November 23, 2015
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.
November 13, 2015
Category: App Development
We’re excited to share that the retail merchandising app we created for SmartWool was named the 2015 winner of the Tabby Award /Business in the iPad App: Data Access & Collection category! We are thrilled to join ranks with other companies who have been in the winners circle like Citrix, SAP, Morningstar, RosettaStone, and Adobe.
The Tabby Award /Business is the only global competition that recognizes the top enterprise and business apps in the industry. Apps are evaluated on numerous criteria, including overall business value, user experience, design, innovation, tablet optimization, and performance. As a company that strives to demonstrate best practices in leveraging technology, we are honored that other industry leaders recognize our commitment to excellence.
An international panel of 24 judges reviewed over 150 apps before selecting the winners. With more than 300,000 business apps collectively available on Android and iOS devices, winners are positioned in the top 0.01% of all apps. “The lineup of apps this year was incredibly impressive,” noted judging panel chair Carson Conant, CEO of Mediafly. “The slate of apps this year brought the perfect mix of business utility and the clean interfaces that you see in the best consumer apps.”
The SmartWool app leverages the extensive experience we have in helping organizations of all sizes to collect, access, and successfully employ business-critical data. This expertise was recognized by the judging panel, who stated, “We immediately recognized the value of the SmartWool FSR app for streamlining field data collection, decreasing reporting time, and improving store service. We found the app to be highly intuitive with clear dashboards and reporting.”
As you may recall, a sales presentation app that we developed in conjunction with Gulfstream Aerospace was also one of two finalists for a different Tabby Award. In this case, we must tip our hat to Adobe for winning the iPad App: Marketing & Presentation category. Congratulations!
September 10, 2015
Category: App Development
We are so excited and humbled to have our work commended by The Tabby Awards! The Tabby Awards /Business is the only worldwide competition designed to honor the best mobile apps for businesses and professionals.
Over 150 apps were evaluated this year and just 40 iPad-optimized apps were selected as nominees for the final round. Submissions are judged on a number of factors, including user experience, innovation, design, performance and reliability, and the business value that they add to an organization. Only those that excel in multiple categories move forward. Nominees and winners are selected by an international panel of independent app experts.
An app we developed for Gulfstream Aerospace was nominated in the Marketing and Presentation category. Gulfstream is renown for creating and delivering the world’s finest aviation experience, and they wanted this client touchpoint to reflect their commitment to excellence. Built as a sophisticated mobile education tool, the app showcases the aesthetics of the jet’s interior and exterior, explains Gulfstream’s technological advances, shares critical performance characteristics, and introduces the company’s award-winning customer support.
Another app, developed for leading outdoor brand SmartWool, is a contender in the Data Access & Collection category. The app is used by SmartWool’s field sales reps to improve their effectiveness at retail merchandising. Merchandising plays a critical role in the sell-through of products, but is time-consuming and error prone. Reps are able to use the app to quickly capture and share information about point-of-sale (POS) signage, displays, and stock levels. In addition to cutting reporting time in half, the app helps them to service accounts more quickly.
While different in their function, both apps are valuable sales enablement tools that are making a difference to those who use them.
Learn more about these projects and others by visiting our Clients page.
June 18, 2015
Brad led a lively online discussion with the Google Small Business community, fielding questions ranging in topic from the “app graveyard” to a frequently asked question about the cost to build an app.
It was a first for InspiringApps to participate in this type of forum and we had a lot of fun with it. The Google moderator, Berrak, started the discussion off with a question to distinguish between a mobile app and a mobile website and we kept rolling from there. Participation from the community included questions about the Upbeat Workouts app to “going big” with your app right out of the gate.
Thank you to all who participated and to our Google moderator, Berrak Sarikaya. You can read the full hour’s worth of discussion here: https://plus.google.com/u/0/events/cenmae20j1522psnqvifhs2idd0
June 12, 2015
Category: App Development
Need to learn some basics about app development and whether it makes sense for your company? Our CEO will be speaking with the Google Small Business Community on Wednesday, June 17 at 2:00 MDT. Google has numerous community forums, and this one was created to help small businesses get the help they need to succeed on the web by connecting with experts and each other. They provide ongoing training, compelling discussions, and insider tips.
The group describes the upcoming event this way: “The average smartphone user has 33 apps installed on their device. Should your business be their next download? During our June #Mobile #OfficeHours, we’ll be discussing the differences between mobile websites and mobile apps, and the potential value a mobile app could bring to your small business. Join us as we speak with Brad Weber from InspiringApps, a mobile app developer for small businesses.”
We’re looking forward to the discussion around the topics that arise during this hour and encourage you to join in. Check out the event here.
December 2, 2014
Category: InspiringApps News, IA Team
Michele recently joined InspiringApps as our Marketing Director. She comes with a wealth of experience in marketing, especially for the active and outdoor markets, due to her 15 plus years working for the GORE-TEX brand.
Michele grew up outside of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania where she spent her days running around the neighborhood, meeting friends at the pool, and playing kickball in the streets. Some of her favorite childhood memories stem from camping in the gorgeous hills of central Pennsylvania.
Although she attended a high school with a strong STEM emphasis, an interest in broadcast cable led Michele to begin her college years as a Communications student at Penn State University. She soon realized, though, that she missed being more technically focused. She switched gears to engineering, and graduated with high honors in Mechanical Engineering in 1993, confident she’d still be able to use her communication skills along the way.
After college, Michele accepted a position at W.L. Gore & Associates, a company known for its unique corporate structure and innovative products. She worked in product and technology development for a number of years, then moved to product management, and finally landed in the marketing world. Michele jokes that joining the marketing group was likened to “going to the dark side” since she was no longer involved with product technology or development. But the dark side was kind to Michele. In a recent 3-year period, she achieved strong GORE-TEX® brand presence online and doubled the number of sites telling their brand story.
Michele has always loved the business side of things. She enjoys watching the lights go on as potential customers realize why a product is worth their money. At InspiringApps, she is excited for the opportunity to spread the word about what we do well, helping us to grow into new market areas. We are thankful for her dark-side experience!
Outside of work, Michele loves to help create community, often over a shared meal or a glass of wine! She is grateful to live near world-class mountains, and getting to hike, camp and ski in them is a fabulous treat – especially if friends or family are involved too. Michele and her husband are raising four kids, so many weekends involve sporting events, Girl Scout activities, or other kid-centric fun. “It’s a full life,” Michele states, “but I am very grateful for it.”
June 26, 2012
Category: App Development
Development projects are usually completed on either a fixed-price or time-and-materials basis. Additionally, revenue-share options are explored in some partnerships.
In a fixed-price arrangement, you will receive a bid from your development partner to complete your project. Typically, you agree on the scope and price before work begins. It is an advantage to know up-front what you will pay for the finished product.
There are some downsides, however. Fixed-price projects require more time defining detailed requirements in the discovery phase. To deliver an accurate, reliable, and firm bid, the project scope will need to be nearly ironclad before any work commences.
What defines “value” when considering the cost of app development?
You want to develop your app as economically as possible while achieving an acceptable level of quality, functionality, and reliability. Your app will, after all, become a reflection of your organization. How do you begin to discern the balance point between cost and value when choosing a development resource?
Imagine you have an app you want to develop for internal use in your organization. You sent a description of your idea to four potential development resources. Here are the responses you received:
June 14, 2012
Category: App Development
It is exciting to think about all the great features of your app, its anticipated success in a store, its adoption by your internal team, and its benefit to your organization. But a business decision-maker’s thoughts quickly turn to finances, the economics of app development.
It is a common misconception that apps must be cheap and easy to build if companies are able to give them away or sell them for $0.99. Like the mainframe systems, desktop applications, and web applications that preceded them, apps are software. Tools are constantly improving to make software development more predictable and easier in some respects. But those improvements tend to support the expansion of what is possible rather than dramatically reducing the cost of development.
The average cost to develop a mobile app is a difficult number to pin down. The range is quite wide—free to over $1 million. According to OS X Daily a “small” app can cost between $3,000 and $8,000, while costs for a “more complex or recognized brand app” can range from $50,000 to $150,000. Padgadget.com suggests a wide range of $12,000 to $150,000 or more in their post “The Cost of Building an iPad App”.
So how do you know where your app will fall in that range?
June 7, 2012
Category: App Development
Buying an app is like buying a suit. Sometimes you can pick something right off the rack that is a perfect fit. Sometimes you can find one that, with just minor alterations, will do the trick. But there are also occasions when nothing but tailor-made will do.
Depending on your needs, budget, and strategy, the same is true for apps. If you need a productivity app to be used within your organization, you may find something off-the-shelf that achieves the goal nicely. If your business has unique practices, you may have to adapt the app to fit your needs. If your requirements are complex and specific to your business, or you hope to sell the app to others, custom-made is the way to go.
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