“Where is all the knowledge we lost with information?” – T.S. Elliot
Information overload. Massive budgets. Corporate dispair. Ugh!
Let me take a step back and paint a picture for you: Fortune 500 company recently allocates 50% of their yearly advertising budget to mobile and digital marketing. They call a nice little board meeting to let all the top managers know that this is what’s up for the next fiscal year. These managers then pull in their immediate team and tell them “OK. Make it happen!” and they head to the golf course (joke! sort of). Now these middle management people are looking around and wondering what the heck to do with all this money they were given.
What do they do? Go to the internet, duh.
These bright women and men search around and find every piece of information about the mobile landscape, other campaigns that worked, what their options are, etc. Everything! They scour big news sites and blogs and forums to learn whatever it is they can possibly figure out before Friday’s “status update” in which they will download everything they just uncovered.
The problem is….there is too much information on the web. The people who are researching come back and realize that they are in WAY over their head – apps, ad networks, websites. Native apps? HTML5? Android? Get users? The panic nicely sets in as the sweat pours out. There is serious information overload and these people really don’t know where to turn. More importantly, they’re newbies – they don’t know the mobile world and certainly don’t have time/interest to become mavens in 72 hours.
That’s where you come in.
Specialize and Commercialize
In any situation where there is a PROBLEM, there is always a SOLUTION. Especially in business – one person’s inability to solve is another’s opportunity to profit. That’s how it works.
The above scenario happens more often than you’d think. I worked at a startup when these conversations were about things like Facebook and Pay Per Click, but the basic premise was the same: money was allocated to a part of the business we all knew was the future and someone had to figure out what exactly that meant.
This is happening now with mobile. It’s happening in a way that a lot of us probably don’t even realize and on a scale that is WAY bigger than we suspect.
As these companies extend into the world of mobile, they’re facing a lot of problems. They simply don’t know what to do, even if they have all the information in the world about this new phenomenon.
What good is a 300 page report if no one reads it and writes a summary? Most often, it’s worthless. In this day and age, decision makers want to talk to high quality CURATORS of information – people that have already digested the 100,000 pages of reading and understand it. More importantly, they can talk about it intelligently and in a decisive way. This is seriously one of the most valuable skills you can have in business (even beyond mobile).
Most often these people are called “consultants” or “gurus.” These are the people you call when you don’t want to read 500 websites – you just want an answer about a specific topic. Clarity.fm is a good example of this – experts who sell their time by the MINUTE because they can answer literally anything the first time and quickly.
So why am I talking about this? Well, because I had a really interesting conversation with someone last weekend.
There Is No Greater Investment Than In Yourself
I spoke at this cool conference that was all about buying and selling websites. Not only did I learn a ton, I met some really awesome people. I was the only person there talking about mobile apps and I was super pumped to be able to share some highly inside info with the group. More than anything I had people coming up to me afterwards with two reactions:
- “I saw this exact same presentation in 1997 about the internet….but this time I actually believe it.”
- How do I get involved in this huge market?
These are smart people and there were some heavy hitters there (multi-million dollar website deals), but the reactions were overwhelmingly the same: They want to capitalize on this market way more than they did on the internet.
There is one conversation in particular that I want to share. One of the attendees came up to me and thanked me for the presentation and said “You know, I’m ready to get out of my current job in construction and that’s why I’m here. I’m thinking about buying some websites….but now I’m wondering if I should be getting into mobile.” We went on to talk about some options – flipping apps, buying apps, selling information about apps, etc.
Then it hit me.
I said to him, “Dude, look around right now. We’re sitting in a room full of super smart, successful internet guys and I bet maybe 1 of them had some shred of an idea about what I just talked about.” And I’m not saying my presentation was good or anything, I’m just saying it was totally different than anything anyone had ever heard.
I continued, “Think about that man. There are millions of people like these guys out there, whether they’re independent or in businesses or whatever, and they’re all going to start asking questions soon. Questions that they’re going to Google and get shitty answers to. Imagine if they had someone they could call who could help them understand the mobile world?”
Something clicked. Not only with the guy I was talking to, but with myself as well. Here we are – the Bluecloud community and myself – sitting on an absolute rocket ship and we’re so focused on pouring fuel into the rocket we forget to realize that there are 50 people lined up looking to pay us to show them how to put fuel into theirs.
In other words, we all have knowledge about mobile that few people have. And that’s worth a LOT.
Stepping Out Of the Lion’s Den and Into The Fire
Being a part of the app community is absolutely awesome. Seeing what people talk about on social networks and the knowledge that gets dropped on a regular basis is incredible to see. It makes me really happy to be a part of that.
That aside, I think it’s important to realize how valuable it is to have mobile knowledge. Even if it’s just reading blog posts, talking to other people in the app business, or taking a course about apps, you’re ahead of an overwhelming majority of the population. You are on the front lines of the hottest market in history…and people want that knowledge.
The original anecdote about corporations needing knowledge about the mobile market is a bit of an extreme example, but I think it’s important to realize – if you become a master at something, people will pay you for your knowledge. The more of a master you are, the more they will pay you. In fact, they’ll probably pay you more than you would believe because they’re not paying for your TIME, they’re paying for the VALUE you bring. Read some of Ramit’s stuff if you want to get really schooled on being a consultant.
I’ve been slowly watching this happen with apps in the INTERNAL app world – marketing apps, keywords, ASO, tricks and tips, and research among other things. I’ve seen a lot of people publish kick ass courses on Udemy and make a handsome sum of money doing so. THIS IS ALL SO AWESOME YES! But realize that this is the tip of the iceberg.
Empower Yourself And Teach Others
Over the next year, my focus is going to be to show you NEW ways to make money with apps. I still spend a majority of my time building, flipping, re-skinning and marketing apps (because I love doing it), but I also want to share all the new opportunities with you guys. The app stores are still monster gold mines and of course I’ll talk about that, but I want you teach you about new ways to capitalize on mobile that leverage that knowledge. Maybe you learned how to flip apps by taking my course…but now you want to learn to to really accelerate those profits using techniques both in and out of the app store.
The first? Become a teacher. Or a coach. Or just a mobile gangster.
Whatever you call yourself, start looking at yourself less in terms of how you compare to everyone else in the app store who’s uploading apps as fast as you are – start looking at your neighbors and community members (both online and offline) and realizing you have something to offer.
I bet if you walked into any local high school and asked if you could do a month long series of one hour free classes about how to get into apps, you’d pack the house.
At the end of those four weeks, you’d have a line out the door of people asking you how they can find out more and hire you as a consultant. It happens, trust me.
My point is this – realize that simply by reading this blog you are ahead of the game. The more knowledge and information you can get, the better (blogs, courses, whatever). You have the opportunity to be a resource for someone else. You are the solution to someone’s problem. It doesn’t have to be some Fortune 500 company, but it could be. It can be anything you want it to be. The most important point is to realize that you have a HUGE amount of power to achieve anything with mobile.
It doesn’t always have to be about the apps.
Giving Back Is The Golden Ticket
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – being on the teaching side of the equation will electrify you ten times as much as you think it will. Even if it’s a paid consulting gig, some of the best moments of my app career have been helping people solve problems they couldn’t solve by themselves. Sometimes it was friends who paid me in old fashioneds, sometimes it was a huge top grossing game that paid me with a big check. Both times it felt awesome – I was actually helping.
What’s the takeaway?
- You can make a lot of money by solving problems for people who want solutions.
- The more knowledge you have, the more valuable you are (so get a lot!).
- The opportunities this knowledge will bring you is beyond anything you can imagine.
I’m going to start writing a lot more about some really cool stuff I’ve been doing – top grossing casino shit, huge sponsorship deals, crazy new app store results, how I locked in $28 eCPM price floors for all my traffic, and how I’m turning apps into a full lifestyle brand that will allow to write off virtually everything fun I ever do as a business expense.
And that’s just covering the past 4 months.
LET’S DO THIS.
I really like this text, and it is very pleasant to receive all this advice you have given to the devs. This vision of how to position ourselves in front of this market is definitely very interesting.
Daniel (from Brazil)
Very impressive blog, I just think of this and you are really great. I took your course which is really useful and start “app flipping” now. At the same time I thinking about many people may want to entry the mobile industry but no idea how to open the door! Hope you would share more on this. I live in Hong Kong and thinking that China is a hugh mark too. Any idea on this market please share with us.
Carter – You’ve already inspired me to jump into a world I know almost nothing about with both feet. So far, I have researched – and purchased – an app, and (almost) completed a re-skin. I am in the final stages of testing and then will release it per your suggestions/instructions. It is scary, terrifying and (of course) fun. I still feel like I’m in way over my head but your words have helped. Now to make it pay……
Thanks for the post Carter,
I have been considering starting a blog (something I never did through the whole internet marketing boom) and sharing what I know, and getting to know others. I guess the thing that has always held me back though, is that I never feel like I am successful enough, like I know enough. I see all my weaknesses without recognizing my strengths. I can pump out and publish an app a day, but can’t seem to choose a good theme worth a darn.
So do I share what I know about outsourcing, finding great designers, and publishing fast while not really knowing a thing about how to choose a good theme to re-skin?
Yo Carter! Thanks for the post. Good inspiration on the larger picture. Setting up new coaching/ consulting blog today! Done and done. 😉
Love the idea of giving back and teaching – I’m totally comfortable teaching; I have taught courses at the college level… it’s really fun.
@ Dustin – themes: here’s what you do (IMHO, feel free to take it or leave it). Look at top 100 grossing apps on the app store… do this on your iPad or iPhone. Write down the major themes you see — “swords and sorcery”, casino, zombies, candy, etc. then go back through and count how many apps of each theme there are. I do this every week. For example, on my last check there were 12 casino-theme games in the top 100. That could be slots, cards, etc. I just lumped them into a “casino” theme — but 12% of the top grossing apps are casino-theme! 18% were sword and sorcery – barbarians, knights, wizards, hobbits, etc. You may want to make your OWN theme divisions, this is just how I do it. After this I do the same thing with App “types” — that is “endless runners, match 3, tower defense, slots, etc. Obviously this will tell you if there are types of trending gameplay you should be in on. This system works pretty well for me, but everyone is different… you have to make it your own and realize it just provide a general idea. But this might be a good place to start. Maybe you know all this already, but best wishes and good luck! 🙂
@Markus – dude awesome info! Thanks for writing that. Really helpful and definitely actionable.
@Francois – It’s amazing to see people look at the app world and roll their eyes. They simply don’t get it. Apps are a means to an end – right now it’s the app store, next will be outside the app store…but it will always be apps. We are in THE best industry right now.
@Karen – Awesome! Thanks for your words. I’ve finally been able to delegate a lot of work so I have time to start writing again. I love it!
Great blog, thanks a lot. Last weekend, I participated to the National Achievers Congress in Amsterdam (Guest speakers, Robert Kiyosaki author of Rich Dad Poor Dad).
When the 4000 people there were asked “who believed that Mobile Apps are here to stay?” amazingly no more than 4 to 5 hand go up.
It is not so much that these entrepreneurs do not believe in the Apps business model. They just do not yet understand what the Apps world has to offer. They are still thinking or being taught about Property, Forex, Internet Domains brokerage, Websites brokerage,…
Personally, I am absolutely convinced that Mobile Application are here to stay, the market will continue to gain maturity and the demand for better apps will grow even more.
However, the market will only reveal its real potential when largely understood and adopted.
Thank you for all the work you do educating the people of your community.
Yay you’re back, Carter! Love Melissa’s blog entries but as soon as I saw that you wrote, I dropped everything to read it.
@Markus – great info. Has this helped you revenue-wise? Meaning, you’re researching all these themes and once you have your app out there, are you seeing a lot of downloads and income or it’s still picking up slow?
Thanks for the fantastic post ! It blows me away how real this article is! This week I actually began working with an internet company trying to help them move to mobile. Love all the information you share and enjoy seeing you continue to succeed in everything.
Looking forward to your the webinar tomorrow and seeing more great blogs! You’re the man!!
@Jeff – Thats bad ass that you are helping that company. Such a good position to be in. Keep rocking!
@Carter: awesome post! glad you are writing your own posts again. really appreciate your personal perspective and thoughts.
One of my personal favorite posts of yours is:
Because an extraordinary mindset is key.
Clarity.fm and Ramit’s blog are 2 great resources. Everyone can learn a great deal from Ramit’s copyrighting on his website. Highly recommend checking out Ramit’s interview with Chase Jarvis if you haven’t. Ramit provides tons of actionable tips. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2tsJ_-yINxs
All the best,
Bryan C. Wong
Nice post, I think it will be also good to write about the UX side of apps as most apps by indie developers looks really bad and people don’t have a clue what to do…and users are not going to open their apps one more time.
Coming from the online marketing world I am really in shock looking at the AppStore seeing so much crap that ranks high for a few days and then drops, I do also believe that it’s really the early days of the mobile world 🙂
If you’ll be interested I can write a guest post about the UX (User Experience) side of the app.
Annnnnd Carter strikes back with yet another useful deep insight into making our businesses better.
Thanks again mate. I sometimes really think hard, how the hell do you come up with such stuff.. Awesome.
Hello Carter, Thanks a lot for such wonderful tips and guidelines.
Please advise if you have any Online Radio App codes available for sale..
I have just about read all of your blog posts and its a huge help being a newcomer determined to crack the app game. Its literally the best resource for anyone getting into apps in my opinion.
But anyways, in short, source coding is the way to go and it is necessary to know the basics of xcode and obj. c as you’ve explained in another post. Any idea on how to guage if your knowledge with xcode/obj. c is good enough to start even reviewing/using source code? Only reason I ask is because I have very little coding knowledge, and I want to set code learning benchmarks for myself..
Thanks for reading man,
You are back Carter,thats awesome!keep writing!
Lol I keep coming back to see if there’s another Carter article. I’m hearing a lot of Steam/console games from Trey Smith. He has different opinions of the app world. It’s interesting to see two opinions from both ends of the spectrum. A little confusing because here you have two guys (Trey and Carter) very successful but completely different opinions. But I’m definitely not taking any of this amazing information for granted. Keep it comin! I was having a lot of the “down” negative days recently about why the hell I got myself in this app business, still not making any money, etc etc. but right then Carter’s article came out of nowhere and now I’m hyped again! Thank you so much Carter. As crazy as it sounds, your words really do impact even a small nobody person.
@Karen – Glad you are fired up again! Yeah there are a lot of differing opinions about apps and where to strike. I am really into (ahem, obsessed) with economics and markets which is how I look at opportunities. Trey is super smart and really successful in his own way. Same with Chad. We all have our own spin. One thing we will agree on is that it takes work and focus to be successful no matter which path you choose. Keep it up!
@Carter: how has the way you think about opportunities in the app world evolved since you first started reskinning apps?
@carter, It is a nice article. I am also happy to be part of this world changing mobile eco-space. The mobile has sure become an extension to the human hand. All the big companies are fighting through innovations, like never before, to be part of it. You said it right. The more knowledgeable you are, the more value you can get out of this. The mobile technology is changing the world so fast, that the knowledge learned in the past is also becoming outdated quickly. Staying on top of this mobile world, needs continuous exploring, learning, innovation, try & test to succeed.
@Marcus Thanks for the follow up. Great actionable info. I have been trying a few different strategies, but this is helpful.
Great post, I was recommended to read this by one of my clients. She said you knew your way around apps 🙂
Damn it, Carter, you motivated me today. I wanted to be lazy … but now, I’m going to kill it today. BTW – Still crushing it on those maker apps your brokered … keep them coming!
@Greg – BAM! YES! DONE!