Is an App a Tool or a Behavior?

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In my annual trends post for OPENForum I listed apps over the web as a key trend that will impact small business. Today’s post is actually the foreword I contributed to a book that comes out this week called AppSavvy by Ken Yarmosh and I think it pretty much sums up my thinking on the app topic. This is a subject that I believe small businesses need wrap their heads around as it’s not going away, but it is on its way to becoming part of the everyday behavior of our customers and prospects.

AppSavvyBack around the turn of the Internet—oh, I don’t know, 2005—I started religiously recording interviews with experts for the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast. I did it in part because it looked to me like the next new thing and I wanted to make sure I was part of it. As time wore on, I found that I just sort of liked doing it and eventually built an audience that liked getting their content that way.

More recently, I gave in to the siren’s call of the app for my podcast. I mean, I was an iPhone-toting devotee of all things appish, after all, and thought I really should have my own app. I created it and decided to price it at $2.99 just for grins. Now, understand, it pretty much has the exact same content that I publish weekly on iTunes for free.

I was immediately struck by the number of people, including current podcast subscribers, that snapped it up at $2.99. I would call this a light bulb kind of moment for me and my relationship with apps. The lesson for me was that people want apps for things because they allow them greater control.

I don’t think developers should look at apps with a “new, new thing” or “hottest water-cooler download” mentality. Apps are on their way to supplanting the Web in general as the provider of information, games, experiences, and productivity—and control.

While my podcast content is out there to be had for free, it’s out there in the wild. An app user of my content has much greater power over how they consume, interact, destruct, and transport that content, and that’s perhaps the larger point of this book.

The first step to becoming app savvy is to recognize why the app category is red-hot and here to stay, and why you need to think in terms of tapping app behavior to package, repackage, purpose, and repurpose everything that a mobile social consumer wants to do—and even a few things they don’t know they want to do.

When you come to view your app ideas and execution with a “feeding a behavior” mindset, ideas and the carrying out of those ideas will flow more freely.

Creating apps may become your gold mine, and this book will certainly show you how to make it so, but step away from the “get rich” desire and focus on creating apps that allow people to do the things that need doing in ways that give them far greater control, and you’ll be well on your way to unlocking a flood of potential.

I met Ken way back in those wild days of 2005 or so, and it was clear to me then that he was on a mission to embrace, connect, and commune with all things digital, so I wasn’t the least bit surprised when he showed up on my doorstep with a book you need to read right now for the reasons I’ve outlined above.

Whether you plan to build an app yourself or hire someone to build one for you, this book will make you smarter about the things that matter.

You might also enjoy this Inforgraphic: The Astronomical Growth of the App Business


AppSavvy, Ken Yarmosh

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