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Lean Startup Machine - Mobile App Development


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An introduction to applying lean startup principles to mobile app development. Covers a general introduction followed by specific tips around challenges with testing apps that are heavy on user experience, testing app distribution, testing core loops, leveraging a concierge approach, choosing which app platforms to start with, mobile app prototyping tools, and avoiding a big bang launch.

This was prepared for a workshop at Lean Startup Machine, Bangalore. The accompanying blog post may be found here:

Published in: Software

Lean Startup Machine - Mobile App Development

  1. 1. Lean Startup - Mobile App Development Arvi Krishnaswamy @twitortat
  2. 2. Presented At Lean Startup Machine, Bangalore on May 31, 2014
  3. 3. Hello Hands-on Entrepreneur and Tech Executive. Now: Building fun, engaging apps at Levitum. Past: Multiple startups. One Valley IPO. One exit. Polyglot. Android + iOS + Python. Program Chair, Droidcon India (2011-13). Built apps with > 2 million downloads, 4+ ratings.
  4. 4. Not all Flappy Endings The average app expends 9-12 man months of effort. #fact The average app gets < 1000 downloads. #fact ~22% of downloaded apps are opened just once. #fact
  5. 5. Seriously, WTF?
  6. 6. We keep building apps that nobody wants
  7. 7. We keep building apps that nobody wants to solve problems that no one has
  8. 8. A Prototype is an Experiment that helps Validate Assumptions
  9. 9. What makes a prototype effective? 0
  10. 10. If it answers the right question
  11. 11. How do you prototype experience?
  12. 12. The POP app. Use pen and paper to quickly sketch mockups Use the POP app to take snaps of the sketches Stitch the snaps together with a navigational heirarchy. Share your demo with users for feedback.
  13. 13. How would you build an Ola Cabs app MVP?
  14. 14. Do Things That Don't Scale Yes, you read that right. Counter intuitive?
  15. 15. Accrue technical debt, and assess the importance as a hypothesis requiring validation.
  16. 16. Choosing a Platform iOS has more early adopters iOS has a paying community. Android has no review process Android has smoother alpha/beta distribution mechanics. iOS users expect a better user experience. Android apps require testing on more devices.
  17. 17. Get Out Of The Building! Blind test users using your app. Get their permission to screen record their interactions. Review it with them, and probe to understand their thought process. If you have competitors, have the users blind test your app and theirs.
  18. 18. Important Anti-Patterns Consider launching your experiments under different code names on the app store. Once the experiment is over, direct those users to your new MVP with a new code name. Users of the new MVP will not see the old app and its ratings. This greatly derisks your 'big bang' app launch.
  19. 19. Launch in a different country Another possible idea - launch your app in a representative country (Australia, for instance) before publishing it in the U.S.
  20. 20. Test These Loops These are critical user actions that make you successful What makes the user invite others What makes the user create new content (or post reviews/comments) What makes the user buy things
  21. 21. Ask Me Anything Follow me @twitortat