Friday, September 17, 2010

Polyclef is Interviewed for Newsweek Article

So a reporter from Newsweek contacted me a couple of weeks ago asking if I'd be willing to answer a few questions about the app business on Android.

It's not really an article...more like a featurette. It's called How to Build a Better App: Mobile app makers share tips on creating a successful 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.
And my Android-specific advice that made it in?
1. Think local
When it comes to picking a developer, says James, it may be better to hire someone you can work with directly, as opposed to someone in Mumbai. To find the right person, he suggests checking out Craigslist, contacting local tech groups, and leaving fliers at nearby universities.

2. Go where the app lovers are
In 2009, James was a graduate student looking to make “pizza money” when he got into the app game. To figure out what to make, he began reading Android forums and looking for mentions of popular games that users wanted as apps. He started with card games—first Spades and then Hearts.

3. In chaos lies opportunity
Unlike Apple, Google doesn’t review every app. Developers basically upload and push “publish,” says James. And with fewer apps than Apple, Android has more unexploited niches. That said, any Android app will have to be written in multiple versions to accommodate various smart phones.

4. Experiment with pricing
James tinkers with his games to find the right price point. He’s started some games at $2.99, then lowered them to 99 cents for a week to see how that affects downloads. Most settle at $1.99, but WordWise, a game he invented, draws about 40% more downloads a day at 99 cents than at $1.99.

5. Use search to your advantage
James decided to make apps based on games consumers could easily identify. “Someone searches ‘domino,’ and my [Domino] app comes up,” he says. For WordWise, he put a mention of Scrabble in the description so it would show up in related searches.
I haven't seen the print version, but I'm assuming it's the same. Either way, it's nice to have the exposure in a national publication.

1 comment:

  1. Congrats James! We went looking for the article print article and didn't find it on the news stands, but a friend who has the subscription let me know she saw it in her new magazine... We found Sept 13th release on the stands, however that is not the one that was just sent out to subscribers. We're going to check again on Tuesday for new copies :D

    Ilene Jones