Protecting Personal Information

Protecting Personal Information: Tips for Consumers and Companies

One key aspect of privacy in the current age is controlling and protecting personal information that is gathered about you over the internet and across other digital mediums. Earlier this month we began our discussion of personal privacy in the digital age with an overview of the practice of data tracking. Data tracking occurs when organizations like online service providers or commerce sites capture everything from your internet search terms, to purchasing habits, to IP location. We reviewed how organizations are leveraging that data, and how to opt out of data tracking if desired.

In this post, our focus is on protecting personal information that people are prompted to provide to execute transactions, browse certain sites, or share online. We all regularly face the requests, so it’s important to think consciously about where you share such data. Further, as business executives, many of you will sit on the other side of the table, making decisions about what kind of personal information to collect from consumers or clients, and how to be effective at doing so. This also requires intentionality, lest you expose someone to undue risk. Read More

Hooked book

Getting People Hooked on Your App

Happy 2017! We hope this year holds prosperity and success for you. We’ll do our part to advance your success by including content in our blog that is interesting and informative to people like us: people inspired and energized by technology and all its nuances. We’re kicking off the year with a review of a book that we think you should add to your reading list for 2017.

When someone comes to us with a new app idea and says, “I know nothing about app development,” we always encourage them to get a free copy of our book. It provides a broad overview of the business and technical considerations involved in an app development project. We have recently come across another book, Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products, that we think is an excellent companion to it.

Why do some apps succeed while others do not? Author Nir Eyal would suggest it’s because use of the app has become a habit. Habit creation is both an art and a science, and Eyal unpacks the science of it through explaining a design pattern called “the hook.” A hook is an experience designed to connect the user’s problem to the company’s solution with enough frequency to form a habit. Read More

NewCo Boulder Logo

NewCo Boulder 2016 Inspires Us

Boulder had the privilege of hosting its third NewCo festival last Friday, and we were thrilled to be able to participate. With a mission to “identify, celebrate, and connect the engines of positive change in our society,” NewCo provides an opportunity for purpose-driven businesses to share their stories with entrepreneurs, job applicants, and potential customers that want to learn from them. Thanks to the efforts of Engage Colorado, around fifty innovative Boulder companies opened their doors and invited participants to come see for themselves how passion and purpose change “work” from simply a job to an endeavor that can change the world. Read More

Watch App Development

When to Develop a Watch App (or Not)

With the recent release of Apple Watch 2 and new versions of Android Wear smartwatches introduced regularly, the idea of building a watch app is front of mind for many clients. A watch app seems cool and timely (couldn’t resist), fun to use, and super convenient. While a watch app is all those things, it may not be the right choice for your business.

Although some watch apps (like fitness tracking, Apple Pay, music) do still offer some functionality without a phone nearby, watch apps do not stand alone at this point in time. As a result, one doesn’t build a watch app instead of a phone/tablet app, but rather alongside these devices. The best watch apps do not mimic the features of the phone app, but act as a companion app that takes advantage of the unique features of the watch in order to bring additional value to the user’s experience. In almost all cases, the user will continue to use other devices for more in-depth tasks. Read More

Denver Startup Week Effective UI

Denver Startup Week 2016 Highlights

We love the energy and passion typically found in any gathering of entrepreneurs, and last week’s Denver Startup Week did not disappoint. Billed as a “summit of entrepreneurial energy, innovation, and connection,” the event began just five years ago with a desire to create a sense of connection among those in the Denver startup community. With this year’s record-setting registration of over 12,000 people, DSW has done just that, while solidly establishing itself as the largest free entrepreneurial event in North America.

Denver has long had a vibrant startup community, but the size of the city doesn’t lend itself to the easy sense of connection found in a place like Boulder. Rather than lament the size, DSW founders leveraged the presence of the larger corporate environment while pulling best practices from events like Boulder Startup Week. The combination resulted in an event that catalyzes connections among those with an entrepreneurial spirit, hopefully building foundations for long-term economic growth in the city and region. Read More

The Cloud

Top Reasons to Choose Cloud Computing

Talking about clouds used to mean that you were talking about the weather. These days, though, referencing “the cloud” likely means you are talking about accessing on-demand computing resources through the internet. Rather than using a personal computer or local server to store and manage data, using the cloud means that a business (or individual) is leveraging a network of remote servers to host and process their data. The reasons to choose cloud computing are numerous and we’ll review several of the ways that our business, and that of our clients, has benefited from using the cloud. Read More

iOS or Android: Which First?

iOS or Android: Which platform first?

A common question we receive is whether we recommend building both iOS and Android versions of an app at the same time or just one at a time. And if they are built at different times, should iOS or Android app development come first? We touch on this question in Chapter 3 of our book Inspiring Apps: A Business Perspective on Building Mobile Apps, but will provide more insight on this debated topic here.

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Marketing Your App

At this point in time, over 2 million apps are available in Apple’s App Store (with similar numbers in the Google Play store), but very few have garnered significant revenue. With the proliferation of apps, even the best products need concentrated marketing attention to rise above the noise. Your marketing team has ideally been involved since the beginning, doing market research to identify needs and define objectives. Having a clearly defined value proposition is critical, but what are the key aspects to app marketing? How do you go about getting the word out to your target market?

As you would expect, there is not a singular answer. The digital marketing age is filled with a myriad of promotional options, and in some ways, there are too many choices. We’ll outline a few key platforms often used in marketing apps, but it’s not likely you’ll want to leverage them all. Knowing your customer base is essential to determining which options will be most effective — and which aren’t worth the time. Read More

App Development: Market Considerations

The start of the new year tends to be filled with resolutions, and perhaps one of yours is to build that app you’ve been contemplating for so long. App development has exploded over the past several years, so if you have a great idea, it is tempting to rush headlong into a project. Before diving into the technical details, though, we encourage you to spend time clearly defining the opportunity, and reflecting it against existing solutions. This is necessary whether your target user is an internal team or a consumer external to your company. It’s even true for gaming apps, as differentiation is always valuable.

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NewCo Boulder 2015: 8 Lessons Learned

NewCo took Boulder by storm last week and the team at InspiringApps enjoyed participating in the varied presentations around town. We were encouraged at QuickLeft to be intentional about diversity, and glad to see others such as Pivotal Labs committed to lean methodologies. We also enjoyed a tour at eTown, got recruiting tips from Turning the Corner, and one of us even tried brussels sprouts for the first time at the Made in Nature session!

Not only did we learn about our neighbors and the cool and innovative things they’re working on, but we also hosted a session in our office. Our CEO, Brad Weber, presented “8 Lessons Learned in 8 Years of Making Mobile Apps.” As Brad shared a few pivotal stories from our history, he drew out key concepts and provided some salient wisdom for any entrepreneur or business leader:

Don’t partner when you can hire. Although starting alone can feel daunting, hiring may be a better way to begin. A partnership is a serious and long-term relationship and, as the team at TechStars also noted, it’s important to know as much about a potential co-founder as one does about a potential life partner.

Hire with an eye toward the future – but not the distant future. Resources are limited in the early days, so it’s important to be thoughtful about what skills can take the company to the next horizon.

Building a team of employees is hard work, but worth it. Using contractors seems to offer the promise of less risk, but it has its own set of challenges.  Investing in an all-employee team can lead to better cohesion, mutual commitment, and lots of fun!

There is value in working under one (leaky) roof. Flexible out-of-office hours are a key part of our culture, but we gain a lot by also having one space in which to collaborate together.

Without project management, there is chaos. It’s tempting to forego the overhead of project management, but a client-based business benefits greatly from such leadership.

Lean is a better approach to development. A desire to get things just right causes many companies to invest too much and wait too long to release a product. Using small, iterative steps enables a company to be more nimble – and gain better market feedback along the way

Align costs and revenues to bid projects. Instead of fixed bids, we often found it better to use high-level estimates for the whole project, then time and materials for a given sprint.

It’s a delicate balance between product work and custom development work. Client work pays the bills, but it can’t drive all the priorities in resource allocation. Maintaining steady progress toward other goals (in our case, product development) is required to keep the momentum going.

If you’d like to learn more details about what Brad shared, contact us and we’d be happy to share. 

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