Pocket App has grown in to the UK’s largest mobile app developer and notes Coca-Cola, Microsoft, Samsung, & Panasonic, among their list of illustrious clients. Paul Swaddle is a Co-Founder and Chairman of Pocket App and has helped the company grow their multi-device offering to a market leader. At the forefront of the market for 15+ years, Paul has seen it all and in the lead up to his session at Apps World London 2016, we managed to grab him for an exclusive interview.
Can you tell me about yourself and your position within the company?
My name is Paul Swaddle and I am Chairman at Pocket App, the UKs largest independent app developer.
In terms of my background, I’ve been working at the leading edge of mobile technology for over 15 years now and co-founded Pocket App in 2010 with the aim of bringing the creative and technical development elements of mobile technology together under one roof.
Having been in the industry for a number of years, and having built up an extensive amount of industry knowledge, I now speak regularly at events and offer thought leadership on app development, mobile trends, and business.
I recently acted as a mentor in the Mayor’s International Business Program, spoke at the University of Kent’s App Development Conference and was also lucky enough to be headhunted to appear as a guest judge in the final of the 2015 BBC Television programme, The Apprentice.
How have you coped with the experience of growing Pocket App from a startup to a competitive app development company?
It’s been a fantastic journey and one which has enabled us as a team to service some very interesting brands and build business solutions across a wide business range.
We started out like most fledgling and innovative organisations with a small client roster, but now we have been privileged to work with some of the world’s largest and most recognisable brands such as Coca-Cola, Samsung, W Hotel, the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, Adidas, Epson, NHS and Phillips.
What advice would give to a startup in the mobile ecosystem?
Other than come to Pocket App for us to help them?
I think a key priority is for the organisation to carefully consider their app or solution and think about what the purpose of that is. This all may sound very simple and self-explanatory but all too often we find that people try and do too much, whereas the most successful products usually only concentrate on one or two key areas.
Are people talking full advantage of the technology that mobile apps have to offer them?
It’s very interesting that you should ask that, as many of our clients are incredibly interested in maximising the benefits of cutting edge technology. Contrary to that though we often advise against rushing into the edge cases as it is infinitely more important to ensure that your app is suitable for your specific, core mass market.
An example of this is the smart watch. I, myself have been a smart watch user for 18 months now but this is still not mass market. So with that in mind, would I advise making an app specifically for the watch market? That would have to be totally dependent on the organisation doing its due diligence and looking to see if their users are likely to interact with their app via that device
What is the key to driving continued app engagement?
Relevance! Like all media, if you send stuff that is not relevant people will take umbrage with it, however, if it is relevant to the consumer they will naturally want more.
This goes back to one of my earlier answers where I said that it’s about understanding the purpose of the application. It is essential that it adds value, whether that be fun, news, ability to purchase etc.
Pocket App will be returning again to Apps World 2016, what are you most looking forward to about attending Apps World?
I’m most looking forward to meeting up with existing and prospective clients. I’m also hopeful that this year there will be better engagement through the Mobile Leaders Summit, which is something I’m very much looking forward to speaking at.
What topics do you expect to dominate at this year’s Apps World?
I expect yet again that unfortunately, Ad Sales / In-app marketing engines will dominate the show – I know we spend time avoiding them.
It’s strange as we see it very differently in the marketplace as we haven’t built an app that includes those ad engines in the last twelve months or more. This is probably reflective of the usage our customers put their apps to. Many are internal tools for staff or sales team engagement, business process improvement tools, or consumer facing apps for brands that are not looking to monetise their app through third party ads.