Marketing Meltdown

The following story has been all over the airwaves in December. Customer named Dave orders the Avenger game controller. The manufacturer is N-Control. They seemed to have contracted out customer service to Paul Christoforo of Ocean Marketing. Paul goes back and forth in email with Dave explaining the delay. Things get a bit ugly in the correspondance.

Dave forwards the emails to game sites. This includes Mike Krahulik of Penny Arcade. Initially Mike was emailing under the name Gabe. Later he states his real name, that he runs Penny Arcade, and hosts the PAX conference. Christoforo gets into it with Krahulik. After Krauhulik posts the email history to the Penny Arcade web site, the mobs come out to roast crucify Christoforo.

Personally I found Christoforo's put downs very funny. This guy obviously has no place doing customer support. I think one moral from the story is that you should be humble and admit your mistake when you get busted by a superpower like the founder of Penny Arcade. Otherwise you will be dealing with damage control for months on end. I got a lot more to say about this. I will try to blog about this in the upcoming days.

The Thank You Economy

I was reading a blog post that wrapped up by talking about hustle. I would give you a link. But they could not spell hustle correctly, so they lost points. However I was directed to watch some Gary Vaynerchuk videos if I wanted to conquer the world. Who? That's what I was thinking.

Gary's web site has a link to a keynote speech he gave in Las Vegas for Re/MAX. He even makes fun of the fact that most people in the audience would not know who he is. Most recently he wrote a book called the Thank You Economy. I did seem to recognize him from the wine review web site he created a log time ago.

Gary's goal is an old one. He wants to get you to provide great customer service to ensure you get customers that stick. His angle is that you can spend a little time with social media reaching out to such customers personally. That can provide you with lifelong customers.

I don't know if Gary is onto something big like he says he is. Perhaps he is looking to make more sales for his books. Or he really has discovered the next big thing. Time will tell.

The Face Matters

There have been some corporate blunders this week. One was Paypal freezing the account of somebody buying toys for kids. The other was Download dot com who added evil malware to an open source tool. The interesting thing to see was how the company responded to their wrongdoing. Or should I say it was interesting to see who was assigned the task to apologize to the user community.

Download dot com came out strong. They had the attractive Catherine Hwang draft a response. She looks like a cute asian girl. Who is going to continue to be up at arms with Download dot com when Catherine says sorry?

Paypal, on the other hand, Anuj Nayar put out a release on the toys for tots issue. Yeah he may be the director of communications at Paypal. But yikes. I could repeat some of the comments on Hacker News about this guy's photo. But that would be plain mean.

Here is the outtake. Make sure somebody attractive doles out the apologies when your company screws up. It will only help the reponse to be received warmly.

Master Marketing

I was reading a technical trade magazine today. Usually I read these things quickly. There is not much time to view the ads. However one ad grabbed my attention with ease. It looked like this:

ad = new MillennialMedia();
developerBank += revenue;

This immediately made a connection with me. They did not have to explain what this was. It looked like Java or C++ code. The code is something only programmers would understand. This company gets it.

Millennial Media is some type of ad solution for mobile apps. I applaud their marketing department. Normally I think of Google as the main source of ads. However now Millennial is on my mind. It might not translate into business from me right away. But you never know.

Amazon Kindle Proposition

Recently I heard that there were many free book titles available for the Amazon Kindle platform. Sounded like a great deal. Upon further inspection, many of these books were the first in a long series. I guess it is a marketing ploy.

The price seems to be right for the Amazon Kindle reader. Some even have 3G capability so I do not need to be in a Wi-Fi zone. However I checked with one friend that I know has a Kindle. She said the darn thing broke already. She only had it for about 6 months. She needs to get in touch with Amazon to find out how to get the thing repaired. Not good.

Lately there has been a story going around about a Kindle user whose account was frozen. Amazon would not release the reason why the account was frozen. The result is that all the books that were purchased as eBooks were unavailable. Apparently the Kindle does not store the book on the Kindle device. Or at least the DRM prevents the viewing of such books.

Sweepstake Fail

I saw a Nesquik sweepstakes with a nice grand prize. It was a trip to Disney World. I could use a prize like that for the family. However I did not have any Nesquik. There was a way to get codes via snail mail. I sent off for one, including a self addressed stamped envelope.

I got a reply pretty quickly. The code came with a nicely colored letter from Nestle consumer services. They directed me to a Disney site to enter my code. Okay. I entered the link and found that I needed a Disney account to participate. Annoying. but I entered in some info. They required all kinds of personal stuff. I had to give them some bogus info to prevent an identity theft when somebody hacks their database.

Finally I enter my code. Then I was expecting to find out whether I won or not. No such luck. I just get to some screen that gives me a choice of some free stuff. It all seemed like garbage. I took the least sucky option of downloading a printable image. I clicked it, but never got the image.

Okay let's review. I provided these schmucks a self addressed stamped envelope. In return, I had to enter in all my personal info. Then I was not informed whether I won. I also could not even collect their weak door prize due to some error on the web site, or some other nonsense. Way to frustrate a customer Disney and Nestle.

Rock Star Pay Discrepancy

I just read a eye opening post from Hirelite comparing Rock Star pay. Rock star programmers make 10% more than regular programmers. While rock star musicians make 150,000% more than regular musicians. Whoa.

I am looking at this from the programmer perspective. There are two ways to see it. One is that it does not pay to be a rock star programmer. At least it does not pay significantly more. Why be a rock star then? You could just sit back and chill like a regular developer and make just about the same amount.

The real answer is that you need to own your own business. Then if you can leverage your rock star skills, you can make a whole lot more.

Price Points

I got an old Chevy pickup truck. When I say old, I mean about 20 years old. The thing runs. But it is showing its age. I figured I could spend some money to fix the thing up. However I started thinking about replacing the thing.

One of the problem is that trucks seem to cost a lot of money these days. I could buy a used one. But that poses a risk that I buy a used one that is thrashed. so I have been keeping an eye out on car ads in the paper.

I saw an ad for a new Chevy truck that was marked down to $16k. So I went to the dealership and took a test drive. The thing had some issues. It was underpowered with a V6 engine. The color was white which I detest. It was a bare bones model - no CD player or power lock/windows/etc. But you can't argue with the price.

Initially I passed on the deal as cash was tight. Then I saw the price keep falling to just over $14k. Woohoo. I was trying to saw up the cash. Then the price jumped back up to $16k. Now that is still a nice discount from the MSRP. But these guys are not going to get a sale from me if the previusly offered the same vehicle for $2k less.

HDMI Rip Off

I just read an expose on high end and expensive HDMI cables. Here is the conclusion: they are scams. If you pay more than five bucks for your little cable, you are getting ripped. These cables transmit digital video. You either get the signal or you don't.

If you get the signal, then it will look the same whether you have an expesive or cheap HDMI cable. The video quality will not be magically better if you buy an expensive HDMI. So skip the scam. Buy the inexpesive one from Amazon. You will not be disappointed.

This has been a public service announcement. Shout out to Geoffrey for the 411.

Extra Value

I watch DVDs with my brother every week. We also grab some dinner while we watch the movies at my house. More often than not, we just head to McDonald's. They are really quick. The food is adequate. The prices are not bad. My brother usually treats as well.

Every so often, my brother will bring over a coupon booklet from McDonald's. This allows us to get some free items with our order. Sometimes we walk into the store so we can both use the coupons. He leaves the coupons with me.

I like a McDonald's breakfast every once in a while. Previously the coupons I used were for a free large soda. Now they have changed the coupon to be a free large soda with purchase. To maximize my value, I buy a sandwich off the dollar menbu. I couple that with the coupon for a free drink.

Here is my question. Why is McDonald's providing the coupons? They can't be making that much money off me. Maybe they are trying to attract new customers. Or perhaps they are trying to get some goodwill from me. It is working. But I do not think they are getting such a great return on investment. We already go to McDonald's and pay full price for more expensive food without them sending us coupons.

Steve Jobs Resigns

Today Steve jobs resigned his position as Chief Executive Officer of Apple Corporation. He plans to stay on as chairman of the board. He also recomended that the board name Tim Cook as his replacement. We knew this day was going to come sooner or later. Well not it has come.

I am thinking about buying some Apple stock. But the thing I like to think about is the time when Jobs and Wozniak started Apple the company. They had some other jobs. But they had a vision. The story is that they started the company out of a garage. They were plugged into the tech community back then (Homebrew Computer Club).

You had to know early on that Job and Woz were going places. Their company growth was hot just like another start up Microsoft. Bill Gates already retired. And now Jobs follows in suit.

This Web Host

There was some recent ruckus about some accounts being deleted from ThisWebHost. Some dude had a PayPal issue. His friend got involved. Both of them had their accounts deleted by an admin. The administrator also let them have it over Twitter. Normally this would be just another customer service dispute.

Today I saw that the administrator was being repurposed from customer support to just technical issues. A new administrator blogged about being the new voice for ThisWebHost's customer support. So far so good. Then the blogger dropped the bomb. He asserted that abusive e-mails to the company were illegal. WTF?

I understand the company is getting blasted over the inappropriate tweets from the former customer support. But declaring that e-mails are illegal is just the wrong way to go. They were making a good comeback with the new admin dude. Why try to assert the strong hand of the law? It is almost comical. These guys need to bring in some real PR damage control. Fail.

No Fun

Doing the coding for a new app to sell is a lot of work. But the work is really fun. Coding is great. However coding alone does not sell a product. I am finding a lack of motivation to do the business end of the work.

You got to find out how to accept credit cards online. Boring. You need to figure out and obtain a domain name. Also boring. You have to stand up a web site. Some of that may be fun. But the basics of it are also a bit boring. It is difficult enough to write the software after dark. But doing the business end of this painful. Not much progress is being made.

Good and Bad Image

I was on the Yahoo main page after reading my email. There were no interesting articles to read there. Boring. But the image of an advertisement caught my eye. Some dude was totally ripped. He was like a football player, only with more muscles and a skinnier waist. I was down to find out what this ad was about. So I clicked through to the web site behind the ad.

Oh course they were selling some type of nutritional supplement. I want to look the like guy on the ad I clicked on to get there. Unfortunately I saw another image on their web site that was disturbing. That did not look like the shape I want to be in. Perhaps if this was the guy I was playing in a video game, I would be down. However it was just too disturbing to think I might look like that from taking their vitamins or whatever. Sale fail.

Going Shopping

You got a product to sell. How are you going to do it? I have been asking myself the same question. This must be a problem that has been solved. So now I just need to get that solution on my own web site.

The overall goal is to get a shopping cart up and running with as little cost as possible. Most options involve a recurring monthly cost. Some make you pay an up front setup fee. The ones I like the most are those that charge a certain percentage of your sales. That sounds best because it limits the risk in case nobody buys my goods.

The costs are sometimes tricky. Often times shopping carts require you to have a merchant account, which itself has a monthly cost. Once the pricing structure is down, I would prefer a solution that does not require a lot of technology on my web server. Those technologies may bump me into a higher web hosting plan.

I would like the user experience to be optimal. That means I prefer the cart to work seamlessly with my my web site. It would be better if the user did not have to leave my site to go to a payment processing site. And it is easier for me if I don't need to do a lot (or any) customer programming to get the shopping cart working on my site. Let's see what is out there that meets my needs.

The Beta Test

You have finished coding up your application. What is the next step? Maybe you can start selling the thing and begin making some cash. That is a very premature move. You would hate life if the thing you shipped is chock full of bugs. All software has bugs. But you want the one you ship to be free of the easy to detect and fix type of bugs. You need to run a beta test of your software.

The best beta test will be one conducted by actual users of your software. That might be difficult if this is your initial release. Instead you need to have some people you trust to test out the code. This might be a contract with a service that does testing. Maybe you could scrounge up some developers to do the job. I would like to call on some friends (who themselves might be developers) to bang on the app. Only then will I know what things I have overlooked during my unit tests.

I do have a wild and crazy idea that might not be feasible. I could write some software that itself would do the beta testing. It could randomly simulate clicks and key presses. Or it could be tailored to click away like a nommal user would. Then it could compare the app results with what it expects is the correct behavior. The output that has the most bang for the buck would be that which does not conform to expected behavior. I will let you know how my beta testing comes along. Stay tuned.

Almost Done

I just finished slapping together an intro screen for my app. This thing is so close to being ready to ship. I really only have to put some protection against the crackers. I don't want somebody breaking my app and releasing to the world for free.

I know you cannot prevent your app from getting cracked. However I want to make it as difficult as possible. My hope is that the crackers will see that it is too much trouble to crack such a small app. Maybe they will then move on before breaking into my app and putting the results on some torrent.

It is all up to me. But in about a week, this thing will be fully ready to ship version 1. I figure I should slowly add the crack protection while putting together my web site to feature and sell the app. Things are definitely looking up. I had ideas for a few more killer options. They can all wait for version 2.0 though. Let's get some customers and make some cash now.

Adding Polish

I got the basics of my app completed. Some of the extras are getting done as well. For example, I am putting some small graphics on the screens. I also want the install process to be solid. This thing is just about ready to be sold. It is only version 1. But it is a complete minimal app.

Now I am trying to figure out what domain name to choose. Initially I thought I would register a name that has something to do with my app. Perhaps I should choose a name that represents my company. I plan to be selling apps in different areas. Do I want multiple domains specific to the types of apps I do?

It all comes down to what is best for Search Engine Optimization (SEO). I might get some points for having my target words in the domain name. But I think I will do best if I choose a generic company name that gets popular. Then I can just add new apps being sold on my company web site. All right. I got a company name. Let's see which domain names match or come close to my company name.

Selling Features

I got a minimal set of working features in the app I want to sell. You would think I should start selling. However I want to add about 20 percent more. These will be the killer features I hope will generate more sales.

This is all a numbers game. Perhaps the new features might increase sales. But if I don't put this thing on sale right now, I will get no sales until I do. They say you should release the minimal viable product and start the sales right away. However I need to have some hot features to put on my sales page.

There are a whole lot more ideas I could implement. I am saving all of those for versions 2 and beyond. So I think I can delay shipping the first product for a month or so.

Version 1.0

I got version 1.0 of my Poker Quiz application completed today. This thing helps you learn to identify the correct poker hand. Now I could sell this version. But I think if I put in another 20 percent effort, I can have a really polished version 2.0 ready to wow my customers.

Currently the game plays correctly. It has a minimal high score screen. I have an install program that will configure the app on a Windows PC. Things are looking pretty good. It has taken about a month to get this far. One week I was sick. So the actual calendar time was 3 weeks. Another 20 percent effort should take less than a week.

Now the hard part comes along. I need to set up a web site to sell the thing. Perhaps I should get that effort started while I work on getting to version 2.0. That way the web site can gain some relevance in the search engines such as Google. Yeah. Okay so I need to figure out my domain name, and get the darn thing registered. Will keep you posted.

Time To Pivot

They say you should start selling your software by creating the simplest of programs you could write. I tried to pare down my college course registration idea to its simplest form. But even that was a huge undertaking. It was going to take me between 6 months to a year to come up with the minimal product.

It takes more than just the coding to cash in. You need to put up a web site and do some marketing. I don't want to wait 6 or more months before I get to that. Time to pivot and choose another program to write. Today I got the inspiration from a guy discussing technical interview techniques. He let's candidates solve simple problems using pair programming. One of their tests is to write a program to determine what type of poker hand a person has.

My idea is going to spring from that test program. I think I can code the thing up in a few months. We are talking 3 months tops before I have a polished program. The thing will be simple, but will provide some value. There will be plenty of opportunity to make the thing better and sell the improvements. Let's see if we can get this new idea off the ground.

Advice from a Veteran

Some dude put together a book about development and recently released it for free. He assembled the book from the 4000 or so posts he has contributed on the net. Pretty cool. He pulled his comments up into a database, sorted and massaged them, and spit out a book.

The advice was split between startup type ventures and development and general. I took a close look at the business end of this posts. I was surprised that he spends about 50% of his time in development. I thought development was a small portion of running a business.

Here is another unusual piece of advice. He recommends you do not quit your day job. The reason is surprising too. It is not due to keeping up with a paycheck. He says you can learn a lot about product needs at your day job. Then you can meet that need with your ISV.

The author recommends you make things that people actually need and are willing to buy right now. Like others, he stresses that you make things simple and stick to the Minimum Viable Product. Good stuff.

Got an Idea

I finished reading the book All The Rage. It follows the story of Napster, the MP3 file sharing program from 10 years ago. I was inspired to find that a high school kid was the author of the program. Sure they had some other dudes writing code. But he originated the thing.

If a high schooler from a tough neighborhood can start up the Napster revolution, then I figure I can come out with a product. I alreday have an idea. It will target college students, or high schoolers looking to enter college. I have scraped some college style data and loaded it into a database. I have also developed a proof of concept prototype.

Now I need to turn the prototype into a real product. I am trying hard to keep it simple and get something that can ship. Next I need to set up my web site. I hear you should do that even before you have a product. Ready, set, let's go.

Super Couponing

I clip coupons in the weekend newspaper circular. They save me a few bucks every week. I know I cold do better. One lesson I learned by accident is that you can double up by using both a store coupon and a manufacturer coupon on the same item. Sweet.

I recently got a book on couponing. It explained that there are different levels of coupons users. Apparently I am a novice. You can also go online and print out coupons to add to the mix. Finally you can also put coupons on your store card for the ultimate savings. Go figure.

Although I am only starting to read the couponing book, I have learned a few gems I shall try out. You can search online for the name of your store and "deals". It will give you some great savings. Let's see what else this little book can teach me.

Saved by the Coupon

I got a letter from a hotel I had visited about a year ago. They were running some specials on rooms in the off season. The price was right. They also included a bunch of coupons with the deal.

When I got the hotel, I found their service a bit lacking. Now that soured the deal. However the coupons came in very handy. Overall the deal was just average considering the weak service.

This hotel had the opportunity for a big win. They could have impressed me with a greal deal plus great service. That would have me returning when the rates returned to full price.

However with the service being sub par, they lost some business when they would be making a higher profit. You need to follow through if you grab customers with coupons. Otherwise you will fail on your loss leader.

Free Webcast

I was reading one of my favorite ISV blogs. The author was talking about a video he had produced. He planned to sell it and make some cash. For a limited time, the video was supposed to be free. I figured I would give it a try.

I was directed to the AppSumo web site. Initially I needed to enter my email address to get through. I figured this was fair since the video was free. Then I found another barrier. I needed to tweet about it on Twitter or share it on FaceBook before getting through.

Ok. So first I need to provide my email address. Next I need to tweet or share. What is the next level of pain I need to endure before getting my free content. No thanks. I don't think I need the free content. Sheesh. At least the company did not lose any money from me. I was just going for the freebie.

Ousting Cofounders

I just read quite a story about Noah Glass. He was one of the cofounders of Odeo. This was a company with a product that was put out of business by Apple iTunes. The point of interest was that Glass was also involved in the creation of Twitter. He was fired in 2006 when Odeo got bought out by its CEO. His involvement appears to have been covered up or omitted.

Noah Glass states that he named Twitter (orignally called Twttr). He does concede that Twitter creation was a group effort. The site originally ran from his laptop. Glass wanted to spin Twitter off from Odeo as a separate company.

Evan Williams was the CEO who fired Glass. He previously worked for Google. When Odeo was becoming irrelevant, he asked employees to come up with new ideas. They came up with the idea for Twitter. Williams spent around $5M to buy the company back from investors. Then he let Glass go.

Evan Williams is the creator of Blogger. You know he has the power. That includes the power to kick out a cofounder. Ouch. How do you protect yourself against such tactics? I don't know. Maybe you got to be a single founder with your own funding.

Grey Shirt Girl

A blogger that I like to read ran an experiment. He got a picture of a girl that produced great success in FaceBook ads. He then submitted an FaceBook ad of his own featuring this girl. FaceBook turned him down.

Apparently the word about this girl has been going around for a while. She produces amazing click through results on FaceBook ads. Yeah I get it. She is busting out of L7. So the boys are going to click through like crazy.

Here is the part I don't understand. Both women as well as men click on this ad. Why would women be clicking on the ad of a busty woman? Also this is an image of a woman who is not all that beautiful.

What I am wondering is that if this image works so well on FaceBook, does that translate to Blogger as well? Let us see.

Good Advertising

I was reading some technical magazine. There was an advertisement in there for a free eBook. The company invited readers to come on an adventure to learn some new stuff.

I went to their web site to give it a try. They were smart. They broke up the chapter of the book. You had to visit different pages on the web site to get to the link of each page. The book itself was a decent overview of Agile software development technologies.

The company did not require me to enter any personal information. They got me to check out their site. The book was well written and left a good impression in my mind. When I need to do something Agile, guess who I am probably going to turn to first?

Making Money by Self Publishing

I read the story about a technical author that tried to self publish a small book. None of the traditional publishers wanted to do his small pocket guide. So he went to do the publishing himself. The bottom line was that he made about $3k a month in the end. Not too shabby.

Read about his adventures first hand. His marketing angle was to give away free PDF versions of his book. That turned out to be a good ploy. He is also trying to get into cheap Kindle eBook sales. Check out his 99 cent books.

Coming to a Theater Near You

I saw that there is a new program going on in a big city near me. This summer they are doing an incubator for 10 individuals or groups. You apply for the job via YouTube video. If you get accepted, you move to the city for the summer.

The stint is a 3 month stay in the city. You also get some cash to fund you. This idea is nothing new. It is novel only because there are no big incubator projects like this around my location. I don't live in Silicon Valley.

I don't think I will be applying for this opportunity. I would like to though.

Failed Sales Pitch

Some time ago I entered a contest to win an adjustable bed. Entering sweepstakes is a hobby of mine. I was waiting for an important call today. When the phone rang, I picked it up. Turns out it was a sales call. And what a fail it was.

I answered the phone, "Hello?" No reply. I repeated myself. On the third time I heard someone announce my name. I thought it might be an automated calling system. Then some woman starting reading a sales pitch. It was obvious that she was reading from a script.

Come on. Even if you are reading, try to make it sounds a little natural at least. I was asked some questions that I answered. The sales lady did a good job moving the offer forward by saying a representative would be out to talk with me. I declined. The phone call was a fail from the very beginning. You had better start strong or do not call at all. In other words, come correct or stay the hell home. Rant off.

Self Publishing Success

I recently found out about a young adult fiction author who has some great success self publishing her books. Her name is Amanda Hocking. She says she tried to break in the traditional book industry for 8 years. However recently her self publishing books have been bringing in the big bucks.

I looked her up on Amazon. One of her books goes for 99 cents. However I hear most sell for $3. She keeps 70% of this money. I understand she sells around 100k copies of her books per month. Doing the math that comes out to over $200k per month. Damn.

Personally I am going to look for her story in the April issue of Elle magazine. Check our her My Blood Approves blog to find out more about her.

Marketing Win

I got of a bunch of coupons from McDonalds. Some give you the opportunity to buy an item at a lower than normal price. Others give you outright free stuff.

Today I used a coupon to get a free drink. This enabled me to go in and dine in. I usually get a sandwich off the dollar menu from the drive through. But now that I had a free soda, I could go in and sit down.

It turns out that once inside, I decided to go big and order their Big Breakfast. This couple a couple more dollars than I normally spend. All McDonalds had to do was get the coupon to me, and provide a free drink which costs them very little extra.

This turned out to be a big win for McDonalds. I find myself going to them for my fast food needs now. A little book of coupons goes a long way in developing customer loyalty. Of course you need to have a good product, but you can benefit from something extra to keep the traffic in your stores.

Web App Secrets

I just read a magazine article on building successful web apps. Most important thing is to have a really fast app. Do this even if you have to fake it and make the app look like it is responsive.

Make sure your apps reach out to your users with reminders. Here is a thought. Listen to what your users are saying. Then respond by adding new features to your app that wow your users.

The end goal is to make money with your app. That does not mean you have to charge for it. You can go freemium. Or you can puts ads in there. There are a lot of other options.

PR and Infographics

I read this list from Software by Rob on how to launch your startup in 16 steps. It was some good stuff. There were two steps I had not thought about before. They were the use of public relations, and the use of infographics.

Using PR can be costly. So you might want to skip using a big firm at first. You should choose a small local firm instead. Or you can do this in house. Just make sure you don't assign it to a junior employee.

I had not heard the term "infographics" before. Apparently it is short for information graphics. It is a graphic representation of data to make complex topics easier to digest. An example of an infographic is a map.

Startup Compensation

I checked out a chart on Ackwire that detailed the compensation for a bunch of people at startups. The salaries varied between $50k and $150k.

Equity was normally much less than 1%. Mostly it hovered around a quarter of 1%. There were some notable exceptions. One person had a whopping 25% equity in their startup, but had a very low salary. However another had a respectable 3% equity in addition to a high salary ($130k).

The valuations of the companies were mainly in the $1M to $10M range. So if you consider the average equity was a quarter of 1%, then the equity would be worth between $2500 and $25k. Ouch. I guess you better love what you are doing. Because it does not look like these people are getting rich, even if the startup is successful and gets to an exit.

Android Phones

A buddy recently shelled out $200 for a Motorola Droid 2 phone. This included a contract, so the retail price is higher. I am thinking about getting a new phone. I am considering the Android phones for myself.

There are many different Android phones. Android is actually the open source Linux based operating system from Google. Examples of the phone are the T-Mobile G1, HTC EVO 4G, and Samsung Galaxy.

Android has a number of advantages over the iPhone. The phones themselves are usually lighter. You do not have to connect to your computer to get the apps. The web browser supports Flash. It is better for navigation, and well as tethering your computer to it for Internet access.

The Android user base is mostly dudes. Developers prefer to create apps for the Android market. You can only get a true QWERTY keyboard with an Android phone. The iPhone uses a software keyboard only.

There are times when there might be different Android OS versions out there causing some confusion. I hear that Android phones are not as reliable as iPhones. I also understand that some of the Android phones have security holes. I continue to debate whether I should get an iPhone or Adroid based model.

The iPhone

I am thinking about getting a new cell phone. And I am considering the iPhone 4. This is the cooler option. It also seems to be the choice of the younger crowd. The phone itself costs $299 with a 2 year control. Otherwise it goes for $599 retail.

The iPhone in general requires service through AT&T. I hear their cell phone service is not top notch. The rest of the iPhone story sounds good. Apple design is king. The phone is easy and intuitive to use. Their batteries tend to last longer.

The iPhone has the superior software keyboard. It is the best choice for games and music. Applies app store has the most apps. One key differentiator is the front facing camera in the phone. You can do video chatting with other iPhone 4 users.

This phone does not support multitasking. Not sure if that is something I will need on a phone. I also hear the Safari web browser is slow during peak times. You get all iPhone apps through Apple's app store. Apple has a lot of accessories for their phones. The camera is better than most phones. The iPhone 4 has higher screen resolution than most phones.

The verdict is still not out. Next time I will review Android phones.

Profiting With Apps

I just finished skimming a book about getting rich through apps. The book stated that app development is getting cheaper. However a developer still will charge you between $50 and $150 per hour for coding up your app. That does not seem like an avenue to get rich, especially since FaceBook apps are free.

The details on how to create apps for both the FaceBook and iPhone platform are changing all the time. I learned that there are two varieties of iPhone apps. There is the native variety that runs on the iPhone operating system. Then there are iPhone web apps that run on the Safari web browser.

Going a little deeper, you write native iPhone apps using the Objective C programming language. However iPhone web apps are developed just like other normal web applications. You code in a combination of HTML, CSS, and JavaScript.

Finally note that games are the best selling apps. It seems like there is too steep a learning curve to code up an app myself. I think for now I will take a pass on this money making opportunity.