Time for a reset

I have been writing my Squarespace blog for about two years now. Yet, I can never achieve a consistent writing routine. Months go by without any posts. Over the Christmas break, I thought about why this was the case.

While the blog represents my thoughts, they do not belong to a topic or theme. I don’t have a strong goal set to break droughts, or to police pieces that are quickly becoming novels. I have many abandoned posts in my iA Writer folder that have simply grown too large.

I’m getting organised this year. I “started with why”, like Simon Sinek prescribes.

So why does this exist? 

I believe there is a practical and meaningful way to live a good, healthy, balanced life in this technology dominated world.

Given that I am working in the industry, I have a unique insight to this crazy tech world. I want to explore and tell people about products and ideas that help me achieve a balanced life. I want to talk about how technology influences what I do.

Therefore, I am renaming my blog. It is no longer “Android with an Apple shaped heart”. It is a little more agile, little more relevant and a whole lot simpler. It is going to set the theme for the posts from now on:

Incrementally Better

Yes, it is a reset. If Star Wars, along with so many other Hollywood franchises, can do reboots, so can my blog. It’s gonna be awesome!


2 things your app can focus on to be successful

Apps that do really well on the App Store focus on PASSIONS & PRODUCTIVITY. The higher you rank in the scale on these two categories, the better chances you have of making a kick-arse app concept that resonate with its users.

 

People are passionate about all kinds of crazy things. What's important is that passions makes us very emotional. And everybody knows emotional hooks are the best way to sell something to a consumer. Your job becomes exponentially easier if you don't have to convince them why something will be of value.

The effectiveness of the 'passion-hook' increases as the reach and the prestige of the passion gets higher. For example, fitness is a great category to be in. Everyone's emotionally invested in it, so your market size is large. More importantly, people are willing to pay to get fit.

 

Productivity is why IT exist in the world. Instead of figuring out what 28912 x 92891 is in your head or on paper, you have a calculator. If you can save time, make life easier, and return the human back its lazy couch potato stage as quickly as possible from real work, you are doing a great service. This service can worth a lot of money.

People pay to make things go away all the time. So if you are designing an app to help people be more productive, you have a great chance to make it. The bigger the problem you are solving, the higher you can charge for it. If it targets companies instead of individuals, then there is even bigger bucks to be made.

 

Then there are really good apps that combine the two. Food apps like Posse or Urban Spoon are great examples. People are very passionate about what they eat, and what says about them to the people around them. They take pride in finding little gems around the city and recommending to friends. At the same time, they are extremely productive. It saves me from having to Google for places to get lunch from when I'm hungry and irrational.

 

Of course there are other angles to succeed by making an app. You can look at improving communications and social interaction. But these are markets that may not follow the general pay for a download model that well. They are also very hard to succeed in.

If you want to keep it simple, make something that target passions and productivity. Analyse where you stand in the two scales when you are at the concept stage. Bring features in to add value in both categories as you go on. Find your own little edge in these scales that make your idea better.

As long as you are helping lazy humans be extra lazy, and help enjoying what they rather be doing, there's a chance of success.

Why make an iOS app first?

This is a regular discussion that happens under every article on The Verge about some new iOS app. So far they are all flames thrown at each camp. This poster had a really good answer with good supporting facts. I thought it was worth sharing:

mfocazio

It’s not “gibberish” – it’s fact:

1. Android users spend less time with apps. http://www.businessinsider.com/android-users-use-apps-less-2013-6
2. Android users are less likely to pay for apps: http://phandroid.com/2013/07/19/free-apps-android-users/
3. Android users don’t buy stuff with their mobile devices as much: http://bgr.com/2013/12/02/ios-android-black-friday-online-shopping/

There is a meaningful difference, and if you’re trying to make money in the mobile world, you start with iOS.

Taken from the http://www.theverge.com/2013/12/5/5178432/best-new-apps-level

The only thing I'll add to this is the ease of building and maintaining apps due to a more consistent group of devices with users who upgrade to new versions of the OS regularly.

Don't mistake this for developers not succeeding on Android. That is not true -- plenty of developers make a good living out of Android.

Getting The Story Right

Products are only as good as the story they tell. Whether it is an app or an electric toothbrush, the creators have to think about how it is going to be a captivating story. If the product cannot form a relationship with another person at an emotional level, then they have no reason to buy it. If no one can find anything interesting to say about what you’ve made, chances are, word will never get around...

Read More

Wisdom on Pricing Software

Recently I came across this excellent blog post, "Million Dollar Art", by Nate Otto on the Signal vs Noise blog. I started thinking, how relevant is it for software? Can you simply put a million, or even 30 grand price tag on software?

We first discussed it at work and there was the rational opinion that IT products help save time and effort. If a single person's job can entirely by done by a piece of software, then it should worth that person's salary. This makes valuing software quite easy!

Why think when you can Google. I came across this wonderful article at Smashing Magazine: You're pricing it wrong: software pricing demystified. It talks about the rational price vs. the perceived value of a product. Seems like branding, good marketing, superior design, support, average price for competing products and a number of other factors can increase or decrease the perceived value of a software. Read the whole article and some of the related links to get a better idea. Highly recommended!

When it comes to apps, the perceived value always seems to be much smaller than the app is really worth. 99 cents is very popular on the App Store. However, I think it will be wise not to go with the flow and really think about your audience and what they'll be willing to pay. Better yet, try to bend your ideas to fit to an audience which has more money to spend (Business Store for example...). Most importantly, be flexible. Start with a slightly higher price and be wiling to experiment with the price. You can never know for sure. Don't give away anything for free.

There's one caveat: iTunes rankings! Giving an app away for free might mean that you get more downloads on launch day, provided you run a great marketing campaign. Then, things become real tricky moving forward.

We're about to do some testing with pricing with the launch of tvQ 2.0. Will write my findings post launch.