How Developers Could Have Earned 900% on an Investment
I have written a few times in my blogs about how great it is to be a developer now. In the past there seemed to be a bigger focus on contests to garner engagement but now developer programs have gotten even more creative. It is not just the great tools that are available (it is so much easier than when I coded), but there are also great events like hackathons to attend and companies are working hard to attract your attention.
One effort I have been particularly impressed with is from the BlackBerry Developer Program. Hopefully you saw that they reached the 100k app mark for BlackBerry 10, which is a super achievement and a nice boost for the new BlackBerry Z10 that AT&T just launched. To help shape this success, they have done a great job hiring active local evangelists and have held events like their “Portathons” (where they helped devs port apps over a weekend).
One of the BlackBerry’s most innovative programs was the 10k Developer Commitment. For those not familiar with this program, BlackBerry guaranteed that developers would earn $10k for any quality apps approved through the Built for BlackBerry Program. What gets interesting then are the conditions to earn the $10k.
First, it was one app per developer (but I could see developers creating apps and onboarding under their wives or children’s names). Second, they had to have 100 unique downloads and earn $1000 first and then Blackberry would pay any difference between $1000 and $10,000—until the $10 Million they set aside for this is spent.
Those last conditions are interesting. As you create contests or challenges, you always need to think through all aspects of what can happen and the Blackberry team definitely thought through some conditions that would force applications to have some consumer interest. However, I kind of put this in context of what developers have to do with new apps. For the most part, to cut through the top 10 lists you have to jump a marketing chasm. You have a little window when your app is introduced, but not unusual for developers to spend $25k for some sustained success—and this can be a lot to spend with no guarantee.
Whether the BlackBerry team intended it or not, they actually created a better, cheaper way for developers to get started and make some decent revenue. It is not that much to pull together $1000—and there will probably be companies that will help them get 100 unique users for some nominal fee. There is some risk that the $10M may run out, but although BlackBerry set this as a condition it would be difficult for them to make a guarantee and then strand these devs. I would imagine as the year winds down, the BlackBerry team will create some sort of algorithm that finds apps over $1k but under $10k and then give them additional marketing support. This is a good path to develop an app and get a 900% return.
I don’t know if many devs have thought about this—perhaps going so far as to have friends and family also submit apps, but this is a really beneficial program—particularly for those devs just starting out. I am very curious to see what further steps companies will take to build their developer communities in the future.
For a random finish, does anyone read Archie Comics? I was in the grocery store and noticed them displayed by the register with other popular items like Us Magazine and various candies. As a kid, it always bothered me that it was easier to buy Archie Comics rather than Batman or the Hulk. With all the success of movies like the Avengers and Spiderman, I am surprise that Archie still maintains such a prime retail spot. So if it is the best-selling comic, why?