Interview with Steve Nitzschner, Co-Founder and CXO of Compass.To
On March 18, 2013
In recent months thousands of Facebook users have been looking for a better way to share their experiences with friends and family. One of the companies people have started turning to is Compass.to a mobile app that lets you share the things you love with the world around you. Today we are lucky enough to present to you an interview with Steve Nitzschner, Co-Founder and CXO of Compass.To, where he answers some of the questions all app developers are thinking about, he discussed things such as what inspired him to create Compass.to, how to choose the right marketing strategy, as well as sharing some insight for those wanting to get started on the path of app development.
Mobile Orchard: Please tell our readers a little about Compass.to
Steve: Well, Compass.to and the iPhone app which is available soon, is the first of a release of tools around “celebrating life”.
MO: Can you maybe start by sharing with us how you got into iPhone app development?
S: Since we grew up with UI/UX and code pieces, we see ourselves in the post digital area. This means we do not think about technology, instead we think about philosophies around technology, and then take it from there.
MO: What made you decide to create the app for iOS instead of Android?
S: I could say that if you want to be successful you need to first release your app on the iOS App Store. But the simple answer is that we love the operating system, however we do feel that Apple needs to improve iOS if they want to remain a market leader. However we haven’t forgotten about the other platforms. actually we’re currently working on Android and Windows Phone apps. Naturally, both will receive a slightly different experience.
MO: Did you have a special process for getting from idea to the final app?
S: Play, play, play. Scribble, scribble, scribble. Long nights, a few (dozen) bottles of wine and understanding what annoys us when we think about the current online social network and technology approaches. Then instead of simply creating an app we sat down and really though hard about what was missing and then we created an app that filled all those voids.
MO: Do you think there is a formula for launching a successful app on the app store?
S: Back in 2009, yes there might have been a formula for releasing a successful app, however today I don’t really believe there is such a thing as a formula for success. There are numerous ways of launching a successful app on the App Store, these include things such as working with app store agencies and app marketing strategies. In our case we’ve been working with 1,100 beta testers in New York and Europe, for us the most critical part of creating Compass.to was getting it onto other people’s device.
MO: Do you think it is better to focus on iPhone exclusive apps or should you make them work both on iPhone and iPad?
S: In our case we decided to focus on the iPhone, the reason for this being the nature of our app, since we are a location based app it just made much more sense to release it on the iPhone. In some ways you can say that people tend to use the iPad when they are in “couch mode” in other words most people use their iPad while at home, while they tend to take their iPhone with them everywhere.
MO: What is the marketing strategy for the app?
S: There is no particular strategy. Instead we’re working with like-minded audiences. We’ve been building this for ourselves first, and for friends. It’s a community thing. Our community consists of artists, DJs, painters, architects, musicians, photographers (from portrait to war photography). Some might call this creative peer groups. We experience our community as a spearhead of a digital generation loving technology but more than this: valuing real-life, again!
MO: Lately there has been a trend towards freemium apps do you see Compass.to moving in that direction in the future?
S: We’re moving towards generating benefits in everyday life. Everything that is valuable to maximize our everyday life without interrupting life or a good conversation with friends is important to us. Whatever it takes, we’ll head into this direction. Whether it’s free, freemium, advertising driven or whatever.
However before starting to worry about monetization firstly make a good product, nurture it and make it as good as possible, then one day you will start generating an income. (a good advice of Andy Palmer who helped us with some great advices during our concept phase. Andy, a big thank you for that!)
MO: Do you have any words of advice for someone just starting out in App development?
S: Sure, develop a good motto for your app. Write this motto in capital letters on your wall, start scribbling and playing around with it. Then spend at least 90 days with the idea, if after this time period you still think the idea is valuable, go ahead and code your pie.
MO: What resources do you recommend for novice developers?
S: Read the biographies of Oscar Wilde, Nietzsche, Mark Twain, Woody Allen, Steve Jobs (among others). If you’ve done this part, go ahead with programs such as Microsoft Biz Park, a service for startup companies, and other similar services. Even though I am not a big fan of them, if you are stuck you can always use an accelerator program.