YOU GUYS ARE ALL Keeping your head above water as anMILLIONAIRES, RIGHT? “indy” developer JOSH PRESSNELL ASCENDUM SOLUTIONS
THE MOBILE ENTREPRENEUR What my mom thinks I do What my friends think I do What society thinks I doWhat my investors think I do What I think I do What I really do
WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO DEVELOP APPS? An organization? (Company, Corporation, LLC) No Employees? Only if An accountant? Not Necessarily An office? No Equipment? A Development Machine and an Mobile Device Startup funding? ~$2k for hardware, $99 for Developers License
Why choose “indy” development? Mobile Users Have Different Expectations The best apps follow KISS Focus on one niche need and be the best at it. Users want to minimize time in most apps, not the other way around. The most successful apps target no more than a $1.99 price point Paid apps make money on volume, not margin The most successful model to-date is the “freemium” model Minimal Cost Of Entry Small focused apps have: Rapid Time-To-Market - Simple apps can be made in 2 days to 2 weeks Low Complexity – Codebase management by 1-2 man team “App Stores” Don’t Care Who You Are Every new app gets the same potential visibility Not even Zynga can petition Apple for publicity The customer-base offered by today’s app stores reaches nearly every country in the world Simple Tools Apple and Android SDKs – Mature and well-known environments App Generation Tools – Appcelerator and AppMakr
Why choose “Indy” Development? We MAKE What The Whole World Talks About
WHAT MAKES A GOOD APP? Most Commonly Used Words In App Store Reviews 5 Star Reviews 1 Star Reviews Awesome Perfect Waste Nothing Worth Price Money Paid Thanks Recommend Crashes Deleted Amazing Found Tried Stupid Simple Always Useless Actually Users value and recommend apps that: Get them excited Provide more value than they cost Are simple Deliver what they promise Don’t crash!
MEASURE SUCCESS Apple App Store – Top App List As Of 02/29/12 16: Sleep Cycle Alarm Clock 18: The Night Sky 24: Tiny Wings 26: Circadia 30: Ski On Neon 35: PicFrame 44: Cartoon Wars 45: Battery Boost 48: Clear eveloper! By An Independent D Every One Developed
MISPERCEPTION #1 You’re an “Entrepreneur”? Where’s your VC? Where’s your company headquartered? Entrepreneur – “An owner or manager of a business enterprise who makes money through risk and initiative” Your company is what you want it to be: Full time employment Full time self-employment Venture startup Second job Whatever the road taken, be an Entrepreneur! Stay versatile A second job can become a first job if forces require And vice versa!
MISPERCEPTION #2 Pinterest, Tiny Wings… all it takes is a good app idea and you can retire, right? Visibility – 500,000 + apps in the app store alone Without massive PR, many good apps never get noticed It could be a year or more before a good idea starts to catch momentum Churn – Life at the top is short-lived Even if you do break the charts, it won’t be long until something else replaces you Solution – Can’t assume one app is all you need. What’s next?
MISPERCEPTION #3 Bit it takes months and money to develop a successful app! Choose a project that you can complete If you plan to spend more than a month, you’re going to get sidetracked Choose a project that can be done quickly Both Pocket God and Flight Control were initially developed and released in a single week
MISPERCEPTION #4 After I’ve slaved away (for a week) to make my perfect app, I can just sit back and rake in the money, right? In mobile, the hare beats the tortoise, every time. Develop fast, release often Spend 2 months, max, on an app and release If it “sticks”, iterate version updates fast and often. If it doesn’t catch on, leave it and look for the next one
MISPERCEPTION #5 I have to have a unique app idea! All my ideas already have an app for that! You don’t always need to innovate Several existing competitors means there’s a market Use existing competition to gauge the niche How many rankings (good or bad) do those competitors have? Do they do some things well? Copy them. Do they do some things differently than you would? Improve them. The Best App Ideas Start With, “I Can Do That Better!”
MISPERCEPTION #6 My app is so awesome it should be priced to show its value! Current Average App Price - $2.06 Current Average Game Price - $0.99 Current Average Overall Price - $1.91 In the App Store Top Paid 200 143 are $0.99 No matter how “perfect” your app is, if you want in the top ranks, it shouldn’t be priced higher than $1.99 (and free is better)
MISPERCEPTION #7 I can stay successful by focusing solely on my product’s development. Your user community is EVERYTHING! Direct and personal interaction with users drives: Secondary and Tertiary sales figures Development Focus Positive Reviews Don’t delegate community/social interaction A direct and honest connection with users, especially the frustrated ones, WILL drive sales figures over time Don’t be scared to admit your failings, too. But don’t talk about a problem without providing a solution Implementing user requests goes a LONG way Turns 1 star reviews into 5 star reviews Gives users a stake in the product Users with passionate negative feedback can be the biggest evangelists!
MISPERCEPTION #8 Any decent name and icon will do, as long as I’m in the app store. 90% of users don’t ever read your app description The app name and icon (and maybe screenshots) are all most of your potential customers will ever see Apps must be able to communicate their value using only the the name and icon If you spend any money for graphic design, invest it in the app icon You can get an early look at user opinions (and a jump start on marketing buzz) by running “fake” ads. Facebook and Ad Words campaigns are cheap Setup ads with various names and icons that all lead to a basic signup page to be notified when the app is available. Watch click-through rates and conversion rates to see which combinations generate the most “buzz”
MISPERCEPTION #9 I need to spend a lot of money on PR and website advertising to get noticed In reality, even being featured on major blogs only provides a limited (and short term) bump in sales Price is, by far, the biggest driving force
SUMMARY It is VERY possible to make a good living in independent mobile development Don’t procrastinate Find a small project Build what you love Listen to feedback Be prepared to give up on ideas, but not on the market