Mobile Learning Lab: Lessons from the CEO of a Mobile Company
At our last Mobile Learning Lab, we were joined by CEO and Founder of Unata, Chris Bryson. Unata is a technology provider for leading-edge shopper market solutions, focused on automated personalization and real-time, 1-to-1 targeted marketing.
Chris founded Unata in 2010, realizing that the retail industry was on the cusp of a major digital change, heralded by mobile, cloud computing, and personalization/big data technology, which together could redefine our shopping experience altogether.
Chris raised Unata’s venture capital funding, established a corporate partnership with Aimia, signed the first two customer accounts – Longo’s and Grocery Gateway – and hired a team of experts to implement Unata’s vision.
We were fortunate enough to have Chris give us some insight on being the CEO of a mobile company.
1. Keep it Simple
• User Experience (UX) is crucial in any application.
• It doesn’t matter how good your product is. If you are not packaging it the right way, you are not maximizing its potential. According to Chris, simplicity is f***ing hard! First impression is key!
2. Keep it Flexible
• Content variability is important.
• People do not want to see the same content every visit. Good applications are able to keep their content flexible
3. Keep it Measurable
• Track it all, good applications are able to analyze and measure consumer behavior and tendencies.
• Eg. What customers do, When mobile sessions happen and where they take place.
• Through this process, applications are able to customize, and personlize the experience for each individual customer which leads us to his final point.
4. Keep it Valuable
• Ultimately, the experience for the user has to be beneficial to him/her. Whether its time, money and/or fun.
For those aspiring to start their own mobile company, Chris gives us some insight on the challenges we should be expected to face.
• Funding – The main issue with every start-up company. It is essentially about de-risking, reducing all the possible causes of failure.
• Talent – Putting together a team that is passionate about what they do, and are able to work together towards a common goal.
• Flexibility – Be flexible in terms of application programming interface. It all comes down to architecture.
• Retention – Do everything you can to retain customers. Make use of Push notifications. EMAIL, EMAIL, EMAIL. Create dynamic experiences for the user.
Finally, Chris gives us suggestions for Starting Out.
1. Find your designer (one that can put onto paper the ideas you have in your head)
2. Get awesome at UX & presentations
3. Start small, but have a roadmap
4. Avoid coding, do more prototyping (mobile web, invision, balsamiq)
5. Get feedback, build a case
6. Be smart about architecture
7. Take time to hire the right people
8. Create an analytics & iteration plan
9. Don’t take development shortcuts
10. “F*uck it, Ship it” and stick to your deadlines
11. Get good at saying “NO”
12. Get ready to fail daily
13. Network constantly
14. Trust your gut. No one lives and breathes your company like you do.
15. Have fun while you’re at it
Following the presentation, Chris stayed around to answer more questions. If you have not already done so, check out his award winning applications here (grocery gateway & Longos).
On behalf of the Mobile Learning Lab, we would like to thank all those who attended this event, despite the dreadful weather. It was great to see many new faces and we look forward to seeing you at our next event!