How to be a solo entrepreneur? Amos from MOZE: Resources are not the only emphasis for a startup
“The mobile App industry is dying?”
The mobile App industry once was the hottest and the most popular start-up business among industries. However, in recent years, the App industry seemed to be announced the death penalty. Until last year, there were more than 1.21 million types of Apps available in App Store, but yet, not a single development team, including those with sufficient resources, is confident its team is able to survive for a long time.
The Most Efficient Way to Level Up – “Fight Alone”
Amos, who had no App development experiences before, stepped into the field of App startup on his own. He at first launched App called 加油小幫手, and then another paid App called “MOZE” – an App that is commonly seen in the App market. It is probably a challenging and lonely path for most startups in the App field, but as to Amos, he believed that this is the best way to learn and gain experiences. “It took around a half year for me to develop MOZE – from planning, designing, developing to launching. Since I am a solo team, which means that everything has to be completed by myself. I played various roles in the team, including the App design, market research, the test and plan of App’s functions, UI/UX designs, program writing, website designs, marketing and etc. Every task is a new experience for me,” said by Amos.
A solo startup in Apps development industry is, however, struggling and challenging sometimes for an independent developer. This did not defeat Amos, however. Amos said, “If I face some challenges, I can always go online for answers. There are many different App development groups and forums that gather all App developers together so that we can discuss Apps problems with each other.” Moreover, after the launch of MOZE, unexpectedly, Amos received many feedbacks and suggestions via emails or comments from MOZE fan’s page nearly everyday. Many users not only assisted him to find bugs, but also proposed many new functions for the App. “By interacting with people in social networks, I met many MOZE fans from different places. One of the MOZE users is from Brazil and he even offered to translate MOZE into Portugal language for free!” said by Amos. It is surely a lonely path at the beginning of startup, but in the middle of the path, many people actually work on it together surprisingly.
In the interview, Amos was asked about his purpose and thought to develop a “non-special” or “commonly-seen” App, and he responded, “This could be a good chance for me actually. The purposes on deciding to develop a “budget-planning App” are: the demands from the market and the maturity of the market. In the paid-Apps ranking in App Store, top 10 Apps in the finance category are mostly related to budget planning. Sometimes in the overall Apps ranking, we can even see that few budget-planning Apps are ranked within top 100 too. Even though every budget-planning App is more or less similar, someone out there is not satisfied with any of them for sure. Therefore, I focused on UI/UX design of the App.” Like game Apps, in which the new-launched Apps are always added some new factors to attract users, the unique interface and user experiences of MOZE are able to distinguish it from others.
Resources Are Not the Whole Part for Startups
As an independent App developer, he admitted that the most difficult task for him is marketing. Marketing is not like programming that can be learned from the books, and particularly, due to his startup status, he has no resources for marketing. But Amos believed that as long as his product is perfect, he is confident that his product will be promoted via Internet without any marketing cost, of curse, if he has enough luck.
“The entrepreneurial environment and resources in Taiwan are probably not as complete and mature as in Silicon Valley in the U.S., but I don’t think these are the whole part of startup business. Ideally, if a start up has enough resources, they can concentrate only on the products itself; however, even without sufficient resources, real entrepreneurs will always have plan to accomplish their goal on their business” – Amos.
The effect of having a team is definitely better than being a solo entrepreneur, but from Amos’ perspective, because of the unavoidable responsibility, he learned different new knowledge in various fields which pushed him to grow faster than other startup. “I would suggest people who are interested in startup try to learn new knowledge in the beginning process as an independent entrepreneur. This experience may be struggling sometimes, but it will definitely become a strong backup to your future team,” said by Amos.
It is just an introductory stage for MOZE and it is up to the market to decide its popularity. But for Amos, every lesson he learned from MOZE development will become his secret weapon for developing the next product, building the team or professional training. Currently, Amos is still refining the function and UI/UX of MOZE and at the same time, working on the next new App with other teams.
No matter the App development industry continues to prosperous or falling, only those who has been through Apps development can personally experience it. Even though the overall entrepreneurial environment is not as good as in Silicon Valley, many resources, including Business Angel Fund, Taiwan Startup Stadium, and Startup Hub has been provided in Taiwan in recent years. We can see the dawn of the excellent start up environment in Taiwan soon. PunNode is here to introduce stories and updates of App developers in Taiwan, and we welcome everyone who is interested in this field to contact us for more information.
The introductory video of MOZE:
中文版連結Cover photo via M.G. Kafkas@flickr, CC License