Sophie Kovic is a southern hemisphere friend of mine, and one of the nicest people you could meet. She’s also a gangster photo appreneur. The fact that she lives in one of the most beautiful places in Australia doesn’t make me at all jealous! She is a specialist in photo apps and has had great success with them in the app store.
When Elaine asked me to do a guest post, I had no idea what to write. I thought about what I could bring to the table for her readers and it struck me that the one thing Elaine and I do not have in common is technical expertise.
As someone from a non-tech background, I got into apps from the ‘outsource everything’ mindset. This has left me in the strange situation of owning a software company with little actual understanding of coding or software internals. It’s not something I normally talk about as a lot of the people in the industry look down on this type of operation. In fact, when Stephanie and I were attending an app conference in San Francisco recently, a fellow appreneur asked us which language we program in. I have to admit we looked at each other quizzically and replied, “Is X-code a language?”
I have no idea how to upload a binary, and I don’t have X-code installed on my mac. I don’t know what an SDK looks like. But you know what? That’s ok, because my company does fine and we are making good money. I am free to look at the broader picture and not get bogged down doing things that can be outsourced. In fact, due to my selective blindness on the subject, I can’t get caught up in the small stuff.
And so for any of Elaine’s readers who may feel overwhelmed by her technical smarts and feel like they can’t or just don’t want to learn it all, it’s OK, it can be done by purely outsourcing everything. It’s just a choice you make. Most people would call my limited coding knowledge a disadvantage, but in a way I believe it helps me stay focused on working ‘on’ the business, instead of ‘in’ the business.
Learning to focus on the bigger picture, and freeing time up for more learning has been one of the things we have been striving for at Applause.
We have a small team run primarily in the Philippines, a project manager to keep them on track, and another manager here in Australia. There are also two of us, Stephanie and I, both running the company. Even with all this, we still feel we get bogged down in minutiae.
We try to be as productive with our time as possible by focusing on our top priority for the day each day, instead of all those little seemingly urgent tasks. We believe that the less we actually have to do each day, the more productive we can be. So we read articles online, check up on what our app buddies around the world are up to, and continue to market research to make sure we are staying current with our ideas.
We outsource as much as we can, which now includes creating detailed files, manuals and tutorials for our employees, so they can learn directly from that, which frees up time that would otherwise been spent training.
As time goes by we are learning more and more but overall we know there is so much out there and we will never be able to learn it all. But we do know how precious time is. It’s something to never take for granted.
So for those of you out there who are inspired to make apps but feel your technical IQ is holding you back, don’t worry. Everything is figure-outable and what isn’t can be outsourced!
Great insights Sophie, thank you. Outsourcing is the biggest, most important thing you have to do if you want to 1) grow your business and 2) become a business owner with ‘free time’, rather than someone working in your business 24/7. Thanks Sophie!
What do you think? Are you tech savvy? Do you think its important to be tech savvy in this industry?
Let me know your thoughts in the comments.