Don't be a Tool. Use a Tool.

Written by: Erez Rusovsky

4 min read

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If you’re reading this, then you’re either developing a mobile app, planning to, or in the mobile app development business. But what is developing? Developing is the implementation of an idea, and the reason you’ve decided to invest your time and skills in developing your idea is probably hope. You think and hope that your idea will appeal to many people. You hope that they will see value in your idea and become your users. One day, even paying users. You probably already know that an idea is never enough. This can’t be news to you. Everyone has ideas, and some of them are even great ideas. Similarly, a lot of people can develop, and some of them are even great developers. So why is it so hard for a great developer to transform a great idea into a product that will appeal to many people? Don’t think it’s hard? Don’t believe me? Then why are 51% of mobile developers below the “app poverty line”, as defined by “Developer Economics”? The latter metric means that 51% of mobile developers created a product that doesn’t appeal to enough people for them to make sufficient revenues. Some of those apps might not be user-friendly, some might not have been promoted correctly, and some might just be based on bad ideas, bad implementation or bad business models. Either way, if an app is below the poverty line, then we can probably determine that as a business that aims to be profitable, it has failed.   RCA (Root Cause Analysis) defines failure as the “problem”, and in order to define a “remedy”, one must first understand the “cause”. My theory is that most developers don’t understand how people use their product. That’s the “cause”, and it’s based on understanding the “symptoms” (not user-friendly, poor promotion, bad implementation, etc.). To remedy the problem, you can use developer tools. These tools, provide you with insights on how people use your product. Thus providing you with the knowledge of how to improve your product. In my blog, I aim to prove to you that this theory is correct.   There’s no magical “how to make a great app” guide that guarantees success, and there probably isn’t one right way either. But there is magic in the data. I definitely consider myself a data driven person, and what I read from the data is that you should be using more developer tools if you want your product to appeal to people. By using developer tools, you learn about your product and what your users are doing with it. With that knowledge, comes the ability to constantly push your product in the right direction. And when you constantly improve your product, you create value for your users. Then, creating value can be leveraged to increase your revenue (regardless of your revenue structure).   If you consider the average salaries developers tend to make across the globe, it doesn’t really make sense that only 37% of iOS apps make monthly revenues larger than $10K. Anything under, is not sustainable for a professional business. Something clearly isn’t working. Thus the industry is starting to wake up and is undergoing a slow but major change; apps are shifting from focusing on monetizing to adding more value for users.   There is a direct relationship between using tools and success. When integrated, tools can provide you with valuable data (insights) on your product. It’s knowing how to actionize the data, that will help you improve your product. Crash reporting tools log crash events. User analytics tools log user events (buttons clicked, actions performed, etc.). A/B testing tools & beta testing tools help you validate your features (if and how they’re used). The more you study your data and understand what’s actually going on in your app, they more you’ll understand what needs to be done and how to improve your app. If you create a better product, it attracts more users. More users provide you with more feedback which helps you yet again keep improving your product. This iteration repeats and repeats till you’ve finetuned your app and sculpted a masterpiece.   If your masterpiece provides a great user experience and people see value in your product, then you’ve nailed it. The trick is to make small changes to the product, validate and then iterate. Invest your time in installing tools, and invest even more time in learning from the data that they’ve generated. This is my message to you, and I hope that I’ve convinced you of how developer tools can help you. Let me know what developer tools you use, and how key findings lead you to perform changes on your product.

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