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Top 5 Learnings from Running a Mobile App "Startup"

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Justin joined Storycode (then FreeRange 360) in January of 2012 as the Chief Creative Officer along with James McDermott as the CEO. Within the past 8 months, Justin and James changed the business model, acquired a local agency, renamed and rebranded the company, reshaped the product offering, and essentially relaunched as a startup. It has been a busy 8 months. Justin reveals the learnings behind these changes and talks about what has worked, what hasn't, and the future of the mobile app industry.

The presentation was presented at the Mobile Portland event on Sept 24, 2012.

Published in: Technology
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Top 5 Learnings from Running a Mobile App "Startup"

  1. 1. @justinogarrity
  2. 2. Storycode
  3. 3. “As much fun as spectacle is, no one isimpressed anymore. No one flinches. Itis easy to get caught up in spectacle, butstory is timeless. Story is everything.” JJ Abrams
  4. 4. Storycode deepens the relationship between brands and their audience through powerfulmobile experiences with an emphasis on great storytelling.
  5. 5. FreeRange 360 + Storycode Inc = Storycode
  6. 6. Portland London New York LA
  7. 7. 230 Apps 3 Platforms 1 Million App Opens a Day324 Million Stories Read a Month 1.25 Million Users a Month
  8. 8. StoryRank Technology Curation Engine Content Aggregate Intelligence Curated • App Organization Organize • Category Order • Stream Sequence Optimize Dynamic • Trending from website (Analytics)on • Socially active Facebook / Twitter • Behavior from all mobile users Personal • User preferences (Behavior) • User patterns • Keyword Searches
  9. 9. Agency
  10. 10. bitly.com/mickandkeith
  11. 11. 1. Get Small
  12. 12. Team RolesProject Graphic Advertisin App Store AnalyticsManager Designer g Coord. Coord. Coord. Android BlackBerry Technical BackendiOS Dev. Dev. Dev. Services Dev.Account QA / Provision Dev CustomerManager Tester Manager Manager Support
  13. 13. Actual Challenges with Large Team
  14. 14. Actual Challenges with Large Team1.App store coordinator cannot submit app without screenshots from graphic designer
  15. 15. Actual Challenges with Large Team1.App store coordinator cannot submit app without screenshots from graphic designer2.QA tester needs to have a ticket to test the latest fix
  16. 16. Actual Challenges with Large Team1.App store coordinator cannot submit app without screenshots from graphic designer2.QA tester needs to have a ticket to test the latest fix3.Technical Services engineer pulls app from store because analytics is not included
  17. 17. Characteristics of Large Team
  18. 18. Characteristics of Large Team1.Process
  19. 19. Characteristics of Large Team1.Process2.Documentation
  20. 20. Characteristics of Large Team1.Process2.Documentation3.Ticketing and Email
  21. 21. Characteristics of Large Team1.Process2.Documentation3.Ticketing and Email4.Meetings. Lots of meetings.
  22. 22. Characteristics of Large Team1.Process2.Documentation3.Ticketing and Email4.Meetings. Lots of meetings.5.Vacation/personal time is always a problem
  23. 23. Characteristics of Large Team1.Process2.Documentation3.Ticketing and Email4.Meetings. Lots of meetings.5.Vacation/personal time is always a problem6.Limited ability to contribute
  24. 24. Team Roles for a Single AppProject Graphic Advertisin App Store AnalyticsManager Designer g Coord. Coord. Coord. Android BlackBerry Technical Backend iOS Dev. Dev. Dev. Services Dev.Account QA / Provision Dev CustomerManager Tester Manager Manager Support
  25. 25. Revised Team Roles PM/AM/ Designer Android/ Technical Backend iOS Dev. BB Dev. Services Dev. QA / Tester
  26. 26. Characteristics of Small Team
  27. 27. Characteristics of Small Team1.Process Finished App
  28. 28. Characteristics of Small Team1.Process Finished App2.Documentation Prototypes
  29. 29. Characteristics of Small Team1.Process Finished App2.Documentation Prototypes3.Ticketing & Email Chat
  30. 30. Characteristics of Small Team1.Process Finished App2.Documentation Prototypes3.Ticketing & Email Chat4.Meetings. Lots of meetings. Collaborative work
  31. 31. Characteristics of Small Team1.Process Finished App2.Documentation Prototypes3.Ticketing & Email Chat4.Meetings. Lots of meetings. Collaborative work5.Vacation/personal time Redundant Skills
  32. 32. Characteristics of Small Team1.Process Finished App2.Documentation Prototypes3.Ticketing & Email Chat4.Meetings. Lots of meetings. Collaborative work5.Vacation/personal time Redundant Skills6.Limited ability to contribute Constant
  33. 33. 2. Increased Efficiency does not equal Customer Experience
  34. 34. It Are Is doesn’t you this a XID8374 work using new What Oh, Let me does it No that is check say? new Here Says Try What’sis a test it won’t No this new the build install testMon Tues Wed Thurs FriDeadline
  35. 35. Here Hereis a test is a test build build Itdoesn’t work (aftercall) try it now Itworks.Thur Fri Sat Sun Mon Deadline
  36. 36. Sample App
  37. 37. Sample App1.All Platforms (iOS, Android, BlackBerry)
  38. 38. Sample App1.All Platforms (iOS, Android, BlackBerry)2.Push Notifications? (Urban Airship)
  39. 39. Sample App1.All Platforms (iOS, Android, BlackBerry)2.Push Notifications? (Urban Airship)3.Provisioning for iOS
  40. 40. Sample App1.All Platforms (iOS, Android, BlackBerry)2.Push Notifications? (Urban Airship)3.Provisioning for iOS4.Analytics Package
  41. 41. Sample App1.All Platforms (iOS, Android, BlackBerry)2.Push Notifications? (Urban Airship)3.Provisioning for iOS4.Analytics Package5.Ad Network
  42. 42. 13 Original Graphics211 Optimized Graphics
  43. 43. 3. Romney vs Obamais a more moderate debate than HTML5 vs Native
  44. 44. NativeNative HTMLNative
  45. 45. Time spent with mobile apps vs mobile web among US Android and iOS users, March 2011 - March 2012 Apps Web billions of minutes per month 101 88 83 79 70 72 71 72 59 54 54 43 42 24 25 27 25 26 21 23 23 20 21 23 16 17Mar 2011 May Jul Sep Nov Jan 2012 Mar Source: Nielsen as cited by AllThingsD, May 16, 2012
  46. 46. fresh start up open article refresh tab change rotation HTML5 13.9 1.6 4.4 5 2.8Native IOS 4.5 1 0.5 0.5 0.8USA Today 5.5 1 2.8 1.5 0.8 LinkedIn 4.8 1 2.1 3 0.8
  47. 47. fresh start up open article refresh tab change rotation HTML5 13.9 1.6 4.4 5 2.8 Native IOS 4.5 1 0.5 0.5 0.8USA Today 5.5 1 2.8 1.5 0.8 LinkedIn 4.8 1 2.1 3 0.8Hybrid Beta 4.0 0.5 1 0.5 0.7
  48. 48. 4. Don’t Underestimate thePower of the Apple App Store
  49. 49. Previous Business Model
  50. 50. Previous Business Model1.Free or next to free app
  51. 51. Previous Business Model1.Free or next to free app2.Simple design, easy for customer to update
  52. 52. Previous Business Model1.Free or next to free app2.Simple design, easy for customer to update3.Enable Our Ad Server Account
  53. 53. Previous Business Model1.Free or next to free app2.Simple design, easy for customer to update3.Enable Our Ad Server Account4.Optimize ad networks
  54. 54. Previous Business Model1.Free or next to free app2.Simple design, easy for customer to update3.Enable Our Ad Server Account4.Optimize ad networks5.Ad revenue share
  55. 55. Previous Business Model1.Free or next to free app2.Simple design, easy for customer to update3.Enable Our Ad Server Account4.Optimize ad networks5.Ad revenue share6.As adoption grows ad revenue grows
  56. 56. Previous Business Model1.Free or next to free app2.Simple design, easy for customer to update3.Enable Our Ad Server Account4.Optimize ad networks5.Ad revenue share6.As adoption grows ad revenue grows7.Our incentive is ad revenue
  57. 57. New Business Model
  58. 58. New Business Model1.Charge full price for app
  59. 59. New Business Model1.Charge full price for app2.On brand design - more sophisticated
  60. 60. New Business Model1.Charge full price for app2.On brand design - more sophisticated3.Enable Their Ad Server Account
  61. 61. New Business Model1.Charge full price for app2.On brand design - more sophisticated3.Enable Their Ad Server Account4.Encourage and help set-up campaigns
  62. 62. New Business Model1.Charge full price for app2.On brand design - more sophisticated3.Enable Their Ad Server Account4.Encourage and help set-up campaigns5.Fee for services based on users
  63. 63. New Business Model1.Charge full price for app2.On brand design - more sophisticated3.Enable Their Ad Server Account4.Encourage and help set-up campaigns5.Fee for services based on users6.Client receives 100% ad revenue
  64. 64. New Business Model1.Charge full price for app2.On brand design - more sophisticated3.Enable Their Ad Server Account4.Encourage and help set-up campaigns5.Fee for services based on users6.Client receives 100% ad revenue7.Our incentive is app adoption and
  65. 65. 5. Without an Interface, There is no Platform
  66. 66. Publishing Platform Architecture Mobile App Web Service Native App Package Content Optimized 3rd Party Configuration Content Services Build Management API Brand Style Assets Sheet Feeds Webpages Media App Framework Content ©2011 FreeRange360, All Rights Reserved
  67. 67. Actual Requests
  68. 68. Actual Requests1.Can we add a texture to the header?
  69. 69. Actual Requests1.Can we add a texture to the header?2.Can we make the app universal iPhone/iPad?
  70. 70. Actual Requests1.Can we add a texture to the header?2.Can we make the app universal iPhone/iPad?3.Can we move our app to Newsstand?
  71. 71. Actual Requests1.Can we add a texture to the header?2.Can we make the app universal iPhone/iPad?3.Can we move our app to Newsstand?4.Can we change the layout to be more like Flipboard?
  72. 72. Actual Requests1.Can we add a texture to the header?2.Can we make the app universal iPhone/iPad?3.Can we move our app to Newsstand?4.Can we change the layout to be more like Flipboard?5.Can we set up push messages?
  73. 73. Actual Requests1.Can we add a texture to the header?2.Can we make the app universal iPhone/iPad?3.Can we move our app to Newsstand?4.Can we change the layout to be more like Flipboard?5.Can we set up push messages?6.Can we use Google DFP for our ad server?
  74. 74. Actual Response1.It’s on our roadmap.
  75. 75. Template Design &Design & FeaturesFeaturesContent ContentPlatform Platform
  76. 76. StoryRank Technology Storycode IP Content Aggregate Intelligence Curated • App Organization Organize • Category Order • Stream Sequence Optimize Dynamic • Trending from website (Analytics)on • Socially active Facebook / Twitter • Behavior from all mobile users Personal • User preferences (Behavior) • User patterns • Keyword Searches
  77. 77. What story does your app tell?

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