The Hungry Games: A Tasty Serving of Business Strategies for M.A.D. (Mobile Application Development) Success
(The Hungry Games: A Tasty Serving of Business Strategies for M.A.D. (Mobile Application Development) Success was a book I originally published on the Kindle platform. I have decided to make it available for free here to the readers of my website. Enjoy!)
Table of Contents
“It is the rule in war, if ten times the enemy’s strength, surround them; if five times, attack them; if double, be able to divide them; if equal, engage them; if fewer, be able to evade them; if weaker, be able to avoid them.”
– Sun Tzu, The Art of War
First, what this book is not.
This is NOT another dry, boring, stuffy “academic” book on business strategy.
This book is not about how to develop mobile apps.
This book is not about marketing strategies or tactics.
What is this book about, then?
This is a book about BUSINESS strategies. It’s about engineering your own success (or do you really want to leave that up to chance?)
This book provides you with a plan of attack to achieve M.A.D. (mobile application development) success.
It’s about getting from Point A (I want to make an app) to Point B (I have a successful mobile app business) in the least amount of time with the least amount of effort. It’s giving you a roadmap to plot out your success and plan for unexpected events.
And while this book is focused on mobile apps, the strategies and principles discussed here apply equally well to businesses in any industry.
I don’t know about you, but I just hate books that talk mostly of theory and provide few examples of real-world applications (pun intended). Well, that’s one thing that won’t be missing from this book: examples of mobile app developers applying the strategies discussed in this book.
Putting the Cart Before the Horse
While marketing plays a major role in a successful business, too many developers (or business owners for that matter) go from development to marketing without giving much thought beyond the app itself. They’re not looking ahead to see how they can build a long-term business. They’re just hungry for downloads. Here’s an interesting fact for you:
“20% of apps downloaded in 2014 were used just once”
– Localytics (mobile app analytics firm)
So, the goal is not only to get as many downloads as you can, but to get and RETAIN as many users as you can. If you spent months developing one of these apps and end up with very few downloads/users, how long do you think you’re gonna last in this business? Not very long, I’m afraid. An app that gets used only once?! Don’t blame it on the marketing. It may be something more fundamental.
You lack a business strategy.
Thinking about and mapping out a strategy before you write a single line of code is critical. Many developers realize too late that had they done a little planning, those many months of slaving away at their computers would not have gone down the drain.
And don’t fall into the trap of thinking “I need to fail fast so I can succeed faster”. While that may be good advice under certain circumstances, just be careful that you don’t put your blinders on while speeding past the warning signs.
I’m sure I don’t have to tell you how important timing is in this business. If you’re late to the game because of an unexpected problem with your app, it can mean the difference between making money and losing money. Sometimes it’s a race to the market. You and other developers may be working on similar apps. And more often than not, the first app to market is the app that reaps the most profit.
“I still don’t see why I need a business strategy. I build an app and promote it. That’s it. What else is there to do?”
Following/copying what your competitors are doing is not a strategy. Developing more apps is not a strategy. Marketing to more people is not a strategy. They’re activities. And activities do not give you a long-term competitive advantage. Strategies do.
Sure, you can follow what most developers do and get the results most developers get: not enough sales to break-even. And that’s not even counting the labor costs: the cost of months of your time spent programming. At an average annual salary of $102,000, if you spent 6 months programming your app, that’s $51,000 just in labor cost. Do you know how many $0.99 apps you have to sell to recover your $51,000 labor investment? More than 73,000 paid downloads! (taking into account the app store’s 30% commission)
Still not convinced you need a business strategy?
There are now 9 million registered developers in Apple’s iOS App Store.
With over 9 MILLION iOS developers, not to mention Android developers, how can you stand out? How do you gain a competitive advantage?
If you do not have a strategy, how do you expect to survive in this extremely competitive market?
If you do not have a strategy, how do you expect to defeat your rivals?
If you do not have a strategy, how do you expect to stay on top?
You can’t! That’s why you must have a strategy.
Having a well thought-out strategy at the beginning will help guide you in making difficult decisions later on. When faced with two equally attractive choices, you will know to choose the option that aligns with your stated strategy instead of the one that would lead you in the wrong direction.
So what follows in these chapters is my version of a chef’s tasting menu. You get small portions of several dishes (business strategies) allowing you to get a taste of what it takes to achieve M.A.D. success!