apps. I’ve been using FlipBoard quite a bit recently. I’ve grown addicted to RedBox, which I use often to reserve and rent DVDs and Blu-Ray discs. I like BigOven for finding recipes. When I want to go play games, I tend to fall back on Pocket Frogs, Tower Madness or Space Miner.

Karen: Besides our omBooks (Dr. Seuss’s ABC and Hop on Pop being two of my daughter’s favorites), I love using Matching Zoo. I love seeing her wheels turn as she discovers the matching hippo or elephant. Being a photographer, I enjoy Hipstamatic, I have a lot of fun snapping pictures of my kids and turning them into retro works of art right on the spot. Also, the only way I’ve been able to sleep these days with a baby and a toddler is NeuroAthlete. It helps to regulate your sleep patterns and it’s saved my life!

 


Celebrate Earth Day with “The Lorax”

Friday, April 22nd, 2011

Celebrate Earth Day this Friday with the story of The Lorax by Dr. Seuss. In his unique and brilliant style, Dr. Seuss communicates a serious message of environmental ruin through the eyes of his delightful and endearing characters. The caring Lorax, who speaks for the trees, warns of the impending destruction of the Truffula Tree forest, but his pleas are no match for the old Once-ler’s insatiable greed. And so the Truffula Trees disappear and their inhabitants scatter. The only hope that remains is a single Truffula Tree seed…

Plant and care for this seed in the children’s game, Lorax Garden, and help re-grow the world’s Truffula Tree forests, one seed at a time! Design your trees, water and care for them, and then maybe, just maybe, the Swomee-Swans, the Brown Bar-ba-loots, and the Lorax will come back! As a special Earth Day present, you can download Lorax Garden FREE, for one day!

Join our Earth Day celebration on Facebook, where we’ll be hosting app giveaways for some of our favorite earth-friendly stories!!

“SO…

Catch!” calls the Once-ler.

He lets something fall.

“It’s a Truffula Seed.

It’s the last one of all!

Plant a new Truffula. Treat it with care.

Give it clean water. And feed it fresh air.

Grow a forest. Protect it from axes that hack.

Then the Lorax

and all of his friends

may come back.”

– The Lorax by Dr. Seuss