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The Business of Apps

The Business of Apps



The Business of Apps. Talk given by Richard Hurring at Swiss Mobicamp on 1st November 2012.

The Business of Apps. Talk given by Richard Hurring at Swiss Mobicamp on 1st November 2012.



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  • Richard – worked in mobile for almost 25 years, Vodafone, early mobile marketing, Verizon, Marvellous, big brands etc etc
  • If you take nothing else from this whole session, remember this, every day. Coding itself is just one part of the process. An important part of course but just a part, there’s an awful lot of work before and after the coding bit.
  • First thing, let’s consider the word developer. The cliché stereotype developer does still exist of course but more often this notion is outdated
  • The two extremes of the developer range. By the way, all thorough this talk I will make no distinction between games and app developers.
  • No surprises but for perspective the Top 100 is way under 1% of all apps but there is some evidence that the middle is fattening. But we know that one in three mobile app developers lives below the app poverty line.
  • So these guys are the top of the tree, but my focus is not there.
  • The hobbyists, community builders, code junkies, I’m interested in them because they feed the core but they often do it accidentally. I’m interested in people setting out to build a business.
  • The middle class, the silent majority.
  • This is the group I am addressing.
  • Not enough time, effort and thought goes into researching the idea, testing the market, figuring out the money and marketing the app
  • With these kind of numbers its incredibly difficult to cut through the noise. It’s little wonder that:
  • Dead on Arrival. They never stood a chance. So how can we prevent that?
  • A standard ROI statement. Lets consider first what users want and just as importantly, what users don’t want.
  • So we need to build a business that satisfies what users want in return for maximum cash.How do we do that and how do we know what they want?
  • If you were going to approach a vc or investor this is the sort of planning you would have to do. How many developers in the core have planned this carefully BEFORE starting to code? (shopping list example)
  • Make it more simple. Research/Test – Money – Build – Market – Repeat. Crucially this is absolutely not a LINEAR process. All of the activities can be happening at the same time. (with the possible exception of coding)
  • Search for apps like yours in the store. If yes what makes yours different (and are they successful) If not why not, is there demand? Constantly keep on top of app and social trends. Don’t do things for hobby, ‘oh I’m just figuring out responsive design etc. Success formula = (hard work + ability) x purpose. (passion) People saying No to your question is not because they don’t get it
  • A read through this document could have highlighted all of these opportunities for you. They obviously all need further investigation but being an expert gives you a head start. Do you check and question or do you just carry on coding your iOS app. In my case the report re-affirmed the decision to focus our business totally on developer marketing.
  • Actually there are more than two core options – you could use your app to sell real world goods (Dominoes for example doesn’t monetise its app as such) or you could be paid to develop the app by a brand or third party. Plus partners or affiliates, product placement handset makers for pre-install. Plus We know of course there are maybe a dozen different combinations but first it boils down to ads or paid. In app purchasing the current hot option. (70%)
  • There is so much information on this bit I am only going to touch on it lightly where I think it relates to the business of apps. Clean uncluttered design is a must, less almost always is more.A funky name is cool, if you can get it out there, a functional name is not so cool but is more likely to be found by search. What is your app for?The app icon is so much more important than people realise. Apple will not feature etc. Stand out on device and so on.When designing think about how your app will work in other markets, allow for translated text stretch for example.
  • This is the minimum you should do for all apps you build. mostly obvious but this or something similar should be a check list for you, do them all.
  • I once worked with a guy who claimed never to have missed a deadline or overspent on a project. How? When the deadline came, he shipped. When he ran out of money, he shipped. A little extreme perhaps but I’m sure you are all familiar with the Lean Start Up principles. If not, become so. If you are, start living it.
  • Test the assumptions you made initially, A/B test your marketing and monetization options, use your Analytics, use your analytics
  • Paul has forgotten more about mobile than most of us will ever know.Andreas knows everyone and everything.
  • Some of these I’ve mentioned during the talk, others are just useful resources.
  • Thank you

The Business of Apps The Business of Apps Presentation Transcript