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When iPhone met world, 7 years ago today

When iPhone met world, 7 years ago today | Mobile Development News! |
Steve Jobs was right when he declared the iPhone a revolutionary product. It redefined the smartphone category and put a powerful computer in the hands of more than a billion people around the world. Read this article by Dan Farber on CNET News.

Seven years ago, on January 9, 2007, the late Apple CEO Steve Jobs took the stage at the Moscone Center in San Francisco to introduce the first iPhone. "Today, Apple is going to reinvent the phone," Jobs proclaimed:

This is a day I've been looking forward to for two-and-a-half years. Every once in a while, a revolutionary product comes along that changes everything. And Apple has been -- well, first of all, one's very fortunate if you get to work on just one of these in your career. Apple's been very fortunate. It's been able to introduce a few of these into the world. 1984, introduced the Macintosh. It didn't just change Apple. It changed the whole computer industry. In 2001, we introduced the first iPod, and it didn't just change the way we all listen to music, it changed the entire music industry. Well, today, we're introducing three revolutionary products of this class. The first one is a widescreen iPod with touch controls. The second is a revolutionary mobile phone. And the third is a breakthrough Internet communications device. So, three things: a widescreen iPod with touch controls; a revolutionary mobile phone; and a breakthrough Internet communications device. An iPod, a phone, and an Internet communicator. An iPod, a phone...are you getting it? These are not three separate devices, this is one device, and we are calling it iPhone. Today, Apple is going to reinvent the phone, and here it is. No, actually here it is, but we're going to leave it there for now.

To read the full article, click on the title.

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Great Jobs for Developers at Excellent Startups! 

at Fibonacci Sequence (US only)

Via vishal dharmawat
Marc Kneepkens's insight:

True, Apple has been making incredible changes that impact a lot of people. Great article.

Marc Kneepkens's curator insight, January 10, 2014 3:36 PM

About ultimate entrepreneurship, how to change the world with world changing products.

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VCs Are Ripe For Smart Alternatives To Fund App Growth | TechCrunch

VCs Are Ripe For Smart Alternatives To Fund App Growth  |  TechCrunch | Mobile Development News! |

With 1,600+ apps making their debuts in the app stores daily, the pressure is on app developers to stand out from the crowd and acquire users at scale.

However, app developers aren’t the only ones feeling the strain. The tremendous growth of the global app economy — powered by more than 2.5 million apps in the App Store and Google Play combined — is also stretching traditional app marketing and monetization models to their limits.

Squeezed by user acquisition costs and pressured to deploy other tactics to raise their profiles, app developers are forced to spend more on app installs and campaigns in order to hit a high app store rank and increase visibility among their target users. Read more here:

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Growthink helped me with two business plans. I liked working with Anna Vitale because she was a professional yet personable and that gave me a sense of trust. Keep up the good work.”

Phil Marcu

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This article accurately paints the challenges for app makers and the VC's partnering with them, and how the industry is looking for valid alternatives.

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What Obama's State of the Union address means for the tech industry | VentureBeat | Business | by Harrison Weber

What Obama's State of the Union address means for the tech industry | VentureBeat | Business | by Harrison Weber | Mobile Development News! |

Here's a summary of Obama's statements on NSA reform, building an open Internet, and more.

Light on news, heavy on clapping, tonight’s 2015 State of the Union address won’t shock or amaze you. But, the annual speech does one thing well: It paints a pretty clear picture of U.S. President Barack Obama’s stance on a number of tech issues.

And so, in case you’re hunting for a recap — or, if you (gasp) missed the live address — here’s a summary of Obama’s statements on NSA reform, building an open Internet, and more:

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"The Growthink team was extremely professional and organized. I was particularly impressed with the speed at which they learned the intricacies of our business and our target markets."   
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Let the Other 95% of Great Programmers In - Paul Graham

Let the Other 95% of Great Programmers In - Paul Graham | Mobile Development News! |

American technology companies want the government to make immigration easier because they say they can't find enough programmers in the US. Anti-immigration people say that instead of letting foreigners take these jobs, we should train more Americans to be programmers. Who's right?

The technology companies are right. What the anti-immigration people don't understand is that there is a huge variation in ability between competent programmers and exceptional ones, and while you can train people to be competent, you can't train them to be exceptional. Exceptional programmers have an aptitude for and interest in programming that is not merely the product of training.

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Need help finding excellent programmers? Let me know at @MarcKneepkens

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North Korean Defector Jang Se Yul Trained With Hackers - Business Insider

North Korean Defector Jang Se Yul Trained With Hackers - Business Insider | Mobile Development News! |

"The US shouldn’t take them lightly.”

Whether North Korea was responsible for the Sony hack or not, the consensus is that North Korea has some of the best hackers in the world.

There have been some reports recently about North Korea’s special cyber warfare unit, known as Bureau 121. The North Korean government has made grooming its “cyber warriors” a top priority for decades, and has given first class treatment to its hackers.

Jang Se-yul, a North Korean defector who now leads an organization called North Korea People’s Liberation Front in Seoul, could have been one of them. 

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Marc Kneepkens's curator insight, December 25, 2014 9:34 AM

Specially trained 'hacker' units from a rogue country!

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5 deep learning startups to follow in 2015 | VentureBeat | Big Data | by Jordan Novet

5 deep learning startups to follow in 2015 | VentureBeat | Big Data | by Jordan Novet | Mobile Development News! |
Deep learning talent is still in limited quantity, so don't be surprised if some of these startups get swept up before the end of next year.

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Financially speaking, which computer languages can earn the most for the programmer? - Quora

Carter Page, Engineering Manager at Google
1.5k upvotes by Solomon Duskis, Troy Manchester, Simon Hayes, (more)
There is a short answer, but this a borderline religious discussion, so it requires some context first.

I've hired many software engineers, and the single most valuable skill is the ability to pick up anything and master it quickly.

Some years ago an offshore company was producing Java for me with inconsistent quality.  I was able to build remote teams by looking at their resumes, but I couldn't interview them individually because they didn't speak English.  This kind of constraint makes for an interesting experiment.

The developers' resumes looked good, with years of experience.  Still, the code was often buggy, hard-to-read, and poorly organized.  As an experiment I started asking just for their C++ developers.  Some of them didn't know Java, but I was willing to pay them for a few weeks to learn it.  With the help of their coworkers, they picked up the language and its idioms, and excelled as our top Java programmers.

So here's the short answer: Learn C/C++

You might never use it professionally, but it contains a lifetime of lessons.  And the hardest problems, the ones that the top engineers are asked to solve, will sooner or later hit some foundational C code.

Here are some things that are written in C:
  • The Java virtual machine is written in ANSI C
  • Linux is written in C (and some assembly, but mostly C)
  • Python is written in C
  • Mac OS X kernel is written in C
  • Windows is written in C and C++
  • The Oracle database is written in C and C++
  • Cisco routers, those things which connect the Internet, also C

Name anything that is foundational, complex, and performance critical.  It was written in C, with a sprinkling of assembly thrown in.

C will make you a better Java programmer.  You'll know when the JVM is using the stack and when it's using the heap, and what that means.  You'll have a more intuitive sense of what garbage collection does.  You'll have a better sense of the relative performance cost of objects versus primitives.

C++ will make you a better Python programmer.  Its class mechanism is largely based on C++.  You'll have to learn to write clean, well-organized code if you ever expect to maintain it.  You'll learn to be careful with your global variables.

C will make you a better Objective-C programmer.  You'll know how to manage your refcounts and which piece of code should "own" an object.  You'll be able to avoid memory leaks.

So which is better C or C++?  I lean slightly to C++ because they are very similar, but with C++ you get the added benefit of object-oriented programming.  Even if you decide you're only ever going to program in functional languages, learning how to think in OO teaches organizational patterns that are critical to engineering and maintaining really large projects.

So maybe you won't make as much per hour as you would during some brief, weird supply/demand anomaly like COBOL in '99, but once you know C, you can learn that language, and the next, and the next.  Because if there's one long-term constant in this industry, today's hot skill is a quaint novelty in a few years.  Learn the skills behind the skills and you'll do great.

*** EDIT ***

Based on many of the comments below, I should clarify.

Nowhere do I say you should program in C for a living.  Or learn C as your only language.  Or that you can make more per hour on C than programming in Foobar.  Generally speaking, you shouldn't even program your applications in C unless you have a really good reason.

But you should learn C.  Because it's the abstraction other languages use to understand the physical machine.  You can strut like a champ when the other programmers are still scratching their heads.  And that will make you more "senior" and earn you more money in the long run.

If you want to be the best and best-paid Formula 1 driver, learn how to take that engine apart.  Not because it is your job, but because it will make you better at your job.  And as the cars change and evolve over time, you'll get what makes them different too.

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Obama becomes first president to write a computer program

Obama becomes first president to write a computer program | Mobile Development News! |

President Barack Obama told the world that everyone should learn how to code. And now he’s putting his money where his mouth is.

Earlier today, to help kick-off the annual Computer Science Education Week, Obama became the first president ever to write a computer program. It was a very simple program—all it does is draw a square on a screen—but that’s the point, says Hadi Partovi, co-founder, an organization that promotes computer science education. “All programming starts simple,” he says. “No one starts by creating a complicated game.”

Last year, Obama delivered a YouTube speech to promote Computer Science Education Week, but didn’t write any code himself. “Learning these skills isn’t just important for your future. It’s important for our country’s future,” the president said in the video. “If we want America to stay on the cutting edge, we need young Americans like you to master the tools and technology that will change the way we do just about everything.”

Obama was echoing the sentiment of the growing code literacy movement, which seeks to expand computer science and programming education throughout the world. Code literacy advocates argue that with information technology embedding itself ever deeper into our lives, everyone should learn a bit more about how computers operate. A whole industry has sprung-up around the idea, with companies offering everything from children’s games that teach the fundamentals of programming to intensive three month full-time “bootcamps” dedicated to teaching people how to code well enough to land a job. introduced the “Hour of Code” campaign last year with the aim of convincing all students to try just one hour of programming and showing them that anyone can learn the basics. As part of the campaign, the organization created a website that compiles many different hour long tutorials, most of which were created specifically for the campaign.

Obama wrote his code part of event today organized by, which brought brought 20 middle school students from the South Seventeenth Street School in Newark, New Jersey, to the White House, where they met the president and worked on Hour of Code tutorials. Partovi says the president himself didn’t complete the tutorial from start to finish, but instead went from station to station watching the students work. He did, however, complete some of the exercises, which involved both using Google’s Blockly tool, and writing a line of code using the programming language JavaScript.

Obama joins New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who tweeted in 2012 that his New Year’s resolution was to learn to code, among major U.S. politicians who have taken the first steps towards code literacy.

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Via Luca Baptista
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Millions of jobs are being created for programmers. Living in a digital culture will change every facet of our society.

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Why Amazon's new Lambda cloud service is a huge deal for devs --- and the cloud market

Why Amazon's new Lambda cloud service is a huge deal for devs --- and the cloud market | Mobile Development News! |

At Amazon Web Services’ big annual user conference in Las Vegas this week, executives from the market-leading public cloud made all the moves that spectators were expecting: a few new products, a new generation of server chips for running applications, some customer wins, and greater support for Docker. But one announcement has elicited a rare mix of excitement, curiosity, and even outright confusion from analysts.

That would be Amazon’s reveal of Lambda, which Amazon chief technology officer Werner Vogels simply described as “an event-driven computing service for dynamic applications.” It might sound like yet another service in the Amazon cloud’s ever-expanding portfolio. But really, it’s a tool to implement rules that carry out functions using Amazon’s manifold complex features, without requiring extensive configuration and maintenance.

And that means it could be a major step forward for software development in the cloud.

“This is revolutionary, or potentially revolutionary,” David Floyer, cofounder and chief technology officer of technology analysis firm Wikibon, told VentureBeat in an interview.

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How design changes the way investors see your startup

How design changes the way investors see your startup | Mobile Development News! |

A few weeks ago during a moment of self-reflection, I noticed a recurring theme throughout the top deals in our pipeline and became suddenly aware of my tendency to value startups with well-formed user experience and user interface (UX/UI) design elements over more technical elements.

My initial reaction was to think of ways to weigh this aspect of the evaluation less (don’t be influenced by the pretty). However, perhaps there is a deeper meaning for this gut intuition. A great user experience correlates to a deep understanding of the customer and more importantly, how to deliver the technology/product/solution to the market.

Even as a startup, an understanding of how the end-user will interact with the product is immensely important. There are many amazing technologies that we pass on because the team lacks the vision to deliver the technology to the user. UX/UI design is an early indicator that the team understands their user and can deliver a quality product.


Tinder is a great example of a company which nailed its user experience. The technology, identifying your geo-location and then locating users nearby, is not revolutionary. The application of the technology and the way in which the user interacts with it is what makes Tinder special.

The company fully and completely understood its user base, and designed a product that matched that user base perfectly. When Tinder first started taking root in college campuses, you felt that the founders truly understood their audience. was great but not what this market was looking for. They wanted something simple, minimal, and fun. In fact very little of the user experience has changed since their first launch, though certainly much has changed technology-wise as the company has grown to millions of users.

iPhone vs Amazon Fire Phone

The look of the Amazon Fire Phone is amazing, the technology within it is groundbreaking, and yet, adoption does not appear to be growing. As an iPhone user, it feels as though Apple’s device was built to make my life easier, whereas, from what I have seen, it appears the Fire Phone was built to make Amazon’s life easier and developed to make buying a product on Amazon faster.

This is great, but not what I need my phone to do. Amazon failed to design a worthy user experience and is suffering as a consequence.

Enterprise Software

One of the hottest markets right now is in the enterprise software space. Leading the disruption is the implementation of consumer design elements. How can we take traditionally complicated, bland, and clunky software solutions (SAP, Oracle, etc.) and make them more user-friendly?

Salesforce, Workday, and Box all harness consumer design elements in their enterprise products. The basic idea is to take the design elements that we have all become accustomed to and implement that same strategy into the enterprise. This shift, alongside a shift in the workforce demographic (Millennials), has caused an explosion in the market.

Looking back, was it Google’s superior search algorithms that users flocked to or was it the user experience Google offered when compared to Yahoo, Lycos, and Alta Vista? I would argue that the experience of a singular search bar with no distractions is what caused many to choose Google as their search engine of choice.

The technology and IP behind a startup will always be important, but user experience and design can be just as important in determining the success of the company and often harder to achieve.

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Marc Kneepkens's curator insight, November 10, 2014 8:30 AM

Presentation and a 'flowing' user experience makes the difference!

Richard Platt's curator insight, November 11, 2014 3:21 AM

The technology and IP behind a startup will always be important, but user experience and design can be just as important in determining the success of the company and often harder to achieve.

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4 ways to lower your risks for game development, SuperData finds

4 ways to lower your risks for game development, SuperData finds | Mobile Development News! |
SuperData talked to 41 U.K. game companies to learn how to lower the risk of development.

Gaming is a huge industry, but it’s also a risky one.

More developers are switching to mobile gaming, an industry that could hit $20 billion worldwide this year. To help ease the risk of development, research firm SuperData talked to 41 U.K. game companies and completed five in-depth case studies focusing on evolving customer preferences, value creation, popularity of certain platforms, and the ways in which interactive entertainment generates income.

SuperData released its study today. Below are the four conclusions it found for the best ways for game makers to lower the risks of development.


Game companies have to decide who their main customers are: consumers or businesses. Each have advantages (appealing to customers can give you more revenue based on quality while going after businesses can give you more security). However, 37 percent of the companies polled say they go with a hybrid approach.

“Adopting a dual approach can play a role in derisking a business model by bringing in multiple revenue streams,” the report states. “While consumers might be the end-user of a company’s game, it could still be a strategic business partner that accounts for significant parts of the company’s overall income.”

Partners and internal focus

The U.K game companies polled put the most emphasis on partners who helped them reach a larger market, like publishers and digital store owners (like Steam). These companies also valued efficiency over creativity and innovation. While that may seem cynical, efficiency enables you to deliver a product on time, which makes business partners happy.

“Efficiency implies reduction of variable costs and hence alleviates some of the risks associated with the uncertain business of making and publishing video games,” the report states.


With the advent of mobile, developers have more platforms available to them than ever before. The number of platforms that those polled are active on has increased by 27 percent in the last two years. You can see more about the platforms that they’re using and how they’ve grown in the graph above.

Revenue generation

Game makers have access to a lot of revenue streams, including digital sales and downloadable content. Still, traditional “units sold” via boxed copies were the most important to those polled.

“Despite the emphasis in industry publications on the shift to digital, selling units is still the backbone of game revenue in the U.K., in combination with selling downloadable content,” the report states. It also noted the importance of taking advantage of multiple revenue streams.

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9 Essential Traits Startup Founders Seek in New Hires

9 Essential Traits Startup Founders Seek in New Hires | Mobile Development News! |
Nine startup founders explain the key traits they look for in job seekers.

When interviewing with a startup, job seekers need to consider that the founders are looking for someone who will best complement their recipe for success.

Startups create millions of jobs each year — so what does this mean for job seekers? While it's true that startups offer a wealth of job opportunities, the startup lifestyle isn’t for everyone, and not everyone is a fit for every up-and-coming business. If you ask any successful startup founder about hiring habits, there are certain traits they look for when adding to their team. Below, nine startup founders and business leaders offer their advice for job seekers looking to enter the startup world.

Traits startup founders are seeking

1. Passion and motivation

"Number one: Believe in the startup and its mission! You must be prepared to hit the ground running and learn as you go. Take direction and guidance and make it your own." —Niari Keverian, CEO of ZOOS Greek Iced Tea

2. Curiosity

"We look for 'curious hustlers' to join our growing team — people who are hungry for new ways to innovate and learn, but will always execute." —Sean Naegeli, COO of Splashscore

3. Speed, attitude and expertise

"When we hire startup talent at Rosie we look for three things: Speed, attitude and expertise. We can always teach people to become experts and to efficiently get things done. The hardest part of our hiring process is finding people with the attitude, passion and endurance to build great products and deliver delight to customers day in and day out.” —Nick Nickitas, CEO of Rosie

4. Audacity

"We strive to hire people smarter and edgier than us. To do that, we look for proven risk-takers amped up to experiment and have their feet held to the fire. Leaders aren’t just born; they’re made. And Grapevine will only make it with a team of leaders." —Ryin Bradley, director of business development at Grapevine Logic

5. Hunger and willingness to sacrifice

"Really interesting candidates crave more responsibility and are willing to drop whatever they’re doing to learn something new. Also, he or she has to be okay with taking Megabuses — we’re still bootstrapping." —Liz Asai, CEO of 3Derm

6. Sense of humor and cultural fit

"Skills are a given, so we hire for culture first and foremost. People we bring onboard need to not only think my bad jokes are funny, but also be able to tell a joke that’s worse than mine. Do that and you’re part of the team." —Ken Deckinger, cofounder and CEO of Jess, Meet Ken

7. Impact

"We look for fun, passionate and ambitious individuals who are looking to make an impact in students’ lives." —Remy Carpinito, CEO of CampusTap

8. Flexibility

"I look for people who have a wide variety of skills, since you have to wear multiple hats in the dynamic startup environment." —Aziz Kaddan, CEO of Myndlift

9. Fearlessness

"The best employees are independent and don’t need constant monitoring, but also aren’t afraid to ask questions, be humble and admit when mistakes have been made. In our line of business, as is the case with most startups, failures are inevitable and success is largely determined by how well you can cope with them." —Timo Kauppila, cofounder and CEO of Catchbox

If you’re searching for a new opportunity, certainly don’t eliminate joining a startup as a viable option. However, make sure you have the above qualities to ensure your path to the startup world is a success.

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Marc Kneepkens's insight:

This looks pretty demanding. But that's what startups are all about. Just like 'extreme sports', these people expand the limits.

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What Every Business Can Learn From Apple’s Mistakes

What Every Business Can Learn From Apple’s Mistakes | Mobile Development News! |
App developers learned something important from Apple’s iPhone 6 release: even the titans of the industry deal with programming bugs and release disasters.

Ran Rachlin is the co-founder and CEO of Ubertesters, a global provider of a comprehensive, cloud-based, process management tool for mobile applications beta testing.

App developers definitely learned something important from Apple’s latest product release: even the titans of the industry deal with programming bugs and release disasters.

Well, we all knew that. What’s surprising is the depth of the problem; one so severe that Apple was forced to pull its iOS 8.0.1 update just days after it was released.

All businesses, not just developers, can learn a few other useful things from Apple’s mistakes.

Don’t let your past mistakes haunt you

It’s worth considering that almost all of the recent articles about Apple’s current headaches cite problems in the past.

Steve Jobs, for all his virtues, could be curt and abrasive with customers. In response to complaints about the iPhone 4 low signal glitch back in 2010, Jobs declared, “Non issue. Just avoid holding [the phone] in that way.”

Owners responded harshly to the suggestion that they didn’t know how to hold a phone properly. In the end, Jobs apologized: “If you’re still not happy even after getting a [new] case, you can bring your iPhone 4 back undamaged for a full refund,” Jobs said. “We are going to take care of everyone.”

But, a lot of damage was done. Apple eventually accepted responsibility but phone owners and business journalists agreed that it shouldn’t have taken weeks for a more reasonable response to the problem. Apple got away with it, but these sorts of incidents tend to have a cumulative effect. That incident hangs over Apple to this day.

The lesson? Your company has a track record. This is especially true in the social media age when your past mistakes are just a Google search away. Your best bet is to prevent problems through a more diligent approach to all of your work.

Never slam your competition’s attributes as unnecessary

“No one Is going to buy a big phone” claimed Apple’s Steve Jobs back in 2010. In response to a suggestion that an Apple antenna problem could have been prevented by using a larger case, Jobs attacked recently released large smart phones like Samsung’s Galaxy S, calling them “Hummers” and insisting that “no one is going to buy them.”

“Guess who surprised themselves and changed their mind,” wrote Korean electronics giant Samsung on its Twitter feed this week when Apple revealed its new, 5.5-inch supersized iPhone 6 (versus its 4’’ iPhone 5.)

There are probably a few lessons to be learned. Mostly, don’t be so quick to disparage the competition until you’re absolutely sure they’re not on to something. And take ownership for the problem.

Steve Jobs tried to deflect the issue, rather than suggest that a larger phone might be one solution, but not the one that Apple was pursuing.

It’s about you, not them. Don’t be petty. Just do the best quality work you can do.

Don’t make enemies of your biggest fans

By now everyone has seen videos or read stories about the bendable iPhone 6. Apple’s initial response to complaints was silence.

After a few days, the company issued an accusatory response: “With normal use, a bend in iPhone is extremely rare and through our first six days of sale, a total of nine customers have contacted Apple with a bent iPhone 6 Plus,” wrote Apple spokesperson Trudy Muller. Social media quickly dubbed the problem #bendgate.

Is Apple suggesting that these nine users are crackpots? The number is irrelevant. The Apple rep added that the company was “looking into this with an insane amount of detail.”

That was all that was necessary. Although Apple might have thanked the new owners that brought a potential issue to their attention.

The lesson? Always try to use criticism to your advantage. Your users are trying to help you by finding bugs and reporting problems. Be humble and grateful, not sarcastic. The fact is they’re doing your work for you.

Will any of this hurt Apple? Probably not in the long run, even if shares are down this week. Apple will bounce back due to a couple of significant factors: Apple is big enough that it can suffer some financial loss; the company has been around long enough that a short-term problem can be overcome; and, most important, the company has a well-deserved reputation for responding quickly to customer bug reports.

Most SMBs don’t have these advantages. If your company’s new iOS 8 app doesn’t work well, for example, your customers will probably have little patience. That’s why when we work with developers, we always tell them to think of professional app testing as an essential part of the development process, not an optional extra.

Most importantly, do it properly, with professional and experienced quality control people. You can’t expect friends and relatives to know what to look for. We know from experience that app developers who launch an app to the market without proper testing, and subject users to bugs and crashes, risk potential customers simply deleting the app immediately and checking out the competition.

And that’s the final lesson: it takes time and a commitment to quality to build a reputation that can withstand scrutiny and and the worst kind of crises. Back in April 2014, Apple CEO Tim Cook said: “You want to take the time to get it right. Our objective has never been to be first. It’s to be the best. To do things really well, it takes time.”

Perhaps he should have listened to his own advice. It’s not too late for you.

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Marc Kneepkens's curator insight, October 23, 2014 9:22 PM

Lots to learn from Apple, successes and mistakes.

Richard Platt's curator insight, October 23, 2014 11:16 PM

Good list

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Google Gives Spaceman $542 Million, Makes Magic Leap

Google Gives Spaceman $542 Million, Makes Magic Leap | Mobile Development News! |
Google invested $542 million in a startup called Magic Leap. The company is planning to “build a rocket ship for the mind.”
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Bigger than Hollywood

Bigger than Hollywood | Mobile Development News! |

Apple paid $10 billion to developers in calendar 2014. Additional statistics for the App store are:

  • $500 million spent on iOS apps in first week of January 2015
  • Billings for apps increased 50% in 2014
  • Cumulative developer revenues were $25 billion (making 2014 revenues 40% of all app sales since store opened in 2008)
  • 627,000 jobs created in the US

Read more and see more graphs here:

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Growthink really understands how to create compelling business plans and raise capital, and Growthink's Capital Raising Products succeed in infusing this knowledge.
-John Morris
Managing Director, GKM Ventures,
Board of Governors, Tech Coast Angels

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Some very interesting graphs show how big one Apple's businesses has become.

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Google releases its Cloud Trace service for tracking app performance

Google releases its Cloud Trace service for tracking app performance | Mobile Development News! |

The Google Cloud Trace web service for diagnosing hiccups in developers’ applications is now available for all to use, Google said today.

Google first unveiled the service in June, at its Google I/O conference in San Francisco.

“With Google Cloud Trace, you can diagnose performance issues in your production application by quickly finding the traces for slow requests and viewing a detailed report of where time is spent in your application while processing these requests,” Google product manager Pratul Dublish wrote in a blog post on the news today. “Its trace analysis feature allows you to see the latency distribution for your application, and find the painfully slow requests that may be affecting only a small number of your users. You can also use the trace analysis feature to check if the performance of a new release is better than the previous release.”

With that range of capability, Google has pulled off a worthy feat in the hotly competitive public cloud industry — the offering of a distinct service that can help developers rest assured that their applications are working in the best possible way. And if they aren’t, the service can assist in the troubleshooting process.

The thing is, Google isn’t making Cloud Trace available for developers to use with applications living on other public clouds — as it has done with the Google Cloud Monitoring service by way of the Stackdriver acquisition. There’s good sense in helping people run applications on multiple public clouds, especially Amazon’s public cloud. But then again, unlike the Cloud Monitoring service, Cloud Trace didn’t originally start by supporting Amazon.

Cloud Trace, for its part, allows users to bring up logs for specific application requests and generate reports on latency for requests, among other capabilities, according to the documentation for the feature.

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North Korea Loses Its Link to the Internet -

North Korea Loses Its Link to the Internet - | Mobile Development News! |

While perhaps a coincidence, the failure, which lasted about 10 hours, began after President Obama said the U.S. would respond to an act of “cybervandalism” against Sony Pictures.

A strange thing happened to North Korea’s already tenuous link to the Internet on Monday: It failed.
While perhaps a coincidence, the failure of the country’s computer connections began only hours after President Obama declared Friday that the United States would launch a “proportional response” to what he termed an act of “cybervandalism” against Sony Pictures.
Over the weekend, as North Korean officials demanded a “joint investigation” into the Sony attacks and denied culpability — an assertion the United States rejected — Internet service began to get wobbly. By early Monday, the Internet went as dark as one of those satellite photographs showing the impoverished country by night.

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Marc Kneepkens's curator insight, December 25, 2014 10:05 AM

Most North Korean hackers are located outside of the country, see the end of the article.

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A Deep Learning Tutorial: From Perceptrons to Deep Networks

A Deep Learning Tutorial: From Perceptrons to Deep Networks | Mobile Development News! |
Are you joining the growing group of developers who want to know more about Deep Learning? This introductory tutorial covers it all.

In recent years, there’s been a resurgence in the field of Artificial Intelligence. It’s spread beyond the academic world with major players like Google, Microsoft, and Facebook creating their own research teams and making some impressive acquisitions.

Some this can be attributed to the abundance of raw data generated by social network users, much of which needs to be analyzed, as well as to the cheap computational power available via GPGPUs.

But beyond these phenomena, this resurgence has been powered in no small part by a new trend in AI, specifically in machine learning, known as “Deep Learning”. In this tutorial, I’ll introduce you to the key concepts and algorithms behind deep learning, beginning with the simplest unit of composition and building to the concepts of machine learning in Java.

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The Strength Of A Transparent Startup | TechCrunch

The Strength Of A Transparent Startup  |  TechCrunch | Mobile Development News! |

If you ask a member of the business-tech community about the benefits of closed systems versus their open counterparts, one word that will almost certainly come up is “security.” There’s been a long-held belief in the tech industry that closed systems are more difficult to corrupt and, therefore, more secure than systems built on a philosophy of radical openness.

But in recent months we’ve seen this idea of “closed is more secure” flipped on its head. Once concerned primarily with keeping hackers and other “outsiders” from accessing sensitive data, consumers are now more aware of the importance of maintaining personal security and privacy from corporations, governments and other powerful “insiders.”

We’ve seen this trend gain momentum in America following Edward Snowden’s NSA program leaks, and even more vocally in Hong Kong recently with the Occupy Central protests against the Chinese government’s famously closed election system.

Meanwhile, we’ve also begun to see cracks appearing in one of the world’s most popular and fanatically trusted closed systems — Apple’s. While the iCloud celebrity nude leaks reminded us of the value of multi-factor authentication, a fake Occupy Central app that spread phishing malware in Hong Kong poked a few more holes in the perceived security of iOS’s closed system.

So in a world where being “closed” can not only prove ineffective but also raise red flags, it makes more sense than ever for tech startups to adopt a policy of radical openness: transparency leads to trust; collaboration leads to innovation; and decentralization leads to empowerment.

Transparency Leads to Trust

Each year, GMI Ratings releases a list of the 100 Most Trustworthy Companies, inspired by the abuses that led to the financial collapse. GMI’s stance is that trustworthiness comes from transparency — even when the news is bad, the companies on this list are keeping shareholders informed, leading to less investor uncertainty and, in most cases, solid stock prices.

What might surprise you (or might not) is that technology is cited as one of today’s most fraudulent industries along with pharmaceuticals. This means that the opportunity is ripe to distinguish your tech startup from closed-up competitors by employing a model of radical openness with investors and clients.

That may mean providing more performance and financial data, being up front about long-term goals (or your more agile, wait-and-see approach, if that’s the case) and even coming forward to report your mistakes and near misses. It might be painful, but it can actually strengthen your relationships over time.

Collaboration Leads to Innovation

Some of the most talked-about startups in recent years would not exist if not for open data. Wikipedia is an obvious example, but also consider Waze, which was acquired by Google in 2013. Waze uses user-submitted traffic data to recommend the fastest driving route, which adjusts in real time as the user drives. Imagine the efficiencies that would be lost if Waze tried to generate this data by itself instead of tapping into the free, unlimited power of collaboration.

Investors in companies like IFTTT (which stands for If-This-Then-That) are also placing huge bets that the future lies in interconnection and open interaction among a multitude of platforms and devices. While many tech startups were thinking about how to carve a niche, own it and charge for it, IFTTT was strategically positioning itself as the go-to platform for the impending Internet of Things.

This brilliant, long-game strategy landed the company a $30 million investment in August of this year. Imagine if the company had instead built a platform that only functioned with IFTTT-approved devices, following a closed, vertical integration model. It might have enjoyed some early success, but it would have inevitably been unseated by a more open provider.

No closed system is safe from the disruption of a more open alternative.

Even a closed behemoth like Microsoft is now recognizing the value of open-sourced collaboration, recently announcing its decision to open source its server-side .NET Framework and also take it to Mac and Linux. Launching a startup with “artificial walls” in place, such as exclusive partnerships or extensive restrictions, in all likelihood means signing your own death sentence. Hold up Apple as a shining exception if you want, but history shows that tech that doesn’t play well with others gets left behind as collaborative innovation happens outside its walls.

For example, if Apple decides to throw its hat in the virtual reality ring, it will have to do on its own what the united front of Samsung (in other words, Google’s Android OS), Oculus Rift (in other words, Facebook), and the world’s entire network of virtual reality developers are collaborating to create.

Companies that rely on the idea that they’re “completely irreplaceable” need only look at the long list of alternatives that have arisen to even some of our most institutionalized services in recent years: bitcoin for traditional currency; at-home 3D printing for manufacturing; and right now in Hong Kong, Firechat, which is enabling protesters to circumvent Internet service providers. No closed system is safe from the disruption of a more open alternative.

Decentralization Leads to Empowerment

Back to Waze for a moment. Let’s imagine the blowback the company would receive for trying to charge for its user-submitted information. The commercial real estate industry has done precisely that for many years. The largest data providers have served as arbitrary gatekeepers for the world’s commercial real estate listings by asking brokers and agencies for info on their available spaces, then packaging that information and charging for access to it.

It’s unsurprising that free and open alternatives are now arising, threatening the existence of these long-established gatekeepers. (Disclosure, I run RealMassive, one such company.)

The commercial real estate industry lost sight of one important fact — the Internet has made kings of us all. In a Google world, the encyclopedia salesman is a relic, and businesses built around proprietary data have an expiration date.

If your startup is basing its business model on data that another company could feasibly gather and give away for free, you can expect that very thing to happen in the near future. Would you be able to survive? Do you really want to find out?

The Choice Is Yours, And Not Choosing Is a Choice

When it comes to making a choice between radical openness and “closedness” as a business philosophy, the best time to choose is in the early months of your company. A company that starts out with a closed paradigm and later chooses to open up will have a tough time rerouting company culture and also runs the risk of losing ground to more open competitors early on.

Even worse, a company that starts out open and later chooses to become closed will almost certainly make enemies, as Makerbot learned after it suddenly clamped down on its open-source 3D printing hardware after a community of early supporters spent years contributing to Makerbot’s design (it’s worth watching “Print the Legend,” a new documentary that chronicles the whole ordeal, available on Netflix).

Since you must choose one — and you must — openness is simply a better option for tech startups who stand little chance of deploying a successful vertical domination strategy like Apple or Sony built in decades past. When it comes to relationship-building, innovation, and eliminating competition, the best thing you can do to guarantee your company a spot in the future is to employ a philosophy of radical openness.

Schoolyard politics still apply: Secrets don’t make friends and neither do bullies.

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Marc Kneepkens's curator insight, December 14, 2014 10:18 AM

Excellent article. Openness promotes collaboration and is a sign of self confidence and trustworthiness. Apparently, it's similar in the tech world.

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This Unusual Startup Strategy Led to a $200 Million Acquisition by Microsoft in 18 Months

This Unusual Startup Strategy Led to a $200 Million Acquisition by Microsoft in 18 Months | Mobile Development News! |
Listening to typical startup advice would have cost these entrepreneurs millions.

It's every startup founder's dream: being acquired for hundreds of millions without years of slogging away for decades.
And it came true recently for the founders of Acompli, an 18-month-old mobile email app.
I know what you're thinking--how in the heck did that happen? The industry is flooded with startups toiling away at email apps. How did Acompli get acquired by Microsoft for $200 million before it even reached its second birthday?
It turned conventional startup wisdom on its head.
Its strategy makes a great deal of sense when you consider how the biggest and best products are developed, yet it's contrary to the day-to-day grind that  traps so many companies and startups.
I spoke recently with Kevin Henrikson, one of Acompli's three co-founders and a friend of mine, about his startup experience. What he told me about Acompli's pre-acquisition growth strategy blew me away.
They Had a Huge Vision
Henrikson and his co-founders, Javier Soltero and JJ Zhuang, had a huge idea. "Email on mobile is broken for business users," Kevin told me. "We needed to reimagine and develop a mobile email app that would work on any device for any email account and enable any user to do the same kinds of tasks that business users are accustomed to doing with their email at the office." Their goal was to enable professionals to complete key workflows from mobile without ever leaving the app.
Their target: the professional mobile-power user--an incredibly important market.
As a relatively late entrant into the mobile email app market, Acompli was also looking to penetrate one of the most saturated marketplaces on the planet: the App Store. It would have to be more agile and move far faster than the Internet-based email incumbents who just couldn't get on the ball quickly enough to satisfy mobile-first business users.
This technically complex and challenging vision really should have slowed Acompli down. The way most startups are structured, it would have.
But it didn't.
Realizing Their Big Vision Meant Prioritizing Development Over Marketing
Of course, we know a massive, crazy ambitious vision is critical to venture startups. But realizing this bold vision is a huge challenge. Here's why.
It's pretty tough to build a software business without funding (and almost impossible to do it quickly), yet Acompli went through just one round of Series A funding in its relatively short lifespan.
The challenge is that in order to land an initial and subsequent rounds of venture capital investment, investors (particularly east coast VCs), want to see evidence of market traction in the form of product sales and revenue before they'll get behind an idea. You're typically looking at hundreds of thousands in revenues and non-trivial numbers of paying clients to prove you have product-market fit.
This inevitably means investing heavily in sales and marketing early on. However, this carries with it its own set of challenges.
Essentially, it's very easy to fall into a trap of endless loops of feedback and modifications to please your existing client base. Your bold product vision can become diluted with someone else's. Supporting customers too early on means you're slower to develop and fine tune your product, with more emphasis (and budget) on sales and marketing and less on actually making something really, unbelievably awesome. Is this really the best way to grow?
Acompli went in a somewhat unconventional direction, with a team of 23 that consisted of 20 engineers. All three founders are engineers.
"You need to conquer the big technical problems first," Henrikson told me. "Getting involved in sales and marketing too early can hold you back in a lot of ways--you end up chasing the next deal instead of building a better product."
That's not to say Acompli completely deprioritized marketing; it invested in three incredibly talented and essential non-engineering executives for marketing and business development. But clearly the ratio of people at the company was heavily skewed toward engineering.
This unusual allocation of resources afforded Acompli the ability to hyperfocus on product. Its big engineering team could move at warp speed and overtake competitors, to reach its target audience first. It also allowed marketing to clearly position the product and stack all messaging and marketing programs against that audience.
As Henrikson says, "When you solve things with technology and engineers, it's a more scalable solution. That's where the greatest leverage is."
Acompli was highly disruptive in its timing and tapped into a strategy that enabled it to move fast enough to keep that edge. Rather than taking a typical allocation of equally splitting hires into sales, marketing, client support, engineering, etc., for its mobile email app (it's free for consumers, by the way), it prioritized innovation and the development of its vision.
The unusual approach was a winner, to the tune of a $200 million acquisition in just 18 months.

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Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Extremely interesting for engineers/developers. This article points out a very important point regarding your work.

Marc Kneepkens's curator insight, December 13, 2014 2:22 PM

Interesting story. It shows again that there are no rules when it comes to startups. Disruption, all the way.

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How a Startup Made It During Its First Two Years Without Relying on Investors

How a Startup Made It During Its First Two Years Without Relying on Investors | Mobile Development News! |
With a focus on the product and a few 'lucky' breaks, a mobile app developer dives into fundraising for the '99 percent.'

Startups are tough, especially in the early stages. The company is fragile and you are being pulled in a thousand different directions.

One of your biggest concerns as a founder is capital. Some entrepreneurs have the luxury of raising substantial seed rounds in the idea stage, but what about the other 99 percent of us? What if you aren’t based in one of the major tech hubs where risk-averse angels are easier to come by? Your only option is to think outside the box.

When I started MobileX Labs in 2012, I had a tough time securing an angel investment. I was a 23-year-old kid from middle-of-nowhere Indiana with a so-so network. My advantage was that I had previously started other businesses (the first when I was in high school), which provided me with passive income and allowed me to save up money over the years

I decided I was willing to risk it all and infused MobileX Labs with nearly all of my net worth at the time, which would give us about a year of runway, tops. Here is how that went, and what we learned along the way.

Month 1 to 8

In the beginning, we obviously had no revenues whatsoever. We were focused on building our minimum viable product (MVP), a DIY app builder. Six months in, we began to see minimal revenues, but nothing substantial or sustainable. We did manage to get an intro to Mark Cuban and he joined our board of advisors.

Lesson learned: Get to market! Your best feedback will come from users.

You’ll learn more in the first days of your business being "live" than you did in the entire time leading up to launch. Once you start getting feedback from users, it will become clear what you need to work on and what direction you need to go.

Month 9 to 10

It was tough to acquire paying users for our MVP. We asked: Why don’t we use our product to create apps ourselves and sell them in the app store? With a bit of marketing, we went from making $500 a month to $25,000. This was progress, but we still had a long way to go if we wanted to scale our business and raise outside money.

Lesson learned: Think outside the box sooner than later.

Don’t be afraid to do anything it takes to keep afloat. Airbnb has a great story about cereal and the 2008 election that epitomizes this point. Just surviving the first year is the most important measure of success for most startups.

Month 11 to 14

We implemented an 80-20 rule for our products: 80 percent of the time we would work on our core product, improving it, adding features, etc., and 20 percent of the time we would dedicate to creating and marketing new products that would generate revenue for us. Thus, MXLGames and MXLApps were born.

Lesson learned: Make sure your team knows the plan.

Make sure you properly communicate your vision with your team and potential investors. Otherwise, they will think you are scatter-brained and a poor leader. Tell them what you are doing now, and how it fits into the big picture.

Month 15 to 18

Holy crap! An app we made in a week -- Instaliker for Instagram -- began generating $20,000 a day. We were in the top 75 highest grossing in the world. Our business changed overnight. MobileX Labs was generating six figures a month and barely spending a tenth of that. Money wasn’t a concern, so we decided to take all the feedback from our previous customers and rebuild our core mobile-app builder product, now called Nativ, from the ground up.

Lesson learned: Keep reaching for the next level.

Don’t go for a home run right out of the gate. Rather, make sure you have a plan. At MobileXLabs, we have a billion-dollar vision and know that creating some fad app isn’t going to get us there. But that silly app may get us to the next million, those next few hires, and one step closer to reaching our bigger goals.

Month 18 to 21

We had a lot of momentum on our side: solid revenues, a product with several thousands users and millions of app downloads. We decided it was the right time to raise outside capital.

Lesson learned: Raise money when you don’t need it.

Once you can show investors that you are capable of running a successful business, you can go out and raise capital with more leverage. Showing what you’ve done already is just as important as pitching your billion-dollar idea, and having revenue and a solid strategy will get you a much better valuation, too.

Month 21 to the present

We closed $1.5 million in seed funding, scaled our team from four to 31 people worldwide, and generated over $2 million in revenue within a year. We rebuilt our product and launched version 2.0 to a wait list of 30,000 people. We continue to receive revenue from apps and games, which in turn brings down our monthly burn rate and allows us to ship a great product.

Lesson learned: Re-use what you learn and what you build.

The knowledge we gained from have multiple apps in the top of the charts is invaluable and definitely something we took into consideration for our product’s features. We learned the needs of our mobile customers through our own experience in the market.

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Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Nice success stories with many lessons. Get started, do what you love to do, make adjustments, move ahead. Great read.

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Best Startup CEOs To Work For - Business Insider

Best Startup CEOs To Work For - Business Insider | Mobile Development News! |
Three CEOs have perfect 100% approval ratings.

If you're going to join a startup, you might as well join a rocket ship. And lately, there are a lot of billion-dollar startups to choose from.

Which of these healthy startups have the strongest leadership?

We examined CEO ratings on the job ratings site Glassdoor for companies with a $3 billion valuation or higher with multiple employee reviews.

Then we ranked the CEOs, from lowest employee approval rating to highest.

Read more:

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Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Which company would you like to work for? Some of these startups have pretty high ratings. Several come with 100% CEO approval rating.

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Mobile Internet exits explode 700% to $94B (here are the 9 hottest sectors)

Mobile Internet exits explode 700% to $94B (here are the 9 hottest sectors) | Mobile Development News! |
Mobile Internet exits via IPO and acquisition skyrocketed to $94 billion in the last 12 months, according to a new Digi-Capital report (free summary; full version) led by the hottest sectors: messa...
Marc Kneepkens's curator insight, November 6, 2014 10:38 AM

Mobile keeps on growing...

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The End Of Apps As We Know Them

The End Of Apps As We Know Them | Mobile Development News! |

The experience of our primary mobile screen being a bank of app icons that lead to independent destinations is dying. And that changes what we need to design and build.

Click on title or image to see full article.

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Via malek
malek's curator insight, October 25, 2014 10:10 AM

Responsive design is a nice thing, but we’re heading way beyond that

Patrick W.'s curator insight, October 25, 2014 6:07 PM

ajouter votre point de vue ...

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Maximizing Your Minimum Viable Product

Maximizing Your Minimum Viable Product | Mobile Development News! |

“Minimum” is a strong word… and not one usually associated with a good product. Yet lately, the term “Minimum Viable Product” is thrown around as widely accepted advice for startups. Is there truth to this, or is it just another fly-by-night trend? 

Click image or title for original article. Excellent article.

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