Not long ago, I came across a wonderful collection of app monetization tips from App Development Agency, Fenix. I reached out to Marko, who leads content and marketing for the company, to get his take on the app development industry, and to learn more about their recent pivot.
With large and small clients, including Disney and Pepsi, as well as having survived the move from Facebook apps to mobile apps, I knew his insight would be invaluable to other app developers. I hope you enjoy.
The Fenix Story
It’s been a long and dynamic journey thus far. We started off as a Facebook-focused app development startup.
Since we were a part of a marketing agency, this was a great decision at the time – our knowledge of digital and social media marketing enabled us to provide our clients with multifunctional apps that would help them leverage their social presence.
Of course, Facebook slowly began changing its business strategy and Facebook apps became obsolete, at least for B2B apps. That’s when we realized we needed a change in focus. We were always in love with agile methodologies and this process didn’t take too much time. For a startup, the willingness to pivot or shift in focus is vital.
Looking back at it today – transformation into a full-fledged app development agency was a natural step for us. And it’s been beautiful. We have the privilege of working on numerous, often fascinating, projects, each of whom requires different approach – it’s dynamic and challenging, but the end results are satisfying as they come.
Client Insight is Invaluable
Most development agencies stick to the conservative model of app development in which the client is almost completely excluded from the process. The key to making it all work is to have good communication between the app development agency and the client. Clients need to know what’s happening, but boundaries are required to stay on schedule.
Agencies, on the other hand, should be more client-oriented. We found our way of doing things by deploying various ideas of agile development and project management. The term “agile” gets thrown around quite a lot nowadays but many companies are agile only in theory. By actually taking time to pursue agility, both you and the client are winning on so many levels that it’s unbelievable. The costs are reduced significantly, because the backlog is defined and agreed upon.
The bond between programmers, managers and clients are stronger and the dialogue remains open. Best, developers are more satisfied since this approach puts great emphasis on developer experience.
App Development is Ever Changing
I love how complex it can be. No matter how simple an app might seem, there are hundreds of options that can be implemented in order to make it even better. A lot of people find this intimidating, and I get why, but this is the kind of environment that I find comfortable.
Need a simple button? There are tons of resources in psychology, dealing with our perception of shapes, colours and messages that can help you really get the most out of it. Your app needs a 200 word long description in the app store? I could write a whole book about it. Every part of the app development process is a science.
Every project is a new challenge and it takes more than just programming knowledge to get the job done in the most effective way. Once again, that’s the reason why the dialogue between clients and agencies should be as open and transparent as possible. You alone can’t know everything, but together the wealth of experience, intelligence, insight and creativity is unleashed.
Be Willing to Embrace New Tech
You should never, ever fall in love with a certain technology or language. Your heart should learn to love whatever gives you the best results for this project.
Technology, after all, is nothing more than a collection of tools used to make stuff work. Most of the agencies we come across are blindly embracing a certain technology or platform and flat-out refuse to change, even if circumstances tell them that they should. This is a competitive world, and every day more and more players appear on the market. Software development, however this might seem strange, is still in diapers and that gives a lot of agencies a false sense of security.
Technology is evolving unbelievably fast and if agencies don’t change alongside it, they will fail as other, more agile agencies will take their place. This is still one of the best markets, if not the best, to do business on, but it’s no longer enough to say “Hey, I’m into IT”. Embrace change.
Fenix Will Always Evolve
We want to step outside of our comfort zone even more. As an agile agency, you’re used to doing new things on a daily basis but there is always room for new things. We are looking forward to the whole Internet of Things revolution and plan on embracing it even more. Does that mean that our apps will become integrated in robotics? Maybe. Are we going to make apps for smart household items? Maybe.
That’s the most beautiful thing about being agile and API-first oriented. You get to choose.
For more of our interviews with app developers, check out these posts:
- Interview with Charles Haggas, founder of Space Chimps
- Interview with Layla Sabourian, founder of Chef Koochooloo
- Interview with Richard Buettner, founder of Weever Media
Are you an app developer? We’d love to feature you in one of our upcoming interviews. Reach out to me at email@example.com to share your story.