When Ilene saw the tweet from her friend of 20 years about an article for an unnamed source, she shrugged, said what the heck and responded. Opportunities like this are passed by every day, by most people because they don’t see the value in putting themselves out there and taking a chance. When you run a start-up company though, these chances and opportunities can look even more daunting, which is why we are glad that Ilene not only responded, but was able to put a little more information into the hands of Newsweek Readers about what it takes to make a better smart phone app…
From the intro:
So what does it take for a new app maker to get in on this action? We asked two entrepreneurs who have already done it. Ilene Jones, 38, is cofounder of Kitty Code, maker of iPhone’s Hurricane storm-tracking app, which has logged 60,000 downloads at $3.99 a pop. Derek James, 39, who runs Polyclef Software, has created paid games for Android that have clocked more than 50,000 downloads.
The article speaks to both iPhone and Android applications, they being the two biggest contenders in the field right now. The iPhone advice that Ilene gives:
1. Planning makes perfect
Don’t hire a developer or make a significant financial investment until your idea is completely fleshed out, Jones says. Figure out exactly what you want the app to do, how the user will connect with it, and what expansions you envision. “Otherwise, the fine details can get overlooked.”
2. Find your niche
Jones, a “weather geek,” knew there was a gap in the market because she couldn’t find a weather app with the details she craved. That’s why her Hurricane app lets users see a storm’s category, its longitude and latitude, and its probable path—all things she felt a hurricane app needed.
3. Play by the rules
Apple must approve an app before it’s posted (that took two weeks for Jones), so study the App Store review guidelines. Avoid rejection by staying away from anything that appears pornographic or defamatory. Apple also dings apps that compete with its business model.
4.Think before you price
Jones’s app price was based on an educated hunch. In 2008, there were about 1,000 iPhone apps, ranging from 99 cents to $5.99. Jones knew she had to buy enough server space to handle spikes in usage during storms, so she went down the middle and priced hers at $3.99.
5. Promote strategically
Jones sent a promotional download to select reviewers. After a good review on The Unofficial Apple Weblog [TUAW], sales went from three to 100 for a day, then settled at 20 daily downloads. Jones also contacted 148apps.com, which named Hurricane a finalist in its 2009 Best App Ever contest.
We would like to thank Newsweek for talking with Ilene, and look forward to obtaining a printed copy to frame in our offices!
Here’s the whole article…