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Building The Bible App via Eight Guiding Principles


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Zach Schmid and Todd Dobberstein walk through eight axioms (principles) that guide the product and engineering decisions for YouVersion, The Bible App.
1. Mission First
2. Why Before What
3. Latest Doesn't Mean Greatest
4. It's All About the People
5. Data Has a Seat at the Table
6. Move Fast, Follow Momentum
7. Innovation Happens Where Passion Meets Constraint
8. Simple is Better

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Building The Bible App via Eight Guiding Principles

  1. 1. Digital Mission Axioms Zach Schmid, YouVersion Engineering Manager Todd Dobberstein, YouVersion Product Manager
  2. 2. 235+ 
 1021 Languages Bible Versions Million Installs
  3. 3. What is an Axiom? • a statement or proposition that is regarded as being established, accepted, or self-evidently true. • a guiding principle that can be called upon at a second’s notice to inform a critical decision.
  4. 4. People don't buy what we do they buy why we do it. Simon Sinek, Start With Why
  5. 5. Leading People to Become Fully Devoted Followers of Christ
  6. 6. To Help People to Fully Engage with the Bible
  7. 7. Mission Goals Features
  8. 8. Complexity Value High Value. High Complexity. High Value. Low Complexity. Low Value. Low Complexity. Low Value. High Complexity.
  9. 9. In 2015, Only 47% of the world’s mobile subscriptions had access to a 3G or higher connection. Source: 2016 GSMA Mobile Intelligence Report
  10. 10. Developing for low-speed connections 3G and Faster 2G and Slower Manual Settings
  11. 11. 29.8M 121K 4.5M
  12. 12. Behind Every Number is a Person. Behind Every Person is a Story.
  13. 13. "Our team is working with refugees who have been displaced because of the war in Syria and Iraq. The country we are working in is very heavily influenced by Islam, so while it's not illegal to be a Christian, asking someone to turn away from Islam is against the law. The government also frowns upon massive distributions of the Word. Also, physical copies of the word are hard to get in the right language, heavy, and can be expensive. As an added frustration, many people we work with can't read very well. This is where YouVersion comes in. Whenever we find someone interested in reading or studying, we have them download YouVersion to their phones we are able to explain how it works. The looks on their faces when we play the audio for them is the best thing ever. Whenever we study with them, they pull up the app on their phones and we pull it out on ours and we study together. The fact that it's so easy to switch between languages is perfect…YouVersion is helping us take the Word to people who have never heard the Good News." —Bible App User
  14. 14. Where are we seeing the most engagement growth? Are we seeing a downward or flat trend in certain countries? What impact does rolling a new feature out to a subset of users have? DASH Analytics Platform
  15. 15. A/B Test - Pick Me Up Where I Left Off Does changing where we take a user in a plan after missing days, impact how long it takes the user to complete the plan? Ideal Outcome: Velocity of Plan completions increase Proposed Change Take user to where they left off in the plan Current Approach Take user to the current calendar day 2-3% Negative Impact with Proposed Change.
 Equates to 500,000 less plan completions per year.
  16. 16. Case Study: Twi Twi is a dialect of Akan. Primarily spoken in Ghana 9 Million Speakers 20K Monthly Active Users in Ghana Only 120 Requests Per Day for Twi Bible Version
  17. 17. Case Study: Twi What if we target users in Ghana and let them know this new Bible version is available? Results of Experiment Fastest growing Bible App language overnight Average Users / Day up 90% YoY 165% Increase in Installs YoY
  18. 18. 2008
  19. 19. “Some startups have been able to generate millions of dollars from the iOS keyboard platform and tech giants like Google and Microsoft got on board too.“ - Forbes
  20. 20. “Bots, the next frontier” -The Economist
  21. 21. Bible App 6
  22. 22. 1021 Bible Text Languages
  23. 23. 1300+ Versions 2000+ Bible Plans Videos Events
  24. 24. 8 Axioms of Digital Missions
  25. 25. Thank you! Questions?