SXSW Interactive: App Empire

Today is the last day of SXSW Interactive and the crowd in the Austin Convention Center has dwindled considerably. I guess everyone is just tired at this point. Anyway, the first session I attended was called “App Empire” which was being presented by Chad Mureta who is the founder of Empire Apps and co-founder of T3 Apps and Best Apps. He is also the author of “App Empire: Make Money, Have a Life, and Let Technology Work for You”. In the book he lays out everything he did to enter the app world in hopes of helping other people achieve the type of success he has. So I went into the Ogilvy Day stage and for the first time, I actually got a seat.

App Empire

Chad started out the presentation with a mini-movie about what led him to be an “Apprenuer”. In the mini-movie he told us about a car crash he had after a really long stressful day at work that left his left arm completely crushed. It was crushed to the point where doctors said he would never be able to use it again (P.S. his arm is now fully functioning). One day while he was sitting in the hospital not being able to do anything but mess around with his iPhone, his friend came in and gave him a magazine and told him to read an article about some guys who were getting rich from creating apps.

Chad wasn’t a technological guy and still doesn’t know how to develop an app. At the time he couldn’t even use a computer and in his own words he was “computer illiterate” anyway. That didn’t stop him though. He got really interested in the app world and wanted to create his own app and try and make some money. So he thought of a concept and outsourced the development and launched his first app.

Now fast forward a few years, in 2011 Chad cleared $3 Million from iPhone apps alone and he works only an hour a day. Chad said that apps are not only important for making money but they help to aid businesses. Also that in 3 years 80% of people will be browsing the Internet from their phone.

At the end of the presentation he gave us a few very useful tips:

When marketing apps, build an app network of free apps to drive traffic to your paid app. To build that network of free apps find what people want by looking at the top free, paid, and grossing charts and fill in the gap. Using tactics like press releases and SEM don’t help with promoting new apps.

Always use keywords in your app titles

If you are just starting out, you might want to use Apple because its simple, streamlined, has the best distribution, and there is already a huge following. Desk and Elancer are great sites to find developers to help build your apps – and be sure to sign an NDA to protect your ideas Build similar apps that relate to each other in order to build up your app network.

The key is to take existing apps to the next level. You don’t need an amazing original idea you can just improve on something already out by filling the gap. Test your app. Roll it out. Don’t fire all your bullets at once. I think Chad Mureta’s session was really interesting and that his story is pretty amazing. Also I never knew that the world of apps could be so lucrative.

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