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Arvi Krishnaswamy

Entrepreneur and Tech Executive

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I attended DroidSync, an event organized in Mumbai by my friend Prajyot Mainkar of Androcid for app developers and entrepreneurs. I presented a session in the Business Track about applying Lean Startup principles to Mobile App Development.

Read on for a quick abstract, and my slides futher below.

Your New App Idea is One in a Million

You’ve got this great new idea, but your idea literally is one in a million. There’s a million other apps on the iTunes and Play Store, and over a billion downloads. 99% of the apps are downloaded < 1000 times, and are launched just once.

Put another way, those numbers no longer have any meaning. It’s a massive junk pile of apps that solve problems no one has, or ever will.

In the last three years that I’ve been the Program Chair for Droidcon, I’ve noticed this pattern repeat itself with a number of app developers. We’d rather spend hours polishing our app icon than talking to real users to ensure that we are really addressing a problem they have. There’s certainly exceptions, and there are a few outstanding app entrepreneurs around. But lets be honest - they are a minority.

Avoid the Junk Pile

What can you do to avoid your app ending up in the same trash can? Well, there’s no silver bullet for sure, but my learning has been that applying Lean Startup principles to Mobile App Development can help. These principles provide a structured approach to experimentation, customer development, and learning. They will help you ensure that what you are building is what someone out there really wants.

Be a Lean Mobile Startup

My slides also cover off a few tips to work around common objections to applying lean to mobile app dev such as longer dev cycles, the need for a big bang app launch to get higher rankings and wider distribution, and a lack of A/B testing and cohorts analysis tools.

Got feedback or other ideas about how you’ve applied lean to your app development? Chime in in the comments below. Or, Follow me on Twitter for more updates and discussions.

My thanks for inputs & ideas that have contributed to these slides go to: @ashmaurya, @mtrajan, my team at Levitum and various members of the @droidconIN, @pncamp and @blrdroid communities.

Also a big shout out to the other awesome speakers Amrit, Ravi, Prateek, Garima, Boaz, and Santosh. The highlight of the day for me was the time we spent having an open chat with the audience from the stage. And thanks once again for Androcid for pulling off a great event, and wonderful hospitality. They also organized NitroDroid in Goa, and doing a great job broadening and enabling the ecosystem.