DiceTV: At Appnation, Talk of What Makes a Successful Application

David’s chats at APPNATION

Founders of the San Francisco App Show on What Makes a Successful Application

In the one year of producing the San Francisco App Show, Seth Socolow and Dale Larson have seen a lot of successful and pathetic mobile apps. At the APPNATION conference in San Francisco, I asked the two app show founders if they have seen an emerging formula for a successful app. Socolow and Larson say the solution is be simple, engaging, and ultimately having some connection to some other brand to be able to market the product. Larson also noticed that there’s an ever widening gap between the individual app developer and the huge well-funded studio. Those two app development markets are still thriving and unfortunately those working in the middle are falling away.

As innovative as mobile apps are, successful ones don’t reinvent user behavior

Disney ABC Television has expanded its video content onto the small screen. The goal is to deliver a seamless multi-screen viewing experience. And that’s exactly what consumers want, said Albert Cheng, Executive Vice President of Digital Media for Disney ABC Television Group at the APPNATION conference in San Francisco. Cheng said while his group creates a lot of apps, their most popular ones just present their video content.  Having a new toy to develop for like an iPhone may make you want to recreate or reinvent user behavior.  But that’s just wasted effort.  Anytime you try to throw in additional things and try to recreate the experience, said Cheng, it just doesn’t work.

Turn your school project into a successful business

We love stories like this. Edward Marks took the first ever iPhone developer class at Stanford. He created an “Air Guitar” application for his class. It not only got him a great grade, but it also earned him some cash as it became a very popular application in the iPhone app store. At the APPNATION conference in San Francisco , Marks told the story how he and his partner treated their last six months at school as the first six months to launch their app development company, Inedible Software. The best part of being at school when you’re starting a company is you don’t have to worry about food, said Marks. It’s all there for you at the cafeteria.

Android, iPhone, Somewhere Else? Where do you risk your development time?

At the APPNATION conference in San Francisco , David Spark spoke with Bruce Braun of GoldSpot Media and Jamie Wells of Microsoft. Both offered some really good insight on the mobile marketplace and all the current uncertainties. Braun asked, “Where is the market of apps going to go?” There’s too much choice, and it’s difficult to tell what’s relevant. The most successful apps are often extensions of brands that already have a major media or major brand presence. Mobile apps have become a version of the web bookmark, but it’s a persistent bookmark that’s on your mobile device. Wells asked how are we as developers going to handle the fragmentation in the app ecosystem? Developers are having a difficult time deciding which platform? How are you going to create money. Just saying ad revenue is not enough. You have to create something people really want that they’re willing to pay for if you want to monetize it.

Solving developer pains taking an app to market

At the APPNATION conference in San Francisco , David Spark spoke with Redg Snodgrass of Alcatel-Lucent about the systems and programs they’re building for application developers to bridge the complexity of building, releasing, and making money from app development. It comes right down to quality, discoverability, distribution, and monetization. These are the issues developers have, said Snodgrass. To solve these problems Alcatel-Lucent has developed “write once, runs everywhere” systems, plus an application certification process that only requires one level of certification before it’s distributed to multiple application stores. There’s a lot more out there than just the iTunes App Store.

— David Spark

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