So you have an app idea.. Now what?
So you have an app idea.. Now what?
First ever app release
5000 downloads in 1 year
Founded & launched an app agency in 1 hour
Featured on Lifehacker
6 months to make £500 per month
50,000 active users across all personal apps today
Majority of those split between 2 apps (22k, 23k)
600,000 total personal installs of apps all time
Types of app I’ve built
Thing’s I’ve Learnt from working with big companies
Launching & praying is not a marketing strategy
The numbers often lie
Your gut feeling isn’t the same as proof
Don’t bring in developers until you’re ready
Communication is everything
Why this talk? Save you time & money.
Via the following things:
Find out if people want what you’re offering before you build it.
What problem are you solving?
App to change to color green to red
People hate the color green.
This app solves that problem by changing every green color you see to red.
Feedback loop of asking people what do they think of green as opposed to do they hate it? What would they like to do with green as opposed to would you like to reply it with red?
What assumptions are you making?
Is it a problem?
Assumption #1 - People hate the color green.
Is it a big enough problem that people would install & use another app to have it solved?
Assumption #2 - People hate it enough to want it changed to something else.
Would people be willing to pay for the solution?
Assumption #3 - People prefer the color red.
(These need to be true in order for this idea to have a good chance at success)
Proving your assumptions: Lean Startup
Lean startup is a methodology for developing businesses and products. The methodology aims to shorten product development cycles by adopting a combination of business-hypothesis-driven experimentation, iterative product releases, and validated learning.
your assumption example
Benefits of this approach
Find blockers/issues early before you start building
Find out what people really want, where there’s a better opportunity to give value
Spent no money
Took no time
Do people want your solution?
Now you know there’s a problem.. The question is is the solution that you’re proposing what people want to solve their problem?
Step #2 - Do people want your solution?
Tell people. No one will steal your idea.
Start marketing/selling the app today.
How do you do that without the app you ask.. :D
Took 2 hours to make: cost no money, hosted for free, no web developers, no designers, no app development.. The app doesn’t even exist.
Tools of the illusion
Domain/social media name availability: namechk.com
Twitter bot - Great for making an account look active & not a work in progress
IFTTT - Also great for making an account look active
Find websites who post relevant content, aggregate their rss feeds with - put into IFTTT - Tweet it out/Facebook etc..
Tools of the illusion (cont)
Website hosting: Github Pages
Website design: https://jekyllthemes.io etc..
App screenshots: Rough photoshop
App mockups: PSD’s?? Or magicmockups.com
If you already know how to do Facebook Ads or Google Adwords etc.. You now have promo art, a landing page & a method to email capture
If you don’t have photoshop skills..
Step #3 - MVP (Minimal Viable Product)
Hint: It doesn’t have to “work”. I.e. Fake what you can to save time & money.
It could even be a video.
You can even build an interactive demo with Marvel App.
If you don’t have photoshop skills - NinjaMock.com
Know exactly what you want
Step #4 - Almost ready for development..
Define the MVP features exactly
Know every screen you want & how they transition
Know every feature you want & exactly how you want it to work
Know the technologies you want to use
Know if you need a Backend, Facebook Developer account etc..
Know how complex the idea is you want to build & why
Things you don’t know you can find out. Ask people you know, ask on upworks as part of your application process, ask on forums ie reddit /r/entrepeneurs or /r/startups or /r/androiddev etc..
You need to know so you don’t get ripped off by over pricing & so you don’t get ripped off by poor development.
Know what you’re willing to pay.
Use UpWorks to get rough quotes of “lower quality” work
Have all the image assets, text, data for the app ready to go..
NinjaMock the UI
Marvel App your NinjaMocks to build a working demo
Have it all in writing.
Step #5 - Where to find them
Avoid Xamarin or other cross development platforms if you can afford to.
Ask for working examples of things they’ve built, read reviews, try them yourself.
Don’t be impressed by big numbers.
Xamarin etc are one code base that is converted into 2 apps. Issues with this are a - you can’t change developers to iOS or Android developers, complex features are difficult to implement, the reliability on libraries means trivial things natively are difficult or even impossible on cross platform tools.
Step #5 - Vetting Developers
Developers hate tests.
Step #5 - How best to work
Have a spec.
Have a “completed” state.
NEVER pay the full amount upfront.
Have milestones when the next payment is “unlocked”.
Have daily or weekly stand up meetings to track progress, keep on top of things.
Negotiate bug fixing past the “completed” state.
Put it all in writing.
Bonus: Developer pro tips
Development is NOT a black box
See progress at regular intervals.
Expect delays, factor these into your timeline.
Regular builds for testing.
All code should be pushed at predetermined intervals to a git you setup - ALWAYS be in control of the code.
ALWAYS be in control of the signing keys & ALWAYS do the releases yourself.
Bonus: Pro developer tips (cont)
NEVER give them your developer account credentials. Invite them to your project where possible or change your credentials after deployment.
Do not take "I can't show you yet" as an answer - they have something, even if it’s code.
If your developer falls off the face of the earth it's a problem.
Bonus: Useful app dev tips
People will not use your app how you think - get it in front of users as quickly as possible.
Alpha/Beta testing groups are invaluable.
People want to know what they’re buying. Make paid apps either free with paid features OR a complete trial for 2 weeks & then require payment to continue using.
Make it incredibly easy for people to contact you for support to avoid bad reviews.
Analytics from day 1
Push notifications from day 1 to be able to contact users
You app gets the benefits of being shown as free on the app store, you get more downloads (to bump your social proof), the duration they use the free features the higher chance they'll convert - even if just as a thanks.
(Downside to that is obviously people who haven't bought can leave bad reviews.)
They won’t come if you don’t tell them.
Step #8 - Making your launch worthwhile
Tell people. Get your alpha/beta testers to tell people. Reach out to every relevant site you can think of. DM every relevant person you can think of. Reach out to Youtube reviewers.
Reviews are everything.
Be on top of your support emails.
Ask for reviews
Reviews are everything, your app should be asking strategically for reviews, you should be asking for a review when you resolve a support email, respond to negative reviews.
People love getting a real reply from a real human in a timely manner - even an autoresponder saying thanks for the email, leaving helpful tips & saying you will respond will be grateful for.
Collect your support emails to reach out later with new features, ask them to join your beta programmes etc..
Random useful tips
Android update often hack.
Use push notifications in your app for promotions - I send Merry Xmas, Happy Thanksgiving, Happy Hannukah, Happy Friday - you name it.. Be strategic.
Cross app promotion
Be where your users are (Google alerts for forums, comments etc..)
How I built this : Startup : Ebay one??
Use some clever logic so that people don’t keep getting spammed with offers, show specific offers to specific users ie still on a trial, trial expired, have used the app 100 times etc..
People love it when the creators of their app randomly appear somewhere to answer their questions.
Slides @ lowcarbrob.com/outpost_slides
Resource list @ lowcarbrob.com/outpost_links
Email @ firstname.lastname@example.org
@lowcarbrob on social media
App Agency: rnsapps.com