Where to begin

By Mike / On / In Knowledge

A lot of aspiring App Makers contact me, wondering how to get started turning their idea into an actual product. Should they hire a coder, or learn to code themselves? Or should they start with a designer? Or an investor? My advice, as always, is to start at the end. That is, make a video that shows people using your app.

This accomplishes several things. First and foremost, it establishes the story of your product, which is what people will tell each other about your product. It also gives you focus. People always tell you to do one thing and do it well. This establishes that one thing right up front.

When you’re making the video what you’re doing is you’re putting yourself in your customer’s shoes. You’re stopping to think, in a formal way, about what it’s like for people to use your product. As you go through those motions, you realize what the product needs to be, the genesis of design.

Making a video also establishes a vision of the product. I’m a big fan of generating marketing materials early in the product development process, because it helps everyone know just what exactly you’re intending to build. Great products come from great teams, but only if everyone agrees on what they’re building.

By the time your video is finished, you’ll know what you’re building, what it looks like, and how it works. You’ve also got the video itself, which you’ll show to potential recruits, investors, and customers. In addition to showing the world why they would use your product, the video shows them how they would use your product. This is Apple’s favorite trick: pre-training people with commercials, making the products seem intuitive.

App videos have become increasingly popular if only because they fill the gap left by app stores cutting out trial periods. If you can’t try it, at least you can see someone else trying it. For a lot of people, that’s the push they need to buy. That also means that app videos are as competitive as apps themselves.

The standard presentation rules apply. You want to entertain, inspire, and educate, in that order. A minute is a gigabyte of attention span, so try to keep the video short. Be creative, but don’t go overboard. Getting the audio quality right is more important than all the stunts in the world.

Meet the Makers of South Holland

By Mike / On / In Appsterdam

With all that’s happening in Appsterdam, I know it’s hard to keep track of everything going on, let alone what’s already happened. To review from a few weeks ago, we expanded to South Holland with Appsterdam Delft.

The turnout in Delft was great, and included a number of people who had either not heard of Appsterdam before Delft, or had only been able to read about it online. One awesome App Maker, Gevik Babakhani, actually had Delftware ceramic tile made of the Appsterdam logo!

Photo by Gevik Babakhani

Since the launch, App Makers from Delft, Den Haag, and Rotterdam have been getting together at Cafe Belvedere at the same time App Makers from Amsterdam, Haarlem, and Utrect have been getting together at Cafe Bax. They’ve been working together at the Appsterdam Approved Hangout at Grand Cafe Sping, as we’ve been working together at Appsterdam Noord at NDSM.

We’ve been busy in Amsterdam as well. We launched Meet the Makers, powered by IceMobile, the last piece of our Summer of Appsterdam infrastructure initiatives. Meet the Makers is how App Makers share their latest and greatest, connecting directly with users.

The event was a blast. IceMobile did a tremendous job with both hosting and presenting. We had a huge turnout, with around 80 people showing up to learn about the new ABN AMRO banking app. Check out IceMobile’s sweet dual beamer action!

Sweet dual-beamer action

Appsterdam Delft is preparing their own Meet the Makers, powered by Sping. Come see the newest apps by App Makers of South Holland: Noodlewerk, Innovattic, ii studio, Share Square, and more.

If you’re an App Maker in South Holland who’d like a free place to work among friends, this is the perfect excuse to check out the Appsterdam Approved Hangout at Grand Cafe Sping. It’s exactly the dream: a private cafe with coffee and wifi, but no live music or screaming babies. It’s a little slice of heaven right next to a tram stop.

Meet the Makers, powered by Sping
August 30th, 14:30 – 17:30
Grand Cafe Sping, Nieuwe Plantage 58, Delft