The War for Mobile Dev Talent
In our latest installment of App Marketing Conversations, Apptentive CEO Robi Ganguly is joined by Ryan Morel of GameHouse and Ian Sefferman of MobileDevHQ by TUNE to discuss the emerging role of the mobile developer among today’s leading enterprises.
The conversation examines a few of the initiatives tech giants like Yahoo, Apple, and Google are taking to support, grow, and recruit the mobile developer community – and the luxuries such initiatives grant accomplished mobile developers around the world.
Check out what they had to say in the video below:
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App Marketing Conversations Transcript:
Robi: Hello and welcome to another App Marketing Conversations. As always, I am joined by Ryan Morel of GameHouse and Ian Sefferman of MobileDevHQ by TUNE. I am Robi Ganguly of Apptentive.
We’re going to talk a little bit about some stuff that’s happening in the developer ecosystem. As of today, Yahoo is officially in the mobile developer ecosystem. They had their first developer event and announced some mobile tools. Really headlined by Flurry but they also got some stuff around monetization, advertising, and other apps. But, now that means that we have a whole bunch of players in the space building tools at scale for mobile developers and these are not just players like TUNE and Apptentive. But, they are players like Facebook and Google and Yahoo, Twitter, Amazon, Microsoft. So, it seems like everybody and their mother is chasing the mobile developer. Is that the most important developer in the world right now?
Ryan: I think so, yeah. Clearly. If you look at the short history of developers being really extremely important from the mid-90’s until today, has there ever been a time when maybe 10 of the top 25 tech companies had major initiatives to support the developer community? Not that I am aware of. There was always Microsoft.
Ian: And maybe Apple. Maybe the WWDC but frankly I don’t think they ever really cared.
Ryan: It was less about developers and more about the design community. Now everyone cares.
Robi: Why do you think that they care so much? What’s going on here?
Ian: I think it’s fascinating. Like Mark and Jason will tell you, the world is quickly being eaten by software and in particular software is being eaten by mobile and these folks know that they have to be the central player in order for them to continue to build their mountains and their empires. I would, honestly, I’d give credit to Microsoft but I would also give a lot of credit to Amazon in this regard. I think AWS paved the way on the web side of the world for people to understand that money can be made and mind share can be taken by simply providing these tools and as we move to mobile everybody needs to be there. All these guys are also providing a lot of monetization services and Facebook’s got that with their Atlas program. Yahoo announced that today. Simply getting SDK’s onto an app allows them to land and expand further into monetization where they can make money themselves too.
Robi: Do you think any of these platforms in particular are way out in front? Yahoo today talks about the fact that Flurry’s already in 630,000 apps. That’s a tremendous footprint. Huge. And so they’re out there saying, “Well, we’re here. We’ve got a huge footprint. We see a ton of data and we can help you make more money and we can help you make a better app because you’ll have analytics.” Are they really one of the front-runners or do you think they are out there but not there?
Ryan: It’s hard for me to take this particular announcement that seriously. I think the front-runners are Apple and Google. And Google has done a fantastic job with all of their developer tools. They provide the full stack of services the developer needs. Apple, I think they are starting to take the needs of the developer more seriously and once they really take it more seriously they’ll be right next to Google for being way out in front of everybody because they own the hardware. At least from Google’s perspective, they own the software. I was trying to come up with a good analogy and the only thing I could come up with, which is kind of lame, is the iPhone or your Android device is kind of like the new portal except for what’s placed on there isn’t decided by Yahoo. It’s decided by Google, Apple, and then the consumer. And ultimately, driven by what the mobile developers do. That’s not a great analogy but it’s kind of like it. Yahoo, they have to do something to get in front of consumers, but I don’t see how they make it uber meaningful.
Ian: I think the other parts of the questions about who’s the front-runners, how do you define front-runner? I think Flurry out there and 630,000 apps is a ridiculous number and I’m sure they’re on billions of devices but they kind of get dropped from a lot of the bigger apps. Once you grow to a certain size, you drop Flurry for other things. There are other SDK’s, I think you could actually put more app tracking in that category. It’s on a really large percentage of the top grossing apps, the top apps, but a much smaller number compared to Flurry of total number of apps that it’s actually installed in. So, when you think about front-runners, do you define front-runner as dollars flowing through the system, as number of devices, what is that criteria? I think you could go a lot of different ways to determine who’s the front-runner of different pieces.
Ryan: Maybe another way to bring the question would be like, who is the company that you would bet on to help you meet your goals as an app developer and as an app marketer? Inevitably, if you are launching on IOS and Android, well you need Apple and Google. Probably if you’re doing any performance marketing you’ll probably need mobile app tracking.
Ian: I like that plug.
Ryan: And for customer support, Ecoms stuff or whatever.
Robi: If you care about your customers and talking to them and listening to them, you should probably be working with us.
Ryan: And then that’s true but then everything else is like what’s the right thing for your particular business and that has to be made on an individual developer basis because it’s going to be hard for… At least in my view, someone on like Yahoo to say, “This is everything you need.” Because they don’t own the platform, they don’t own the hardware, or they don’t own the distribution.
Ian: But, their play is a lot like Google’s on the web. If they can make a dollar from a billion different apps or whatever, a billion different sessions each, fantastic. AdWords or AdSense does that all the time. That’s an interesting place and a profitable place for Google to play.
Robi: Bringing this back to that marketer, if you are an app marketer and you’re thinking about this, a lot of what’s been announced is probably not super relevant to you if you are at the higher end of the spectrum, if you’re spending quite a bit of money on UA, if you are investing in retention marketing, if you are driving commerce through your business. You’re probably less interested in offerings that come from fundamentally companies driven around the long tail data aggregation and advertising. The Facebook, Yahoo, Twitter initiatives, while they’re coming to you and trying to pitch you, probably less interested to you based upon your company’s needs and where your business is going. Is that fair to say?
Ryan: That’s about right.
Robi: Google, Apple, right at the top. You care about that most and then you’re getting very specific, but otherwise not as important. You can keep listening to what they’re doing but probably not spending much time.
Ryan: The other thing I would add here is that no matter what Apple or Google will say, they care if you implement their services. They care if you take the most advantage of all the things that they have to offer when they’re trying to decide of editorial or placement of your content. That matters.
Ian: I would say the one thing about the Yahoo announcement that I thought was particularly interesting and I think what’s new was the announcement of Flurry Pulse which is basically Flurry allowing the Flurry data for your app. If I have Flurry installed on my app, the data that Flurry collects for me to be distributed to any of their partners which I think is actually a really great win for a lot of marketers and developers out there.
Robi: Yeah, that’s true. Benchmarking. And we’ve seen this from most recently App Annie instead that they’re going to be publishing more of their insights and retention for that data. It’s that direction. And that, if it’s consumable but you don’t have to integrate their SDK, you don’t necessarily have to have a direct relationship to use that, for all app marketers that’s a plus.
Ryan: That reminds me of whatever the saying is that if you are not paying for the product, you are the product. Makes sense.
Robi: All right, so, that’s it for talking about Yahoo and some of the developer ecosystem developments of the past several months and be sure to tune in for the other installations of App Marketing Conversations and like us on Facebook. Thanks.
Ryan: Or YouTube.
Robi: Or on YouTube.