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Last night I had an epiphany, albeit a small one but it still was an epiphany non the less.  Time to put aside the “told yer so” postings of companies falling foul of shifting sands T&C’s from the mega corps. Perhaps a small mobile intelligent unit (as coined by Robert Fripp) is the better way to go.

All the more so when it comes to mobile development. I’ve been pinging some ideas around with a few trusted members of my peer network. “How do we do this? How do we measure that?” have been the basic discussions with some exciting answers.

Up until now I’ve been diving into iOS development for putting this stuff together. My original thoughts were it’s a solid development platform, what works on one device should work for all. It all makes sense. The ecosystem though is starting to flex it’s muscle a bit now, especially on the apps that, they feel, “don’t really do anything”. With this thought in mind I coded up a real basic app for Android in a hour and had it working on the device, self signed but it does the job no problem at all. The itch was scratched and that was that.

What we know about ecosystems in a digital sense, well Apple, Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest are all ecosystems in their own right but the emphasis on us, the customer/developer, to put our time and effort into their platforms. That’s okay as we’re promised untold riches in volumes of users who we can present our wares to.  Fine, until the carpet moves and we fall with it.

Part of me likes being in control of my destiny and it took me a long time to get over the whole AppStore approval process. With J2ME apps I could self host and that was that, job done. I’m going back to that way of thinking.

Looking back to some my Northern Ireland startup/business friends developing your own ecosystem regardless of how niche does make sense.

Hubb.it with their events info/feedback portal. The ecosystem is there, looks good and works well, it needs participants. Go see and go get involved!

Airpos have a fantastic point of sale application – how about a plugin architecture for retails to customise their Airpos installation with the elements they need. An ecosystem in the making I’m sure.

Learning Pool – they have the course catalogue a Moodle ecosystem where local government can use and feed back into the ecosystem.

The ecosystem has to be easy for a non technical user to participate, Apple clearly showed us how that would work, but there’s no hard and fast rule of being tied it. We choose to be tied in but there’s nothing to stop the alternatives sprouting up and creating a niche.

Sales isn’t about grabbing 1% of the AppStore audience, it’s about grabbing 90% of your niche audience it just takes a little time to get them in to your walled garden.

 

 

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