On Friday I went to a talk titled Building Mobile Products given by Mick Johnson, the Director of Product Management at Facebook. The talk was held at a university in Sydney, and was essentially a series of tips that would be useful to budding founders.

The two takeaways for me were the first and final points he made.

His first tip was:

Build a product that you want.

He clarified that this might seem obvious, but if you’re not building an app that you’d want to pull out of your pocket 10 times a day, the rest of the population probably won’t want to either. It reminded me of Dan Ariely’s talk on What makes us feel good about our work - in other words, we value those things we have invested time in much more than other people.

At the end of the talk, I asked Mick:

Once you’ve had your big bang launch, and been relatively successful, how can you maintain user acquisition?

Here is a (paraphrased) response from MJ.

There are really only two ways to do this. Firstly, you can buy them, and secondly, you can buy them.

In the first case, you spend money on advertising and marketing.

In the second case you can spend money making cool new features and updating the app regularly with nice new designs.

A tip for you is to focus on a subcategory of your users. Maybe you split them by location, e.g. only target people in the UK, and then target people in France, etc.. Alternatively you could target age ranges or any other metric you can think of.

The whole talk was very interesting, and if you can find a recording of it, I’d suggest watching the whole thing.