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About the Episode
Coming up today’s guest started his previous company while in high school, raise VC funding and eventually sold it in 2005? And he shares a couple of app marketing strategies that you absolutely must avoid. Also, if you are going through a tough time in your entrepreneurial career then listen to his advice on how to stay strong and the psychology of entrepreneurship.
Starting a Company and Raising Venture Capital in High School
Chasma, Dave’s first company, created in 1999, was one of the first publishers of branded top tier mobile games in North America. During those days, a developer had to go to a carrier and do business with them to get any distribution at all. 16 year-old Dave was still in high school then and was still in the process of developing his first game, one that people could play on the mobile phone, not on a computer. He recalls that those were very challenging times for him but exciting too. He did end uptaking a lot of modified classes because he had to do a lot of traveling as he tried to drum up capital for that game he wants to build for mobile phones. Nevertheless, he is proud to say he did graduate on schedule.
He remembered forecasting that mobile games would replace Game boy and he reminisces about standing in front of the office of Highland Capital with one of its partners holding a Motorola mobile phone and saying, “someday people will be playing games on their cellphones” and they all thought he was so far out. Even at 16, Dave was that confident, aggressive young entrepreneur who would do anything to pursue a dream. Rejection did not faze him; he approached people because he believed in what he could do and if cold emails were to do the trick to get people to listen to his business proposition, he would do cold emails for as long as it took and to as many people as needed to get his venture capital. He finally raised venture capital for his company from some forward thinking people of New Jersey.
In 2001, his first game for mobile phones came out and 5 years later, he sold it. Dave can still remember the dilemna that he had about selling it. It was his first success, his baby and thereafter, he felt lost and for several months had to actually find his footing again in the app world, soul searching for what he really wanted to do with his life.
Marketing Strategies Developers Must Avoid
- Do not use web-based data to either do ASO or as a basis for any marketing strategy. Dave’s data shows that there is only a 12% overlap in what trends in the web and what trends in mobile devices.
- Do not heed the advice to use short titles for your app because longer phrases tend to dilute the results of the search by the user. This is absolutely untrue. Google has algorithms that allow very good results. What is important is structure – the actual way you write a Google play. Good structure has focus on features, is more direct such as what the app can do and how it is used and avoids adjectives as much as possible. It is unlike in IOS wherein creative adjectives are allowed.
Staying Strong During Tough Times and The Psychology of Entrepreneurship
To be an appreneur is to have the confidence to believe in one’s self and one’s vision. All the validation you will need is the negative reaction from people when you tell them your vision because it simply means that you are so far ahead in the game that what you are thinking will probably be awfully successful in the future. Dave also cautions entrepreneurs about being carried away by legendary tales of initial apps in Silicon Valley that did not make it at first but later made its developer whopping sums of money. This is all well and good but Dave advises to always remember the psychology of entrepreneurship: the would-be entrepreneur must first decide whether he just wants to make an app or build a business. It is unwise to spend so much money on an app that is yet to see its first dollar in revenue. The entrepreneur must first find the market, make that required revenue that will cushion him as he works through the challenging stages that are inevitable when one is doing a startup.
What advice would you give anyone looking to build an app?
Don’t miss an opportunity because you are too in love with what you’re doing.