Thomas Campbell talks to distinguished mobile innovator and Apps World speaker Rorie Devine, current CTO for on-demand services app BIZZBY.
Thomas Campbell: First things first Rorie. Could you tell us a bit about your background in mobile development?
Rorie Devine: Back in 200 I was in the UK press for generating dynamic WAPP content on a phone, which was the first time it had been done in the UK I think. When WAPP came out it was very much little bits of static content you could access, and I found a way of making that content dynamic, so it could reflect what you were doing or what you wanted.
I’ve been innovating in the mobile space ever since. I was CTO at Betfair, where we were quite far ahead of the curve. At one time it was the most used app in terms of genuine money moving around via the mobile app. I’ve been at the forefront of mobile development in my whole career.
Can you tell us about TeamCXO.com?
We’re a network of high impact, interim executives that go into companies to help them deliver major change.
Previously in my career I’d go into new companies and new challenges and felt that what I really needed was some really strong experienced people to come into certain positions in my team and help me deliver my change agenda, yet there was no way of getting that on a short sharp engagement model. I just wanted experts to come in for short period of time to get things done for me but that model didn’t exist. It’s one of the reasons we created team TeamCXO.com if you have a problem with service delivery or something you get a real expert come in for 3-6 months, sort it out and then move on.
I’m currently working with blow LTD. and BIZZBY. BIZZBY is a very successful on-demand services app in London. It brings providers of on-demand services to your physical location, across a number of verticals including beauty, locksmiths and appliance repairs. It has been called the Uber of multiple verticals.
And what have you been brought in to do with BIZZBY?
I’m interim CTO – so, looking to help them scale their business. It’s a scaling challenge for those guys. It’s about more verticals in more locations. They have global ambitions.
I think the technological challenges of a lot of these services and product ideas on a smart phone are underestimated. When you see an app on a phone, it is the tip of the iceberg. Most of the heavy lifting, most of the complexity, is done on the back end platform. There’s an assumption that, if you build an app, that is it. But there’s a huge amount of work that needs to be done, particularly in the on-demand space. If you want an app that can match supply and demand across multiple verticals in multiple locations, with location awareness and scheduling, it’s not an insignificant technology challenge.
Given your venerable experience innovating in mobile, what’s exciting you most about the present?
There’s so much happening: it’s a great time to be involved in this industry. What I really like is just the emerging approaches to help take a little bit of friction out of your life, so the way that both Android and iOS are attempting to proactively inform and help you, based on calendar appointments, based around your regular patterns. It’s very nascent at the moment, but it will get better. These services will proactively do things for you because they know where you are and where you want to be and how you want to get there. It will be a really core part of how we live our lives very soon it think.
Finally, Rorie – you’ve been to Apps World Europe before. What’s your view of the event?
It’s fantastic. Not all events are fantastic but this one is. It’s a serious event for serious players.