I could not love this more. Can we get all of the news sites to do this?
I can’t tell if this is official or not. Either way, bookmarked.
The Lehigh Valley Tech Meetup is an excellent community in the Lehigh Valley that meets monthly at the Ben Franklin Technology Partners incubator within the Lehigh University Mountaintop campus. The community around the meetup is excellent and the building is amazing*.
While the tail-end of my presentation walked through my experience building my first iOS app Summit, the majority of my presentation was focused on helping early stage companies think about their go to market strategies.
I’m currently advising several companies, a few of which are businesses built around mobile apps, and have heard about 11 other start-up pitches this year so far. And during that time I’ve noticed a trend. Entrepreneurs that are attempting to build a business around an app sometimes underestimate the amount of thought that should go into the marketing and sales strategy for the app. It is as if some feel that apps are less thought and work than products that you can touch. So during my presentation at LVTech I hoped to convey that the same “boring” (yet, tried and true) business practices that apply to products also apply to software.
A few questions I urged those thinking about building a business around an app were:
By considering these, and may other questions, you can determine if your idea has enough layers to support an entire business or if you just have an app idea**.
I also briefly discussed three misconceptions I’ve been seeing over the last year dealing with very early stage start-ups. These misconceptions were:
We then did about 10 minutes or so of questions and answers. The questions I got were really great and I appreciate all those in attendance helping me with the answers to the questions I didn’t have much experience in.
Thanks to Tim Lytle for the invitation to speak and to Ben Franklin Technology Partners for the continued support.
* I worked in this same building for years while at Viddler. But when I worked there the back half of the building didn’t exist. In fact, Viddler started in Jordan Hall – the building just beside the new building. And now, they are extending it even further. The building is an amazing place to work and have a meetup of this kind. I’m jealous that our incubator in Scranton feels so dated when compared to this building. Especially comparing the meeting spaces.
** It it totally fine to “just have an app idea”. I do. And I’m loving working on it. But it is also good to have the proper perspective about your app idea.
I want the web to be faster. Breaking links should not be part of the solution.
AMP is terrible. As is any solution that changes the URL. When wap.* or m.* was “a thing” I hated that too. Now, more than ever, there is less reasons to change the URL to load a web page tailored specifically to the viewport, device, connection. It is possible to do it without changing the URL.
Dave Morin, CEO of Path, recently did a small AMA on Product Hunt. He pointed out this article on Wired about Path breaking apart its mobile apps into other applications. Something I wrote about recently as well. Here is some interesting bits from the article.
All this “unbundling” is a response to multiple market forces in the world of mobile devices, but for Morin, splitting the Path app in two is a way of keeping up with the capriciousness of today’s mobile phone users. “On mobile, we’re starting to see this trend where people try out a social app and everyone flocks to it for a while and then they move on to another one, and this happens at a much faster rate these days,” Morin says. “We wanted to move into a situation where we have a sound foundation but then can release multiple apps on into the future.”
It is hard to argue with this thinking. Just about every week “the masses” switch from one app to the next. Not just in social networking but also camera apps, messaging, etc. So if Path is repeatedly a source of new apps, rather than simply a single app, then perhaps they can be a choice.
But Morin also says that in becoming a “multi-app company,” Path can also take take better advantage of new technologies on mobile phones and even fix mistakes it has made in the past.
He goes on to mention that new phones with new features, sensors, etc. are released all of the time and that new apps from Path can take advantage of these more easily than older, more legacy ridden apps.
However, there is — as always — some caveats.
Like Facebook, Path is completely removing messaging from its existing app. If you want to continue trading quick messages with people in your Path network–something that has driven much the service’s growth in recent times, according to Morin–then you’ll have no choice but to download the new Path Talk app. Some people won’t want to do that, and even if you do make the move, there’s no guarantee that all your online friends will move with you.
To me this is the biggest risk. Why didn’t App.net work out? Wasn’t it’s Alpha service as good if not better than Twitter? That is certainly debatable. But what wasn’t debatable is that there were not enough people using Alpha day-to-day to make the service as valuable or interesting as Twitter is.
Social services are made or broken by their users. If they don’t get millions of users they will not succeed. Camera apps aren’t so tied to popularity. Even a relatively healthy audience per app should be enough to make money on.
For my own personal usage I think Path breaking out messaging and also this new “TalkTo” service they acquired makes complete sense. Because, while I thought Path was gorgeous, I found the limit on friendships to be too limiting for me to use the app regularly. By breaking these new apps out I can give Path a try again in a whole new way.