High Five is a newly launched iPhone app created by Tommy Nicholas, Nick Philipsen and Matt Russo designed to provide a simple, easy, and beautiful way for users to remember people they meet while out and about.
We asked Tommy to answer a few questions about the new app, and the mobile app industry as a whole:
1. Can you tell us a little about your background? How did you get into app development?
I got into app development because it’s a way to produce things I think are important or interesting. The internet and the mobile revolution have presented an interesting opportunity for creators – to build the things in their minds and distribute them world-wide semi-instantly. However, you can only do this if you learn to talk to computers and tell them what to do, which is why learning to code is so important.
2. What are your current thoughts on the mobile app industry, and what do you predict for the future?
I think mobile apps will change as behavior changes, but will primarily be used for communication, games, and as mobile web browsers, just like they are now. The apps that will really change things will be the ones that take the ambient information phones let us use (where are you, what time is it, where have you been, who are you, etc.) and uses it in powerful ways. Apps that don’t do that will essentially be mobile versions of the things we use computers for, or touch optimized and/or camera experiences.
3. If you could change one thing about the app industry, what would it be?
Apple’s approval process is so damaging to developers. They need to change it, and fast.
4. How do you decide on which app idea to build next? Do you test the market to make sure it’s ready for the idea before you begin programming?
I build for myself. If I make an app and I like it enough to use it, that’s what I decide to focus on.
5. What features or characteristics does an idea for an app need to have for it to peak your interest?
It needs to fill a need I have. Plain and simple.
6. Can you tell us a little about your latest app, High Five? Where did the idea come from, and what problem does it solve?
High Five helps you remember where and when you met people. I found that when I added people into my phone, I would often write in where or when I met them so I could remember who they were later. I realized, this information shouldn’t be written by my – it should be written by the phone! That way, we can do all sorts of things with it: tell you who you met recently, tell you who you met near where you currently are, etc.
7. Is this a solution that can be synced across your devices, and does it update your existing contacts list, or does it create a new contacts database?
This currently isn’t synced across devices, but that’s the plan. We want to make this a device agnostic solution, one that could be accessed from anywhere. The MVP uses the local database in iOS, but we’ll be doing syncing as time goes on.
8. Once you’re happy with your completed app, do you have a process you follow for a successful launch?
I launch on a couple forums to get feedback, and then try to find where I can find more users based on that feedback. I always launch on news.ycombinator.com for things that I think hackers will like, then I try to find Reddit or other forums specific to my demographic to get my users from there.
9. How much time and effort do you put into marketing your apps once the ‘launch phase’ is over?
Tons. More than making the app, ideally. The app needs to market itself to some extent, but if you can’t get more users, what’s the point of building new features? You need both.
10. If you could give one piece of advice to aspiring mobile app developers, what would it be?
Launch fast, fast, fast. Launch way earlier than you think you should.
11. What would you say is the most underrated, underutilized marketing method that’s available to anyone launching a mobile app?
Hard work. Reach out to users individually on social media. You may think this doesn’t “scale” and shouldn’t be used, but these users will become your evangelists that HELP you scale.
12. What’s next for you?
Launching coffitivity.com/hush, an app to control Mac OS X notifications tomorrow, then marketing and improving High Five!