Local startup scene

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Full disclosure, I grabbed this screenshot from a game I am playing lately – Hipster CEO. I don’t believe they are local, but the game has some great lessons to budding developers in the area.
First off, the game is hard. You start as a bootstrapped single person company. Like most developers I can relate to this. You have to balance your time between creating your company technically, market wise, and sales. This balance is hard, so you start hiring people. If your product launches well, you end up with lots of competitors. They will try and hire your people away. You can offer perks, and bonuses, but eventually you have to take on investors. They may be very “active” including hiring expensive people. Suddenly your site is hacked, you have to refocus, and you run out of cash. Game over!
The second part of the game that I like is that your experience carries over. So you will learn to be better at marketing, or sales, or design, etc. Each of these skills means you can hold off longer to establish your product, or find new niche markets, etc. You learn the lesson over time that you don’t expect to do one startup and knock it out of the park. You have to build up your skills over time. What a great lesson.
I’ve talked to many start ups over the years and am amazed by those who make it big. They are not just strong technically, or market smart…they are well rounded individuals or teams, who know how to grow their skills and their teams. They know what their weaknesses are and focus hard to improve in those areas. So while many people will tell you play to your strengths, I would add, know your weaknesses and focus on those too.

Does the xBox Announcement Matter

Microsoft has finally made their next generation console announcement. You can watch a replay here. This got me thinking, does it matter? The basics are an improved processor, more cloud integration, improved Kinect, and better media center capabilities. As more and more people are become cord cutters, and more and more gaming is happening on hand held devices, it does seem that Microsoft is realizing it must pivot the value of the console, but is this enough?

To me, the cloud parts could be interesting, if they allowed me to seamlessly transition from playing my favorite MMO on my desktop and then shift onto the big screen in the living room without missing a beat. But other than that, it doesn’t hold much interest. The Kinect part; however, may be the game changer. Improved fidelity and speed in processing may bring us one step closer to the seamless interfaces of science fiction. Add strong Google Now / Siri like capabilities, and perhaps the new xBox One will be the one interface you need to run your house.

Where does your App make it’s money

This week has been just as crazy as any other week, but I guess that’s a good thing. Had a great time this week at my first every iOS Meetup (a sister group of TMUG). While the group was small, we had a great time sharing new apps and ideas about using our respective devices. This got me thinking about all the cool apps I’ve been using on my iPhone and iPad, and how over time I keep rotating which apps I use. I’ve tried multiple news readers (Flipboard, Feedly, and others), but always come back to Reeder. I’ve played with multiple Podcast players, but alwayes come back to Downcast. I play so many games, but pretty much always come back to a variant of Angry Birds.

And so, as a developer I wonder how do others make their decisions on whether to create a new app verses upgrading their existing apps. New Apps, tend to mean new revenue, while updates are free on iOS. I recently picked up an Android device, and have yet to buy any apps on it, but I am loading many of the same apps that I use on iOS. I am betting; however, that on Android you will be able to paid upgrades in the long term, without having to release a new app name. The reason I think this will be the case is that we are starting to see parity in the number of apps between platforms. But iOS still makes app developers more money. Developers will not be content to give out free versions of their app and the upgrade path on iOS will not allow your to access your data between versions; making it even more difficult for your users to experience a seamless upgrade.

A recent story on TechCrunch shows that for now iOS is still the dominate platform for developers to make money. While more and more developers are working on multiple versions of their app (across platform), Android will need to do something to help developer make more money on that platform if app parity is to continue. Right now developers are investing in market reach, but unless that reach is profitable, that investment should end.

Games at Work dot Biz

I am one of the Michael’s over at Games At Work dot Biz. Over the last month I’ve been working to get the site up and running and move our content from it’s old home at Dogear-nation. It certainly had been a learning experience, makes me appreciate all the hard work of the various co-hosts, who also did site maintenance, went thru to make it the site it ended up. Matt Simpson, Steven Harrison, and Andy Piper. I owe each of them a debt of gratitude for working thru a lot of the complexities of building the site, and giving me a great starting point when I built the new site. I also discovered how selfless they were on registering and buying some awesome plugins. I purchased many of the same ones for Games At Work dot Biz.

Go check it out and let me know what you think. I will be posting my first video over here this weekend.