But getting meaningful inside information from entrepreneurs is exceedingly difficult

But getting meaningful inside information from entrepreneurs is exceedingly difficult

While their missions, businesses and stories are very different, they do share a remarkable number of similarities that have propelled them to great success

be useful, the best and most powerful advice is from those people who have actually achieved billion-dollar success in the mobile-app world. There are two main reasons for this. The first is that the people building great mobile businesses today are spending every moment of their time doing just that, leaving no time for anything else. The second is that many great entrepreneurs (but certainly not all) are rather coy about sharing too much information about their businesses in case they divulge something that might help their competition gain the upper hand. Personally, I think there is a lot more insight to be gained by actively sharing and soliciting advice than protecting any individual insights I’ve come across. It’s hard enough building an average company, let alone a billion-dollar one. What I’ve sought to understand – and distil into this book – is what differentiates the truly great companies from run-of-the-mill, good companies. I focus on the most spectacularly successful apps – those that have achieved billion-dollar exits, or have undisputed valuations at the billion-dollar level. If you’re an Android or iPhone user then you’ll already be an avid user of some or even all of them: WhatsApp (the messaging app), Viber (another messaging app), Square (the payments service), Angry Birds (the now ubiquitous game), Uber (your on-demand chauffeur), Instagram (the socialphotography app), Waze (the mapping and social-traffic app), Clash of Clans (the ridiculously popular game from Supercell), Candy Crush (the ‘sweet’ game from King), Snapchat (the messaging app where your messages disappear after seconds), Flipboard (the app-based social magazine) and Tango (yet another messaging app). This list is growing all the time, so for the most up-to-date information, visit mybilliondollarapp. In this book I focus primarily on mobile-first companies – ones that have pure mobile DNA. Why? Because being mobile-centric is a different and entirely new way of thinking – and is possibly one of the biggest business opportunities in history. That being said, there are a number of other billion-dollar technology startups that began as websites or even desktop applications. There’s clearly a huge amount to learn from them, not only from the way that they have

It’s all a bit much to keep track of

adapted to the mobile world, but also because they are great examples of modern companies that have grown from ideas to billion-dollar powerhouses by developing better products, great leadership, constant innovation – and, above all, superb executionpanies such as Google, Facebook, Skype, PayPal, eBay, Amazon, Pandora, Dropbox, Box, Groupon and Evernote fall into this category. Concrete steps The world of mobile technology is exciting – and daunting. The mobile landscape is constantly changing: every week seems to herald the arrival of a new mobile device – from smartphones to smart watches, to tablets, to phablets (that’s a combination of phone and tablet). We’re also bombarded with new flavours of mobile software – Android’s candy-store options include KitKat, Jelly Bean and Froyo. Apple’s iOS software is yet different and based on numbers – iOS 5, iOS 6 – and the latest one (at the time of writing, anyway), iOS 7, seems to adopt a rather candycoloured colour scheme as well. No need to worry payday loans in North Dakota, though. I’ll lead you through all the things you need to know. Part I starts by exploring what has caused technology to become so mobile so quickly, and why the biggest, most exciting opportunities in commerce, communications and gaming are happening on mobile apps. I’ll look at why this shift was inevitable – and the social, cultural and psychological impacts it will have. It will demystify mobile technology so that you can grasp why these changes are happening – and be in a better position to anticipate what the near future will look like. Part I will also consider what it means – and takes – to think big. Entrepreneurs don’t trip over and fall into billion-dollar businesses: they see big problems, very big problems that frustrate lots of people, and then create elegant solutions. They do this through a combination of disruptive thinking, solid execution and management of complexity. These solutions are the basis of businesses with huge potential. This section will give you the tools you need to validate whether your idea has billion-dollar potential (and how to adjust it if it falls short). Part II will guide you through the journey of building a billion-dollar app. There are five key lifecycle steps. The steps map to challenges that need to be met and solved to create a great product, a great team, a great business model and a great company overall. I loosely align these steps with valuations and

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