With more than 119,000 apps in the Apple AppStore, discovery is a huge problem. Facebook is just as tough. And to make it worse, you're at a disadvantage because large networks have the upper hand of experience in platform strategy and a louder voice to get their products heard.
If you're a two-person garage development shop and starting from scratch, how do you create an app that can go viral?
If you're not a giant company, how do you exploit your newness and focus, using the key ingredients of success?
How can the smaller developers team up with bigger brands that have name recognition? When should they go it alone?
How do they build a company that bigger investors will notice?
What are some of the platform tools at your disposal that can be used to get your apps noticed?
How does discovery fit with the right business model for your app?
Panelists include: Randy Angle (Director of Game Design, SGN), Julian Farrior (CEO, Backflip Studios), Ge Wang (Co-Founder, CTO, & COO, Smule - maker of Ocarina iPhone app), and Peter Farago (VP Marketing, Flurry).
Moderator: Matt Marshall (Editor in Chief, VentureBeat).
As the Director of Game Design, Randy Angle, another gaming legend, has joined the team to spearhead design for SGN's games. He has a passion for designing creative and innovative games. His credits include over 60 games, in every genre, on every imaginable platform, many as Lead Designer and Creative Director.
Brands he has made games for include: Star Trek, LEGO, Lord of the Rings, Dungeons & Dragons, Spiderman, Dora the Explorer, SpongeBob SquarePants, Fairly Odd Parents, Danny Phantom, Jimmy Neutron, Zorro, Deal or No Deal, 1 VS 100 and many original titles.
Peter Farago brings over 14 years of marketing and product management experience spanning consumer packaged goods, video gaming and mobile industries. At Flurry, the leading cross-platform mobile application analytics provider, he is responsible for all facets of product and corporate marketing.
Prior to Flurry, he led marketing at mobile game maker, Digital Chocolate, helping build the company into a top-ten publisher world-wide. He joined Digital Chocolate from Electronic Arts, where he managed The Sims franchise, the #1 PC game of all-time. Farago began his career in consumer packaged goods at Pacific Sun, where he was head of marketing and sales and increased revenue from $8M to $40M. Farago holds a BS from UC Berkeley and an MBA from The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.
Julian Farrior is founder and CEO of Backflip Studios, a mobile game company focused on bringing innovative and thoughtful titles to an expanding group of casual gamers on the iPhone. Backflip has had four top five overall apps and seen more than 13,000,000 downloads in their first 6 months of operation. Their games include popular titles such as Paper Toss and Ragdoll Blaster.
Prior to Backflip, Farrior served as an angel investor and VP of BD/Operations at Earthscape, a company that also had early success in the app store. Previously, Farrior spent seven years at Yahoo! in various management roles the most recent of which included heading up emerging market search. He is a lifelong video and board gamer who hopes to see Ultima I soon delivered to the iPhone.
Farrior received his undergraduate education at Colgate University and graduate education at Northwestern University.
Matt Marshall is the editor and CEO of VentureBeat, which he founded in 2006. He covered the venture capital and startup beat for the Mercury News from 2001-2006. Marshall significantly expanded the newspapers coverage of venture capital and startups during that time, in daily articles and a weekly column called the VC Insider, and then online with his blog SiliconBeat from 2004.
Marshall was awarded Journalist of the Year by the Northern California Society of Professional Journalists in 2002, and the James Madison Freedom of Information award in 2003. These awards were for a series of articles he wrote in conjunction with two successful Mercury News lawsuits, in part instigated by Marshall, against California's public pension fund (CalPERS) and the University of California. The lawsuits sought disclosure of the financial performance of venture capital and other private equity funds that CalPERS and UC had invested in, arguing that state taxpayers and retirees had a right to know these results. As a result of these laws suits, public employees now have full access to information on the performance of their retirement investments.
Marshall was a correspondent for the Wall Street Journal in Bonn, Germany from 1995 through 1998. In 1999 he wrote a book while in Germany, The Bank: the Birth of Europe's Central Bank and the Rebirth of European Power. He has also written for the Washington Post and several other publications. Marshal is also the executive producer of DEMO.
Marshall has a PhD in Government and an MA in German and European Studies from Georgetown University.
Ge Wang received his B.S. in Computer Science in 2000 from Duke University, PhD in Computer Science (advisor Perry Cook) in 2008 from Princeton University, and is currently an assistant professor at Stanford University in the Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics (CCRMA).
His research interests include interactive software systems (of all sizes) for computer music, programming languages, sound synthesis and analysis, new performance ensembles (e.g., laptop orchestra and mobile phone orchestra) and paradigms (e.g., live coding), mobile music, music information retrieval, visualization, interfaces for human-computer interaction, interactive audio over networks, and methodologies for education at the intersection of computer science and music. He is the chief architect and co-creator of the ChucK audio programming language, and the Audicle environment.
He was a founding developer and co-director of the Princeton Laptop Orchestra (PLOrk), the founder and director of the Stanford Laptop Orchestra (SLOrk), and of the Stanford Mobile Phone Orchestra (MoPhO). He was also a co-creator of the TAPESTREA sound design environment, and a lead developer of audio visualizations such as sndpeek.
Additionally, he is the Co-founder, CTO, and Chief Creative Officer of Smule (a.k.a. SonicMule, Inc.), a startup company exploring interactive sonic media, with mobile devices such as the iPhone. Smule serves as a unique platform for research and development combining the state-of-the-art in computer music research with the potential to bring its visions to a wide population. He is the designer of Ocarina, an expressive wind instrument for the iPhone, currently enabling hundreds of thousands of users to not only expressively play music, but listen to one anothers around the world.
A panel of experts debate the best method to launch a successful iPhone app.
While some say developing a strong business relationship with Apple is key, Smule co-founder Ge Wang argues that "building products that you really, really care about" is the most important first step.