At AppNation, Peter hosted a panel discussion of a new age of companies, driving a new model in the app economy. The following are my notes on the panel discussion.
Peter and panel take the stage. The group is described as a motley crew.
- Session Leader: Peter Biddle, GM, AppUp, Intel
- Andrej Nabergoj, CEO, Outfit7 (Talking Tom)
- Raj Singh, Entrepreneur-in-Residence, SRI
- Mike Rowehl, Co-Founder, Churn Labs
- Ben Keighran, CEO, Chomp
- Scott Kveton, CEO, Urban Airship
Panel described as Motley crew. Peter is hosting the panel discussing and suggests to learn more about him “google” Peter Biddle "about half of it is true,... the bad half" ;-)
Peter starts with comment about the traditional “ebb & flow” with tech businesses, where typically we see tiny mom pop shops rise up with innovation, then megalith corps scoop up the talent and become world powers... rinse & repeat; and he comments that this time its seems different. Peter suggests that the software lifecycle, time to market, customer feedback etc is much more compressed.
He then asks to the panel to consider how things have change for independent developers who want to start something, or people clinging to edge of a business, how do you maintain an ongoing running value.
Peter starts by asking Andrej, creator of Talking Tom, how this worked in his business
Andrej explains there is an efficient distribution channel now. His company started in Slovenia, not Silicon Valley, where he wanted to create company that would build products that would inspire. He explained they researched the local 3D artist community to create inspirational app experience and found they had great success. Now you have a situation where great apps coming from every corner of the world. App stores are the most meritocracy based distribution channel.
Peter turns to Raj and asks if you have efficient distribution across the world and a compressed time, how do you maintain a fundamental investment in IP, where you stuff can be easily duplicated once it hits the app stores.
Raj explains that in the IT those efforts are in R&D labs and even there he finds that it is becoming less about the algorithm and says once you are out in the market it’s a race. “Raj says you need to question if you can provide a technical approach that creates an advantage, and can that be duplicated? Make sure you consider the business side, how well you execute and how fast you can run. Packaging a solution provides value. That is difficult to duplicate
Peter adds that the experience per technologies in specific use cases is harder to replicate.
Peter now turns to Mike and asks if there is a fundamental difference from tech rich silicon valley areas vs frontier environments
Mike explains he sees advantages on both sides. From a traditional side there are advantages is building upon all the failures that went before. In the frontiers there is the advantage of fresh thinking as well where you have a willingness to experiment on your own. That is the sweet spot right now.
Peter asks from a geographical perspective if the issues in Barcelona are same as in Silicon Valley. Mike explains they are very similar, and London is also following a similar model, but he explains the biz environments are different, i.e. how you handle monetization or where you focus your efforts changes per geography.
Peter turns to Ben, about his article on tech crunch that says “it feels like its 1996” and what he mean. Does that mean he sees another crash is coming?
Ben explains that we see innovation when people consume media thru a new channel. In 1996 new entrepreneurs took things like media & gaming and provided that thru a new channel such as the web browser. Ben sees we learned a lot since then and can’t imagine a similar crash.
He says that mobile over the last 3 years represents a new experience a new way to consume internet via apps. Apps provide an alternative to typing in a URL or launching a bookmark to a web page. Instead you launch experience from the device that feels designed for the device. New value is created and we see apps like Instagram which feel like the new Flickr
Peter asks Scott about "pushing bacon"
Scott explains he wrote a book "Making Bacon" about selling bacon on the internet & how quickly you could you launch a biz with supply chain fulfillment. They ended up selling 600 lbs of bacon a day.
With Urban AIRship he drives engagement to monetize apps using mobile push technology. Urban AIRship launched in 30 days. It was more than a website. They had an API, developer documentation and launched by going to a conference handing out donuts, which landed them some big clients.
Peter asks the panel if you had the choice, had a magic wand and could create strong fortifications for businesses like it used to be; would there be value? Mike says he doesn't think so and says he never thought it was actually possible and was a result of some cooperative conceptual hallucination. Raj agrees but as that some specific biz relations are a barrier and if you have them are some form of fortification.
Peter asks about the flip-side, suggesting that people at the top of the app stores are garnering the rewards and cites that 50 top apps are 50% of the download. The group responds that is not entirely true on the revenue side and that there is revenue is more long tail.
Peter ends the discussion with a final question on the long tail economy. What is one thing you wish you could change or effect? The group responds with the following wish list.
- A mobile solutions for enterprise
- A viable 3rd alternative,
- More than open platforms, need open services
- Net neutrality around user data
- More app stores, more platforms - HTML 5 apps
- Apps working in realtime based on location.