Greg Taylor

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How to build an app in eight steps

12:56AM | Wednesday, 10 December

I wouldn’t have to work another day if I received a dollar for every time someone told me they ‘had an idea for an app’.   And I'd live like a king if I got one for every time an aspiring 'apptrepreneur' buckled when I asked: What is the commercial model, how are you going to finance it, and do you know how to make an app?   Apps are like restaurants, the customer doesn’t see all the prep that happens in the background before they are presented with the final product.   Out the back is the kitchen. It holds all the ingredients and the chef knows how to make the perfect combination, communicate it to the waiter and present the final product. When an order is placed, the kitchen checks the order is in the right format, i.e., the hamburger is on the menu that day and they have the stock to make it. The chef then proceeds to create the product and deliver it in perfect condition.   A patron does not see any of this; ideally, they see a pretty menu at the table in the restaurant and receive the perfect product in a few short minutes from placing the order.   Despite being the founder of two apps, I am not very technical. So I’m going to explain to those who are like me, what it takes to build a good app.   Three tips before we start building:   Apps cost a lot of money to build, maintain and expand functionality. So be prepared to keep funding or find funding very quickly!   You don’t need impressive revenue figures from day one to get the big guys interested, but you do need a clear model on how your app is going to make money. There are some extreme outliers to this, take Facebook’s acquisition of WhatsApp for $20 billion as an example. However, this isn’t a definite, so ensure you have a very clear plan on how your app is going to make money!   There are various parts to building an app and you might need several people to do so. You need someone to build the app (an iOS and Android version) and someone to build the ‘backend’. The backend developer builds the database, which is what the app talks to, and works in a specific technical language such as .net or Java.   Steps to building an app   1. Developing the idea Firstly, ask yourself if your app is solving a problem. So many apps I’ve seen have been based on great ideas, but don’t solve a problem anyone has. Test the idea with friends and ask for honest opinions. This can be tricky because your friends don’t want to put down your idea, so honest feedback is key here.   2. Research Imagine you spent thousands of dollars and months of time to develop an app that you soon find already exists. It would suck! Do your research, talk to people in the space, and be sure no one else is doing the same thing.   3. Have a business plan Treat your app like a regular business. What is your business model, plan and strategy on how it’s going to make money?   4. Work out costs You need to be financially prepared, or at least be sure that the cost of building your app can be loaned. You should develop a very detailed handle on how much the app is going to cost to build. Some very basic apps can cost over $100,000.   5. Sketch it Lay out what you anticipate your app to look like and what you want it to do. A road map is a great way to visualise every step of the app and how it interacts. Here is the very first wireframe of Clipp and next to it the version 1.0 of the app.   6. Build the backend Here’s the part you might need to outsource. You can look into app development studios like Project Create. There is also always the option to get an app developer on the team and offer a stake in the company.   7. Develop the consumer-facing skin Once the app’s backend is finalised, it’s time for the fun stuff! What do you want your users to see when they open your app? What is the personality and voice of your brand? It’s a great idea to start with several ideas and develop your favourite from there.   8. Test it and have others test it Your app needs to work, and the best way to find out is by putting it in the hands of people who don’t know a thing about its development. You’ll quickly find out what’s wrong with it! It’s very important you continue to evolve your product, watch people use the app and ensure it’s intuitive, we made some big changes to Clipp 2.0 from 1.0 which made a huge difference to our conversion rate.   Hopefully this will give you a starter’s guide to building your app. If you have any questions, hit me up on Twitter @mrgregtaylor.   Greg Taylor, creator of eCoffeeCard, and creator and co-founder of Clipp.co, the bar tab app. Follow StartupSmart on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

Apple iPhone 6 release: Australian app developers and startups react

9:54AM | Monday, 22 September

Apple has now released its iPhone 6 and 6 Plus smartphones in Australia, and the near inevitable crowds are – once again – lining up around the block.   So what does the news mean for Australian software studios and app developers?   Is this likely to be an “insanely great” development that will boost revenues and sales for local startups? Perhaps it will mean more headaches for developers? Or will this mean less than some would anticipate?   We asked a number of developers and entrepreneurs to find out:   Clipp co-founder and chairman Greg Taylor   It looks like a bigger iPhone 5s – but with some amazingly beautiful and innovative new rounded edges!   The best part for Clipp is Apple Pay. Apple Pay will provides our customers with another payment option to credit card and PayPal, the major benefit being customers not having to enter their credit card, overcoming any concerns of credit card security.   Apple Pay will be a huge driver to mobile payment adoption, which is great for Clipp.   Anytime Apple releases a new iOS, I get very nervous, particularly a major release like iOS 8. There is a strong history of many apps not working on each major release. I have already received an email from a widely used app this morning warning customers not to upgrade to iOS 8. Apple don't give developers much time at all from releasing the final version until consumers can download it. If something does not work, there is not enough time to fix it, test it and put it through the App store approval process (approximately two weeks) prior to it hitting the market.   Tapit co-founder Jamie Conyngham   The fact that NFC is in the iPhone 6 is a huge reversal for Apple, and we are super excited by it. As recent as 12 months ago TechCrunch reported that Apple was never going to take NFC up so we're really glad to see it's there.   The fact that they have put it in for payments is amazing for the industry and we are already feeling the shock waves. People now understand that everything is going to be NFC payments in a short amount of time. We have been waiting for the banks, credit card companies and retailers to begin educating the mass market about NFC for payments for a while, as it was always going to be a big driver for the technology so it will be a great opportunity. Organisations are finally realising that NFC services are coming and they are all going to start planning for it.   Unfortunately, it won't be available for other great NFC applications like tag reading/pairing and apps for about 12 months. In the meantime, Tapit will continue working with open NFC partners like Samsung to improve and innovate on new ways to use NFC, as well as executing bigger information and advertising projects. Tapit will also continue using beacons and QR for Apple users in the meantime as well.   Outware Mobile director Danny Gorog   “iPhone 6 and iOS 8 are an incredible opportunity for Outware. Many of our clients including ANZ, Telstra, AFL and Coles are excited about the new larger displays and the added flexibility that iOS 8 provides. We’re already well underway to ensure our clients apps are fully iOS 8 and iPhone 6 compliant.   As specialists in large scale finance and insurance apps, we believe the new NFC capabilities in iPhone 6 will change the mobile payment landscape and the way Australians want to pay and shop. Australia has one of the highest penetration rates of tap and go terminals in the world so we are a perfect fit for this technology.”   Squixa chief executive Stewart McGrath   Devices like the iPhone 6 are a response to the consumer demand for easier access to more content. In the last four years, the average webpage size has nearly tripled while average connection "speeds" have only doubled. This is putting great pressure on website owners to utilise better ways of delivering increased content to these devices but still maintain a quality user experience.   The challenge to keep pace and make use of the attributes of these devices is now being pushed back onto website owners. Higher resolution screens mean images need to be sharper and improved processing capacity means laggy web content delivery is more noticeable for a user.   We expect the consumer demand for content to grow at an exponential rate and platforms like the "six" are the hardware manufacturers' answer. The pressure is on website owners now for sure. The ones who are responding are setting themselves apart from their competition.   Will Heine, Wicked WItch Software   Again the new iPhone launch has been very successful, so there will be more iPhones in the marketplace and new consumers that can enjoy our games like Catapult King. As well as more users, the new devices are again more powerful, which allows more advanced features of our game engine technology to run on mobile and tablet devices, resulting in improved graphical and gameplay quality in all of our upcoming titles.   Follow StartupSmart on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

Clipp to get the Microsoft treatment

9:42AM | Thursday, 18 September

Australian mobile payment startup Clipp has appointed former Microsoft executive Todd Forest as its new chief executive.   The startup, which describes itself as Uber for bar tabs, has experienced rapid growth this year and is now used in 270 venues across the country.   Clipp’s co-founder Greg Taylor told StartupSmart the decision to bring Forest on as chief executive came about after examining where the business was at and where it needed to be.   “The first step is sitting down and saying what do we do really well, what areas we are lacking in and where we need help,” he says. “Everyone should be doing what they do best. For some co-founders it can be difficult to let the reins go a little bit but that comes down to who the candidate is.”   Taylor says bringing onboard external, experienced talent can make a startup more rounded. For Clipp, the priorities are improving the point of sale as well as getting venues and consumers on board.   “As we head into that space, Todd’s experience fits really nicely and positions the business really well as we head into that second phase of growth,” Taylor says. “It’s an opportunity more than anything to work under and work with someone with that level of experience.”   Australia’s geographical distance from startup hubs like San Francisco has not stopped local startups from building strong relationships with international talent, according to Taylor. The most important thing is that the new team member fits with the startup’s culture. For example, earlier this year Guy Kawasaki joined Sydney design software startup Canva.   “Cream rises to the top and if there’s a good business and there’s a good business model there will be a natural attrition into that space,” Taylor says. “The world is flat in that regard.”   In a statement, Todd Forest said he was looking forward to cementing Clipp as Australia’s go-to mobile payment solution.   “I join Clipp at a time when the mobile payments space is beginning to heat up,” he said. “2014 has been an incredible year for Clipp and we’re looking to continue that momentum right through to next year with some product updates and other big news which I can’t wait to share with you all.”   Follow StartupSmart on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

Last call for bar tabs? Clipp has a shot

6:14AM | Wednesday, 25 June

The introduction of pin-and-chip regulations for credit card purchases on August 1 threatens to do away with the traditional pub bar tab forever.   Under the new regulations, signatures will no longer be valid as a method of payment confirmation. This means publicans won’t be able to charge the credit cards of patrons who leave without closing off their bar tab at the end of the night.   The situation has created a big opportunity for a new Australian app named Clipp, which looks set to cash in on a market that has suddenly found itself thirsty for new pre-authorisation and payment systems.   Its co-founder, Greg Taylor, has experience in the area, having been the co-founder and chief executive of mobile coffee card loyalty app eCoffeeCard, a venture he sold to Beat the Q earlier this year.   Taylor told StartupSmart his latest venture “is like Uber for bar tabs”.   “You don’t need to hand over your driver’s licence and credit card. Instead, you download the app for iOS or Android and connect your credit card through PayPal. It integrates through the bar’s point-of-sale system to your phone, which has a tab number,” Taylor says.   Taylor says the app allows customers to split a bill, close off a tab without needing to flag down a waiter, or leave a tip.   “For corporate hospitality, this is perfect. One of the big challenges is for people who have to record expenses. The great thing about Clipp is that a tax receipt is emailed directly to the customer” Taylor says.   The startup has already signed up 140 venues, including The Argyle, Mrs Sippy, The Lobo Plantation, Martin Place Bar, Gin Palace, and Bar Ampere.   According to Taylor, the app has even gained the attention of Woolworths-controlled ALH Group.   “ALH is the biggest group to trial the app. It recently finished a pilot in some of its venues in Melbourne…They own 250-odd venues and it needs solutions in terms of pre-authorisation,” he says.   “The reason why that trial was successful was because of operational efficiency – it’s about 20 seconds quicker for them than the alternatives.”

eCoffeeCard keeps loyalty cards together

5:19AM | Tuesday, 8 May

For those people weighed down by public transport passes, loyalty cards and gift vouchers, help is now at hand in the form of eCoffeeCard.

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