Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Why Is My Phone so LONELY?

Last night I spoke on a panel with a few friends in the valley. The topic was about the social games business model and whether it was right for every startup.
To start with, my first question was about "KPI". It caught my esteemed panelists by surprise, but it's a term that defines the metrics we live and die by. Two didn't really know the term.
Social Games live by the metrics. Metrics at the top social game companies are measured in minutes and hours, not days, weeks, or months. But in minutes and hours, you can only really process data if it hits a meaningful number of users.
This brings me to the point about LONELINESS. I am a single user on my phone. I don't have a way to get my friends to play on my phone, or on their phones. So the phone and mobile apps are inherently lonely.
I remember a video from a games conference a few years ago. In it, I remember the slide of a room full of college-aged guys sitting in a room taking turns playing Friday Night Fit on a Playstation.
The search for social is on for many people. It's the essence of Web 3.0. But the reality is, we as people might not be ready for a world where we communicate with each other through screeens even when we are sitting at the same table. So, my phone is lonely by choice because it is personal, like my closet, my shoes, my shirt, my coat. And I probably would let more people visit my closet, try my shoes, try my shirt, borrow my coat than I would borrow my phone.

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Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Regaining Developer Trust

I'm sorry it's been awhile since I've posted. Life happens and so does work. I'm going to start to regularly write about life in digital media and beyond. The title isn't appropriate for what I do since I don't just work with media companies, consumer electronics manufacturers, and service providers like Cable and Wireless companies. But it's where I started because life changed after the devices and projects I worked on got one thing - an Internet connection.
Today I spent an hour catching up with a friend who's spent a lot of time working with developers. More than anything, developers are people, like you and I. They aren't an icon. They aren't some source code. They are people. And they are a key part of an organization's success.
I've worked at IBM, Nokia, and Photobucket. At all the companies, figuring out what was right for the developer was always at the center of my projects. But as you roll out new ideas and services, we tend to protect and guard them, rather than poll the masses for feedback. Developers sense that, and it keeps them from investing in your platform because they aren't sure how everything fits together.
It's becoming clear to everything that I do - developers are an extended part of an organization. As a key member of a company that caters to developers, helping them match users with apps in the competitive world of mobile apps, many companies struggle to see how developer trust is key. At lunch, the friend was telling me how some deals were won. It wasn't about how much money was being thrown at the developer. It wasn't about how much marketing or distribution could happen with the platform. At the end of the day, it was about how easy it was to work with the person that represents the company to the developer.
As we all build developer programs, let's try to remember that developers are people. They aren't userIDs; they aren't an app; they aren't a datapoint. They are people that need to be treated as core to your mission. In my mission, developers are key to generating the content that keeps my consumers happy. As we build out these programs, be transparent, exchange ideas, and keep iterating on the products and services that the developers need to continue to create with the products and services they have.

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