APPNATION SF 2011 was fun


As of late last week, I didn’t plan on doing anything this week.  I saw a posting on the Women 2.0 website asking for women mobile developers to apply to win 1 of 5 free conference passes and a demo pedestal for APPNATION SF.  I couldn’t resist, so I put my name in the hat.  Viola!  I had won.  On top of that, because I was an APPNATION conference attendee, I got to enter my Eventabulous iPhone app into the AppCircus app pitch competition, a partnered event with APPNATION.  Unfortunately, I was not selected as one of the top 10 contestants, but last minute (day before) they had an opening and guess who took it?  Moi!

On the first day of APPNATION SF, I skipped out on the keynotes and anxiously prepared my demo pedestal.  Tent card?  Check!  Macbook with demo video?  Check!  Candy?  Check!  iPad with app?  Check!  Business cards and flyers?  Check!  Check!  I was ready to rock and roll.  During the day, the foot traffic was okay, not too busy, but not dead.  I made a conscious decision to hang out at my pedestal for the rest of the day instead of attending any sessions.  I met some interesting people and did a full demo to over 10 people.  I estimate about 200-300 people attended the conference in total.  Later that night, I did my pitch to an audience of about 50-75.  My 3 minutes of fame on stage was up so fast, but I loved the opportunity.  It was great!  The judges were from ReadWriteWeb, Mashery, Churn Labs, Samsung Developers, Wireless Industry Partnership, Pockergamer.biz, and Mobile Monday London.  The winner of AppCircus was Geoloqi, a secure, real-time mobile and web platform for location sharing.  I chatted with them shortly before the pitching started and found out that they are from Portland, Oregon, yay, my home state!  Congratulations to them.

On the second day of APPNATION SF, I took it more easy and attended 3 sessions – 1) Intel AppUp Application Development Lab, 2) Monetization Strategies, and 3) Free, Freemium, or Paid?  Intel had a big presence at APPNATION with a huge expo area giving out free pop (soda for the clueless), popcorn, and t-shirts.  At their 2-hr  lab session, you learn about how to develop for MeeGo and Windows OS using their SDK and IDE and how to get the apps into their AppUp app store.  Most importantly, at the end of the session, you get a MeeGo OS tablet (exopc slate) for free.  Well, you get it to use it for 3 years and may have to return it at the end.  The panels on Monetization Strategies and Free, Freemium, or Paid? were good.  I’m glad that I attended some sessions on day 2.

All in all, I enjoyed attending APPNATION SF.  I got a free pass, a demo pedestal, and a chance to pitch on stage.  What more can a girl ask for?  Also, my Eventabulous app got more downloads.  Thanks to Women 2.0 for hooking me up!

My notes from APPNATION:

  • App users are more likely than pc users to pay for apps
  • Almost every app category has a dominate app – social fb, weather weather.com, etc
  • Word of mouth is a big influence for app discovery
  • You might have 1000 play your game, 50 of them pay, and 1 of them give you half your revenue
  • Mistake of not putting ads on the homepage, did one day and made an extra 1k a day
  • Mistake of not testing out other a  networks, started with admob and didn’t change it
  • On startup – celebs leave voicemails for all fans to get text and dial in and listen to, hard to convert to ticket sales bc most didn’t have credit cards/money to pay even though they call 1-10 times a day
  • Apple users have the most wallet and are willing to pay 1-3 dollars for apps
  • You can start pricing high then lower the price the longer that the app is out
  • Free apps and inapp purchases have been very powerful going forward
  • Freemium works very well for games
  • Removal of ads has not been a good reason to upgrade to paid apps
  • One recipe app passed location to ad networks and saw more effective ad rev, but users were pissed as to why location was needed to search recipes.
  • Logo and icon are very important, don’t skimp on these (Sophia’s comment: makes me think of shape of perfume bottles, big diff)
  • Ipad users willing to pay 5-10 per app
  • Urbanspoon traffic doubled year to year, 7 figure a year revenue, 3 ppl built the company
  • Zynga poker model – money going in and no money going out, reduces liability
  • 75k apps on ipad, price of ipad apps going up
  • A lot of women are spending more time on mobile, looking for restaurants, where to shop
  • DirectTV went to urbanspoon to help ppl find sports bars with premium DirectTV sports channels near you
  • 80-90% are free apps in app stores
  • Old navy encouraged shoppers to use Shazam app to figure out what songs were being played in the stores
  • Urbanspoon closed the loop by now having a reservation system for restaurants

Some people whom I met:

  • Android game developers
  • prior Startup Weekend attendees
  • Mobile payment company
  • Ringtone company
  • Mobile incubator lab
  • Sales from a major tech blog
  • Startup bank
  • Software strategist
  • Big book retailer
  • Mobile ad network
  • Online store coupons

Sophia Perl

Sophia Perl is a product manager for a database tool at IBM. She has over 10 years of software development and management experience. Sophia holds a BS in Computer Science from University of Southern California and an MBA from University of California at Davis. She is the creator of iPhone apps PicPredict and Eventabulous.

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