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Archive for June 2011

International Student Foundation: Our June 2011 Charity Selection

What does it mean to "Age Out?"  At the age of 18, foster kids are removed from the system (age-out) and sent out into the "real world."  After being expelled from the system that served as their surrogate family, these new adults are suddenly faced with an uncertain future.  Loneliness and despair often ensue due to their not being prepared to make it on their own.  This is in stark contrast to students that grow up in traditional families.  They enjoy the support of their family as they transition into being on their own during the college years.   Not so for "aged-out" foster care students.

The International Student Foundation (ISF) is an organization committed to changing lives through education, mentoring and leadership training.  Its mission is to transform orphaned or former foster care students into tomorrow's leaders by providing leadership mentoring as well as tuition assistance through scholarships during the recipient's college journey.

The ISF Team is dedicated to making a difference in the life of each student sponsored.  Recipients of an ISF scholarship not only receive tuition assistance to the college of their choice, but they also receive personal mentoring and leadership training.  When assigned a mentor, each student recipient receives a commitment of time and attention devoted purely to their individual growth and leadership development.


ISF has only been in existence for 10 years, but their early efforts are bearing fruit.  Read about Jeremy, Misty, Thomas, and many others who are ISF success stories.  Believing that every student that ISF mentors becomes a dot of light in their community, by 2020, ISF hopes to have 1,000 dots of light pushing back the darkness in communities all around the world.

Our head of Marketing, Wendi McGowan, nominated International Student Foundation this month after hearing about the organization in April.  “I was at a professional business event and Courtney Carroll, the ISF Executive Director, was also in attendance," says Wendi. "We all had a few moments to speak to the group and introduce ourselves, and after Courtney spoke, not only was I extremely grateful for parents and my solid childhood, I was overwhelmed with an urge to encourage and help support this extremely worthy cause."



App Distribution: The Power &Impact of Asian Economies

While most developers' attention is currently focused on North America and Europe, it may be time for iPhone developers to reconsider Asia.  Although the United States has been and still is by far the largest market, China recently became the second largest market in terms of total download volume.  Furthermore, when looking at Asia, a surge in volume could be observed while concurrently download volumes in France and Germany have been declining since December 2010.

The download volume in Asian countries grew significantly in the past six months in the Apple App Store for iPhone.  While other (Western) countries saw a decrease in download volume during the same time frame.  China recently became the second largest iOS market after the U.S.  The download volume in South Korea is remarkably high despite the relatively small size of the country's population.  Moreover, because the Games category is absent in the Apple App Store for iPhone in South Korea, all downloads are allocated to non-Games, while in other countries, the Games category is, without exception, the largest.  This fact makes South Korea an especially interesting country for publishers and developers in the non-games space.

A comparison of the most popular categories between the U. S. and Asia revealed that there are no significant differences between content preferences.  Hence, iPhone developers could offer the same type of applications in both Asia and the U. S..  The majority of the most popular iPhone applications in Asia is only popular in Asia, but in some Asian countries, worldwide popular applications prevail.  In general, however, localization appears to be key to becoming popular especially when considering countries like China, South Korea, and Japan.  In countries like India and Indonesia, localization appears to be less important.

When analyzing the difference between publishing in Asia and the Western world, Distimo found that paid applications and in-app purchases are not yet popular with and hence, other monetization options have to be considered to become successful in Asia.  The proportion of paid downloads and overall revenue still lag behind that of the U.S. and Europe.  Moreover, while in-app purchases became an important revenue generating method over the last year in many countries, it has not yet in Asia.  Thus, developers will have to look for other ways of monetization, such as advertising, for now and the near future.




The Mobile Era in 2011

We were born to move around and mobile is freeing humanity from the ball and chain that is the PC.  Here's a brief history and how far we've come:

  • In 2006, near 100% of mobile use was voice/phone, email, and text. Now, only 42% of mobile is voice, email or text.
  • In 2007, the iPhone was born with the Webkit browser and advertisers began dabbling in a new medium.
  • 2008 brought the birth of the Apple iTunes store and the mobile app economy is transformed.
  • In 2009, Android emerges and we have numerous platforms and options again.
  • 2010, iPad ushers in beginning of "post-PC" era.
  • So far in 2011, investments in mobile, smartphones and even mobile connected appliances are now "smart" devices. 31% of Americans currently own a smartphone.
  • By the end of 2011, more Americans will have smartphones than feature phones.  Today, 3.6 billion people around the world have a mobile phone. with 91% of Americans using mobile phones.

Now, and every day, a new use for mobile is born.  Facebook, Angry Birds, Pandora, Words with Friends... the device is less and less a phone every day.  Engagement now trumps utility.

  • Microsoft Tag and QR code usage grew nearly 300% in 2011, and they now appear in 62% of top U. S. magazine titles.
  • 78% of smartphone owners use their devices while they shop.
  • 100M Android devices were activated as of May 2011.
  • 200M+ YouTube mobile views per day.
  • 680M+ active Facebook members; over 1/3 use Facebook mobile.
  • 50% of total active Twitter users are on mobile; 40% of all tweets come from mobile.
  • 17.7B app downloads projected for 2011.
  • 86% use their mobile devices while they watch TV.
  • 25M iPads sold to date:  87,000 per day, and almost 8M for Q2 2011 alone vs. 14.8M sold in all of 2010.

Looking forward, 2014 will be the year that mobile becomes the most common way of accessing the Internet.  Welcome to the "Post-PC Era."  However, don't let the name "Post-PC" imply that we will all show up to work one day, overturn our desks in celebration, and go on with our days squinting at tiny hand-held screens.  That's not the future we mean... PCs are important for getting work done.  We still need them, and mobile devices won't replace PCs, but they will exponentially expand the reach of technology into our physical world with new-found utility and meaning.

Three behavioral trends of the mobile experience:

  1. Convenience:  Transform culture and business by helping people get things done more easily and with tangible value.
  2. Context:  Curate and deliver relevant information when you need it.  Location services are continuing to grow.  So, how do you monetize this growth?  Show people the TIME of their life!
  3. Fun:  With mobile, fun in unexpected places will expand in imaginative and meaningful ways and will be more frequently integrated into our lives.

"One of the most important technology trends over the next 3-5 years will be the effort to embed the dynamics of networked gaming into everyday life." ~~ Edward Castranova, Economist



6 Laws of Mobile

Currently, more than 1/2 of the world's population owns a mobile phone, and we are slowly arriving at the point where the world's entire population will live in range of a mobile network.  Mobile phones have become the ubiquitous and indispensable digital devices on the planet.

We are already witnessing the vast changes in society that a mobile phone carrying population brings.  From micro-coordinating meetings to negotiating the streets and shops of foreign cities, the mobile phone has evolved from a relatively straightforward communications device into the hub of power for more than one-half of the world's population.  People are using their mobiles to navigate the ebb and flow of daily life... all just 26 years after personal cellular technology first became a commercial reality.

1.  Value over Culture:  Value of mobile services rather than the cultural environment in which they are developed.  Interaction, entertainment, expression, and transaction.

2.  The Law of the Ecosystem:  The roles of all players (wireless technology, carriers, device manufacturers, platform and content creators) must remain in collaborative balance.

3.  The Value of Time Zones:  Think about the new value of "in-between" time and "golden time" in your busy day.  How does mobile now allow for time to be stretched, bent, and extended?  Ubiquity = everywhere and mobile rules the omnipresent with activities at all times.

4.  Mobile-specific business models are essential to sustain growth:  Companies that curate, package and make sense of content while delivering a brand immersive experience to customers will dominate.

5.  The future is "simplexity:"  Mobile  platforms must be designed for data and linked economics, engagement and communities of interest, participation and social convergence, and above all, service, convenience and context.

6.  The Law of Empowerment:  The vibrant, robust mobile platform allows for one of the greatest impacts on consumer behavior to date.  The mobile platform empowers modern businesses to attract and retain more loyal customers while opening doors for new definitions of security and privacy.  Mobile is literally a remote control for life.





10 Lessons Learned as a Brand Marketer in the Mobile Industry

10.  Evangelize the channel:  Spreading the word to the C-suite of your company that mobile is not a one-off project for a junior marketer.  A mobile strategy, creative assets optimized for mobile, and content relevant to what users want on mobile are top priorities.

9.  Mobile marketing requires you to increase your brandwidth: Think about how you will scale your brand across all possible development platforms, the resources that will require and the strategies that will support an overarching brand position.

8.  Don't expect what you don't inspect:  Generating quality mobile experiences that deliver more relevance to users, our mobile devices are only as smart as the app developers, the device manufacturers, the networks and the brands that create the apps.  Institute standards and checkpoints all along the journey.

7.  Re-ground your development conversation every 10 minutes:  Mobile, and what that means for the user, is changing by the moment.  "Make it iPod simple" should be the mantra... simplicity with a laser-focus on business objectives.

6.  Nail the mobile touchpoints:  Infuse all customer touchpoints with comprehensive brand attributes and remember that mobile is a "reach" vehicle.

5.  Develop brand specific and mission-statement-worthy apps:  Yet realize that apps are permanent reminders of your competency... or lack of it.

4.  Mobile is a conversation that still begins on a phone:  Here's your opportunity to be an asset or to be irrelevant by encouraging the user to do more than talk.

3.  It's their device and you're a guest, so while you're there, behave:  Every time they open the device, you are re-earning permission to be there.

2.  The platform wars are far from over:  The platforms most used by mobile developers are... 60% Android, 48% iOS, 47% Java MT, 45% Symbian, 43% mobile web, 43% Blackberry

1.  They aren't mobile devices:  They're brand value proposition re-evaluation devices.




Recent News

One of Bottle Rocket Apps' latest applications has given a fast-food bird some new wings.

Chick-fil-A's latest version of its mobile app, released last week for iOS, allows customers to order and pay via their smartphone. The app allows customers to use the new features at more than 130 locations, with more expected to roll out in 2015.

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