Building Lean Mobile Apps (@HubudBali)
Didn’t take a lot of arm twisting to convince me to give a talk at Hubud in Bali about how to approach the process of building a mobile business apps. In the summer of 2014 I took my family to Bali, Hong Kong and Seoul. Ubud was our favorite destination and we plan to return. This talk chronicles the lessons learned when I designed a minimally viable app to showcase a new direction for my fledgling company. My partner and I sold the company in 2013 to My-Villages (see below).
My-Villages Acquires DockMaster in a Strategic Sale to Launch New Mobile Technology in the Marine Industry
In Oct 2013, I sold Exuma Technologies to My-Villages. (The company was recently renamed MyTaskit to align with it’s focus on “Service coordination through online task sharing”). I was moving Exuma in the direction of offering mobile applications to help facilitate the “on the go” nature of those that work in the marine industry. People that sell boats or work on boats need to be doing just that, not staring at a computer. Kevin Hutchinson, the founder and CEO of My-Villages had developed an application that facilitated the communications between consumers (boaters) and service professionals. We were able to combine the companies to create a complete consumer to front office to back office solution.
I was interviewed by Dan Andrews, the co-host of the Tropical MBA podcast about the events that lead up to the sale and why My-Villages was a good fit. Click here to listen.
HeroLaunch – A collection of social event sites for good causes
What is it? Co-founder Mike Flaugh and I came up with a crazy idea. Why not create and promote events for non-profits, foundations and charities that have a significant and meaningful impact on fund raising and awareness through highly targeted social sites. Both Mike and I had our own businesses and families on top of that, so starting a side project that to develop a handful of social sites was ambitious indeed. But to give back to our community and fight for causes that we believe in like saving the St. Lucie Estuary and Indian River Lagoon, made the effort worthwhile.
We helped launch two events: Paddlefest and Walk on the Wild Side. We developed sites using WordPress and Buddypress to build awareness for these events, manage ticketing and to facilitate the bird photo contest for the Martin County and St. Lucie County Audubon societies.
Under the hood: I built three sites based on WordPress, Buddypress and the Xi theme from LivingOS. I had to build a child theme to support all of the customizations needed for the home page which featured a Facebook-style threaded post, an events calendar and a “Who’s online” feature. The first site, Surfhero.net was launded in 2012, followed by BirdHero.com and PaddleboardHero.com.
Lean Mobile App Prototype
Background: I was the President and CEO of a software company based in West Palm Beach, FL, USA from Jan 2003 to Oct 2013. We provided a business management solution to the marine industry. The back office application is a desktop solution that provides financial management, inventory control, POS, major unit sales, CRM and work order processing. I sold the company to My-Villages in Oct 2013.
What is it? After getting validation from my customers on the original hypothesis that marine technicians and dock hands would use a mobile app to track their work and time, I built a minimally viable prototype to validate my ideas. This happened more by accident than through careful planning because my software development team at Exuma Technologies was busy working on a major release of our new desktop app. Due to a lack of resources, I decided to build the prototype myself having what I felt was a good sense for what our customers wanted instead of wasting precious development resources.
I spoke about my experience at Hubud while in Ubud, Bali. View the video or read the post.
StoveTopHero – We help amateur chefs show-off their skills on video.
Cook it, Upload it and Enjoy!
What is it? StoveTopHero.com was Launched in 2011 to promote amateur chefs through cooking contests. Fans of the site would vote on the best video by simply “Liking” the video. The site with the most likes wins. The site only recorded unique likes. We ran a number of fun contests on StoveTopHero, the most memorable being a cooking contest for young chefs under 12 years old.
Under the hood: I developed this site using WordPress and the Video Elements theme from Press75.com. The most interesting technical challenge was integrating the Youtube Direct (Google AppEngine) applet into the home page such that creators of videos could upload their content to our site. Prior to Facebook and Vines, uploading videos to the web posed a number of user experience challenges.
DzineBox.com – Better Living By Design
What is it? Launched in 2010, Dzinebox.com (pronounced DesignBox) is a web application designed to connect home owners in need of professional design services with architects, interior designers and landscape architects. Dzinebox.com was designed by architects specifically for the licensed design community.
Under the hood: This site was developed using Pinax and Django. I happen to be an Advisor to Eldarion, the developers of Pinax. Read more about Eldarion here.