Mobile App Discovery

Fred Grott
Every so often you see a freelance posting that some start-up wants to build a mobile application at a set rate of $20,000 and than set the other part of payment upon success of the application. This generally gets laughed at in the mobile developer communities as mobile application discovery is not just build a good application and get discovered. You as the start-up co-founder knowing what goes into mobile application discovery will be the difference between your start-up's mobile application succeeding and failing in the mobile application marketplace.
 
How Many Installed Apps?
 
The first part of mobile application discovery happens with the actual physical amount of mobile applications user can install into their device. Picture it as the same situation as a Grocery Store shelf.
 
General Mills pays money to Walmart to have their cereal placed on that shelf. If there are more firms wanting their cereal products placed than the actual shelf space than some of those firms loose. Same situation in mobile as its the physical storage space that denotes whether one can install a mobile application.
 
On Apple devices prior to 9.x one had devices at two storage amounts 8gb and 16gb with no external SDcard. iOSX 9 is introducing support for SDCards so we will see iOS phone and tablet models with SDCards at some point in 2017. On the Android side the economy devices had a storage amount of 1gb to 8gb but we could not install apps fully on SDCards until Android L came out which is now 30% of the market.
 
Given the application size, 8gb is about 12 to 15 applications. With being able to install applications on SDCards on both platforms in 2017 and SDCards typically being 32gb to 64gb as the size one can install in these devices we should see an upward swing of the number of applications mobile users have on their devices.
 
Funnels of Attention, Where Are My Apps Being Discovered?
 
Funny thing is that is not how it works in that If I tell you that Musical.ly was discovered on social media, than you will blast social media with interruption messages and wonder why your application did not get discovered. First, your start-up has to discover the product that mobile users you are targeting want.
 
Musical.ly could have did what every other musical listening start-up does in that they offer some music listening feature. What Musical.ly did was take that music listening feature and deduce that its a music discovery thing and than change that activity to one that lip-synchs music. Given how popular lip-synching is on late-night TV is was a good bet that it would take off.
 
Once the product is discovered that mobile users want than one can than address the footprint of that mobile application on social media to influence the upward swing of the growth of the mobile application. But, it is not the way that old style media in previous centuries has worked, ie interruption.
 
Product Discovery, What Do Mobile Users Want?
 
I have been involved in some start-ups, each time product discovery was the start-up co-founders dictating the vision to the product team and then expecting product discovery to magically appear from that dictation. It does not happen that way in that you cannot dictate to users what they are interested in or what they want in a mobile application.
 
Are Design Shops great at discovering mobile application products? To answer that let's look at Chicago Design Shop's social media footprints. A lot of these Chicago Design Shops have a lower social media foot print than I do and some even have a lower social media footprints than even you , the start-up cofounder. Should that be? Probably not and let me tell you why.
 
A Framework for Product Discovery
 
I have a framework I can use to discovery the mobile application product a group of mobile users will want to install. Its a somewhat magical framework in that you pick an interest and than by participating in social media talking about and offering free things focused around that interest you get to discover what social media users will want in that particular subject area.
 
That is the other aspect of the mobile application discovery equation is that you have all these social media frameworks where if you participate and start offering free stuff focused on the subject area of the mobile application you want to create you get to discovery what all the people interested in that subject want.
 
Guess how many Chicago Mobile Application Design Shops are doing this? ZERO!
Should you not as A CHICAGO START-UP want to find that android mobile application developer that will focus half their energies on becoming domain-experts of the subject area of your start-up's mobile application and use that to start getting an audience on social media and discovering what those users want?
 
 
Conclusion
 
Mobile Application Discovery starts at actually going through the process of mobile application product discovery. That is a habitual effort of participating the community of the subject area of the mobile application and discovering what potential mobile application product that group may want. Someone's vision with out action in this area is somewhat a Purple-Haze pipe dream that offers no salvation to the start-up co-founders.
 
DO NOT EQUATE REPUTATION OF VISUAL DESIGN WITH PRODUCT AND MOBILE APPLICATION DISCOVERY..as they are emphatically not the same. Or to put it a better phrasing...PRODUCT DISCOVERY IS MOBILE APPLICATION DISCOVERY! use social media platforms as the funnel to participate and discover the product and mobile application discovery will happen.
 

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