Today’s guest post is written by AppLabs Digital Studios, and is an interesting piece on developing apps in the Philippines.
Formal education will make you a living; self-education will make you a fortune.”
– Jim Rohn
AppLabs Digital Studios is just one of the many companies owned by Azhar Khan, an experienced Pakistani businessman Oliver Ian Atienza met a while back. They both started AppLabs Digital Studios Inc. knowing fully well their strengths and what they could do to start a successful app development company.
AppLabs Digital Studios’ operations officially started in October of 2011, and back then the company only had a few employees. Mr. Atienza hired a junior developer to create the company’s first application, Maddie & Matt’s A to Z’s of Good Manners & Values. The educational application was inspired by how Mr. Atienza’s own children and playmates interact with each other. He felt the need to use apps to properly educate children about proper manners.
After a few months, AppLabs Digital Studios was able to expand and hire more iOS developers to help create the applications that Mr. Atienza comes up with. There’s no question that most if not all of the applications that AppLabs Digital Studios releases are based on Mr. Atienza’s ideas.
The Sales and Marketing teams, along with Web developers, iOS developers and graphic artists, help flesh out the user experience of the applications. Ideas are passed around in the conference room, and the good ones end up in a document furnished by Mr. Atienza’s project manager.
The App Idea
ReMINEd was developed because of an experience Mr. Atienza had when he was a child. Back then he had a box where he kept all his dreams, usually just small pictures of toys he cut out from magazines. When his mother found out about it, he grew embarrased and thought that there should be some way for people to keep private and secure little boxes to stash away their dreams.
This concept was fully realized in ReMINEd. It had the optimistic concept of the renowned book and video, The Secret, and the mobile application also used Mr. Atienza’s idea from back when he was a little kid. With AppLabs Digital Studios’ team of experienced iOS and Android developers, Mr. Atienza was able to have an application that mimics his little childhood box. And with today’s technology, instead of just cutting up pictures from magazines, people now can capture images using their device’s camera or the Internet.
It only took two of his iOS developers, both fresh graduates, and the guidance of the sole senior developer, to construct the code for the app. Within three weeks, the app was finished and ready to be tested.
Knowing fully well that it’s better to offer people a choice, Mr. Atienza decided to release free and paid versions of ReMINEd. The free version allows users to stash away up to five images of the stuff they want in the digital box, while the paid version, which only costs US$0.99, allows for an unlimited number of images.
Since the app’s official release on the iTunes market, Mr. Atienza has asked his Marketing team to help spread the word online. Bloggers are largely powerful and influential nowadays, so his team regularly contacts a large number of bloggers to post an article or two about ReMINEd. There are some bloggers who agree to a feature the app on their website free of charge, however most of the time, bloggers request at least $50 in exchange for a short post. Since AppLabs Digital Studios does not have enough budget to give the bloggers what they want, the Marketing team prefers to find other ways to spreading the word online.
Apps Available Online
Mr. Atienza frequently reminds his employees to never rest, to just continue coming up with new ideas for apps and to strive to be better in their field of expertise. In just a single year, AppLabs Digital Studios was able to produce three applications apart from ReMINEd. For the company, submitting apps to Apple and Google for approval can take up to 2 weeks.
Maddie & Matt’s A to Z’s of Good Manners & Values, as mentioned earlier, is an educational application that teaches kids good manners. It took a single iOS developer, three graphic artists and five marketing people to create the content of the free application available on iTunes and Google Play.
The Filipino version of Maddie & Matt’s A to Z’s was released a few months after the successful launch of the company’s first app. It was designed to showcase the Filipino alphabet and the nation’s long-held values.
Maddie & Matt’s Happy Earth, meanwhile, suggests ways for kids to help save Mother Earth. It’s also a free application available for iOS and Android users.
App development is no easy task, even in the Philippines. Despite the fact that more and more Filipinos are becoming tech-savvy, still there are issues to address when starting a company geared towards the production of mobile apps. One will need enough budget, mapnpower and ingenuity just to be capable of producing and releasing quality and relevant applications.
Oliver Ian Atienza is AppLabs Digital Studios Inc.’s managing director, the one responsible for the company’s day-to-day-operations, including product development and technology strategy. He has had diverse experiences in Information Technology and business for the last 15 years. During his time in the corporate world, he worked as a programmer, IT consultant, network administrator, creative designer, account executive, trainer and webmaster. He eventually realized that what he really wanted was to own a company. After starting a series of IT companies, he decided to venture into the world of mobile applications because the industry is rapidly expanding.
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