Interview with an App(le)fan and developer
Interview Philip Plotnikov
On this Masters of Media blog we have seen many app reviews coming by. These were all written from a user perspective. I thought it would be interesting to look at apps from the other side: the one of the developer. That is why I contacted Philip Plotnikov for an interview on this topic. Philip, Russian from origin, is currently working as an iPhone (app) developer.
He is the founder of Jamoo.nl and the co-founder of Moop.me & MoopMobility. He got two bachelors, one in Information and Communication Technology, the other in Business Process Integration. He finished his Master Business Information Systems at the University of Amsterdam in 2009. Before Philip started his entrepreneurial career, he already gained a lot of technical experience as technical supporter, Tivoli researcher and senior technical engineer. On his impressive CV we see employers as IBM, Ziggo and Esize.
Tell me something about your business
I am the founder of this young business. With Jamoo we form an innovative platform for the mobile market. My team members have different educations and backgrounds. Many of them are friends from the University of Amsterdam. We are combining the knowledge of Information Systems, Artificial Intelligence, Social- and Industrial Design. The different backgrounds let us see things and experiment with different perspectives. This dynamic collaboration forms the Jamoo Playground. The core competence of Jamoo Design is the development of applications for mobile platforms. Besides that, we also try to innovate by optimizing the capabilities of these platforms and involve users into the developing process, because everybody has a different view on ideas and products. Our company tries to find a way for these ideas to come to the ears of developers. We are ‘designing for sociality’.
MoopMobility is an app company specialised in the development of mobile travel planners and assistants. Up-to-date train information was already available for mobile phones. However, the process to achieve this was a bit slow and complicated. It was faster to just look at the signs in the stations. With the iPhone app ‘Trein’ (train) the planning of a trip becomes really easy. You can see delays or make adaptions in the route. MoopMobility does not only develop for trains, we do it for all the platforms and modalities (car, bike, public transport). The apps can be bought in the Appstore and a license is being given to transport companies, local governments and other market parties.
What is your business model?
It depends a bit on what kind of assignment or instruction we get. On the one hand we do business for clients, for companies. On the base of a contract we agree on the remuneration. Mostly, the application you develop will be presented for free by Apple. On the other hand are the things I develop myself, together with Moop.me. Those are the apps you can sell on the Appstore, starting from 80 cents. Dutch markets are still too small. If you really want to make some money in this business, you should go world-wide. There are success stories of Americans who gained in two weeks millions of dollars with their applications. However, for a Dutch student it is still good business. For a long time, we used CoffeeCompany as an office, so we didn’t have to pay any rent.
For what kind of app is the most demand?
Most applications are meant to remedy things or to make something easier. For example the iNap, an application that I developed, for train travellers that wakes you up when you arrived at your destination. It makes use of GPS data. There is not so much ask for applications where you can really do stuff yourselves, like the ‘play the piano’ app.
One of your other applications is the app for the Volkskrant. Do all newspapers have an app?
Most newspapers are prominently out there in the app world. However, some newspaper chose consciously to not have an application. It can be that they don’t have a market for it or don’t have to target audience for it. After all it has to be used for gadgets, which’ users are mostly in the age of 20-40.
What is your favourite app that is not yours?
I’m a big fan of Twitter, Rabobank and Instagram.
With you being a huge Apple fan, let’s go through some main Apple events this year.
June, Apple’s World Wide Developers Conference, held in San Francisco.
Too bad I did not go there, I was busy here in the Netherlands, but I have followed it all. One of the topics was iCloud connectivity, something that really interests me. It is a whole new addition to share the information and content you have on your device, both for personal as business purposes. Another feature is the addition of core graphics and images to IOS, which was already possible on Macs, something that provides many more possibilities concerning hardware. Apple is pushing hardware more and more. The iPad 2 has technologically seen an enormous amount of possibilities, and in that case an absolute lead on competitors. Because it is running on IOS, it needs to get hold of a maximum use of this hardware. Because of the core images, developers get the opportunity to do this at the utmost. An example is face recognition for your iPhone or iPad.
October, the death of Steve Jobs.
He was an inspiration to me for a fun and easier life. Life is thoo short.
What is something to improve in Apple’s products?
I would love to see a less prominent function for hardware store on the iPhone devices and iPads and more focus on the cloud. So that for example everything you do on your device is then immediately available on your iPad. Not only the content, but also for instance the game that you were playing on your iPhone, and continue directly on your Pad or Mac.