Tap Into Riches with Mobile Content Marketing

By John Houghton on January 14, 2014

Picture of a phone in front of dollar bills.

Before I get into how apps can be used for content marketing, many of you might not know what Content Marketing is, so let me first touch on that.  I like the way Wikipedia sums it up:

“Content marketing is any marketing format that involves the creation and sharing of media and publishing content in order to acquire customers. This information can be presented in a variety of formats, including news, video, white papers, e-books, infographics, case studies, how-to guides, question and answer articles, photos, etc.  Content marketing is focused not on selling, but on simply communicating with customers and prospects. The idea is to inspire business and loyalty from buyers by delivering consistent, ongoing valuable […]

The Product Requirements Document (PRD): The Swiss Army Knife of App Development

By John Houghton on January 13, 2014

Picture of a man touching icons.

The Product Requirements Document (PRD) is the Swiss army knife for getting software built, and that includes mobile apps.  It’s a basic software design document.  I remember working with a billionaire software investor.  He always wanted a good Product Manager because they could write a PRD, and a PRD is all you needed to hand to a developer to get your software built.  He was pretty much right.  If you have a PRD, you have the roadmap that a developer can use to develop your software for you.  See my previous article on, The role of the Product Manager on a Mobile App Development Team.

At a big company where there is time for a lot […]

The Role of the Product Manager on a Mobile App Development Team

By John Houghton on January 11, 2014

A graphic showing the facets of Product Management.

Mobile app development has pulled in many people from outside the software industry, and one role that outsider CEOs, investors, and stakeholders frequently don’t understand is that of the Product Manager. 

In this article I explain what a Product Manager does and why they’re important to a mobile app development team’s success.  In software and app development, the Product Manager is the product owner.  They are the CEO of the product. 

At a single app company the CEO is sometimes also the Product Manager.  You could say that the main job of the Product Manager is planning, specifically, planning the next release of software and bringing together all of the elements to make sure it is well […]

4 Tips for Releasing High Quality Mobile Apps

By John Houghton on January 10, 2014

A stamp of quality.

Now that we have non-software industry CEOs / VPs / Directors / Managers heading up app development projects, I’m seeing many apps that release with a lot of bugs.  Let me share with you the tips I’ve learned from top software companies about quality assurance, and apply them to mobile app development.  These are the most important tips that I feel are often overlooked in mobile app development, and if followed would make a big difference toward releasing higher quality software.

I cut my teeth at Oracle, which is known for its expertise in quickly developing high-quality, inexpensive software.  They have good processes.  I was responsible for Product Management for one of Oracle’s all-time fastest growing […]

How to Get Your iPhone App Approved by the iTunes Store

By John Houghton on January 8, 2014

Stamp of approval.

One of the most vexing parts of publishing an iPhone app is getting it approved by the iTunes store.  It can take a week or longer, and many first-time or unprepared developers get their apps rejected.  My collective team and I have submitted and received approval for dozens of iOS (iPhone/iPad/iPod) apps, and we would like to tell you about our experiences.  The Apple approval process is actually good for you and your users.  For you to successfully get your app through this process means that you get Apple’s seal of approval, and have permission to sit with what is right now the world’s top brand.  Here are the most important tips for getting into […]

Tale of a Costly Offshore Mobile App Development Experience

By John Houghton on January 7, 2014

Picture of a calculator, paper, and pencil.

As you may have read from previous blog posts, my company did an extensive search of many countries for mobile developer talent, both for iOS and Android.  Read my article, 12 Countries for Recruiting Mobile App Developers.  We sent out hundreds of solicitations via LinkedIn, got good responses, screened them, and it seemed that we’d found the perfect candidate.  We’ll refer to him here as Lukas.  While the name of the developer has been changed, the timelines and figures presented here have not been changed.  Lukas said he had made over 50 apps, had a Master’s Degree in Computer Science, and we were able to verify one app of his on the iTunes store.  It […]

12 Countries for Recruiting Mobile App Developers

By John Houghton on January 6, 2014

Map of Eastern Europe.

As I’ve said before, my company is always looking for top developers, so I thought I would share an exercise we did last year to target countries for recruiting.  The first thing I should say is that there are good and bad developers in every country.  The key to finding good developers is knowing someone you trust and getting referred by them; however, a lot of folks don’t know any developers, or the developers in question are all booked up (there is a shortage of talented developers).  When you find a good team, the metrics discussed here might not matter or even apply, so take this data with a grain of salt.  If you wanted […]

5 Things to Look For in Offshore Mobile Developers

By John Houghton on January 6, 2014

Man working at his computer.

Screening offshore developers can be tricky.  Let me share some best practices.  To screen new talent at our company, we come up with small non-critical assignments and give them out to new developers or teams that have already passed the first couple of rounds of non-technical screening.  The non-technical screening shows you if they can keep commitments, read assignments completely before starting, and show up to meetings on time.  Don’t put your new or inexperienced developers on a critical project.  The pitfall here is if one of these new developers or teams is working on a critical project, they might blow through your deadlines and budget, leaving you in a bad spot.  Give them a […]

Should I Offshore My Company’s Mobile App Development?

By John Houghton on January 6, 2014

Picture of the world and people gathered.

As the head of a mobile app development company, I’m always looking to find and mentor new developer talent both onshore and offshore.  In this article I’ll be sharing some best practices for offshore hiring.  In case you didn’t know it, there has been a shortage of talented mobile developers since mobile apps took off in 2008.  The first thing I should say is that you should be offshoring only if you have the extra resources to find and manage a good team.  In effect, what you are doing is using your time to find and manage offshore resources, which almost always requires more time than finding and managing local resources.  The idea is that […]

How Much Does it Cost to Move an iOS App to Android?

By John Houghton on December 9, 2013

Picture of a woman using a smartphone.

Suppose you have an iOS app (iPhone/iPad/iPod) that you’ve developed.  It’s already out on the market, and now you want to do the same thing on Android, essentially move it over.  How much cost or effort will it take?

Basically, it’s about the same coding effort as it was to develop the original iOS app.  You see, iOS apps are written in Objective-C, but Android apps are written in Java.  The languages are totally different and use different libraries.  The things you can leverage are the look and feel of the user interface, and since you’ve been through the development process once, chances are, the Android rewrite will be quicker.

Why hasn’t anyone figured out how to […]

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