Episode 6: Meet Austin Church, owner of BrightNewt.com, a company that sells the famous iOS source codes such as Mustache Bash, Viva Stampede or Fast Laugh Jokes. Listen how he got there and what he’s got in store for you next!
Podcast Episode Transcripts
Welcome to the mobile app flipping podcast, this is your host Yohann Taieb. My goal is to help you to get the most out of reskinning apps. Whether you’re already a full time entrepreneur or trying to get a business going, this podcast is for you. We will be interviewing professionals that are already doing app reskinning for a living. We will also invite source code sellers to get to learn about what they have to offer and finally we will talk to industry experts to learn how to become more productive at flipping apps. Now, without further ado lets get started!
Yohann: Ok, today I have an amazing amazing guest you’re gonna love this one, his name is Austin Church. You probably haven’t heard his name but he is the man behind the great reskinnable source code out there. So please welcome with me the legendary Austin Church.
Austin: Thank you Yohann! I hope to eventually hope to earn the title legendary.
Yohann: Ah c’mon you already have it, you’re the one with Mustache Bash, Viva Stampede, Random Facts generator and some crazy ones out there. Thanks for providing such great source code for our audience. Thank you!
Austin: You’re welcome! I’m glad that people have used this stuff and have been able to make some money doing it.
Yohann: Excellent, so tell us a bit more about yourself. Who are you, what’s your background and how did you get into this industry?
Austin: Well, I have 2 degrees in English, I thought I was going to be an English college professor.
Yohann: Oh, you come from pretty far man.
Austin: Ya, so I finished my masters and got out of school and had a conversation with my Dad, a very frank conversation where he said we have to cut you off. You need to get a job. So what I did was I got a job as a copywriter at a marketing firm. I was writing web content, blog posts, press releases, brochures anything you can think of and I got laid off 6 months later. And that was 5 years ago.
Yohann: Ya 2007 2008? Austin: Yeah April 2009. Yohann: Tough times.
Austin: So, the economy tanked, then I started freelancing. I built up my business. In 2011 I went to a conference where I got into a mastermind group with a guy called Trey Smith. Started thinking more about apps because a lot of the friends I made in the group got into apps. In
September 2011, I thought it well it can’t hurt to actually storyboard an app, that’s not going to cost me money. But of course as you know the more time you invest in something the more you care about it and the app that was born out of that whole process was Mustache Bash. I hired a programmer in December 2011, we started working January and finally published it in April 2012. The rest is history I guess.
Yohann: Excellent, tell us about your source code. How many do you have for sale right now?
Austin: I have 6 source codes for sale right now. There are some other ones in the pipeline. I’ll keep them top secret just to create a sense of mystique in this podcast. The 6 I have for saleright now are in different categories because what has created reliable income for me has been diversity. A lot of people only focus only on games. I think games have that roller coaster ride when it comes to revenue and profitability. That’s great especially if you get a big spike in revenue. I started out with photo apps then reference app and entertainment app by the time I got into games I had wider experience so to speak. I realised hey having some diversity in your app portfolio actually helps create a more consistent earning.
Yohann: Yeah spread your eggs the web becomes bigger and you have bigger sources of revenues. We had a guest on a prior episode. His name is Vlad. He’s killing app flipping in the medical field.
Austin: Ya, there’s all sorts of niches out there. As the number of people creating apps grows the same thing that happened with the web will happen which is ok I need to find a niche and then dominate that niche, people are doing that with websites and using SEO to help rank number 1 using affiliate links to earn an income. I see the app eco system is heading the same way. Where rather than just created a game and hope that zoo lovers out there, you do something like medical apps or reference apps, or even if you love barefoot running or fly fishing I think people will look at their interests and build apps around their interests to make money.
Yohann: Thanks for this great look into the future. I appreciate it. Now, ok so I think most of your source codes for sale are on iphone and ipads only why not android?
Austin: I am developing Mustache bash for android and it’s 98 percent finished, so my tester sent back feedback which I handed off to my programmer yesterday and so once we implement whatever changes the tester suggested that code will be finished we’ll just publish it and we’ll be off to the races. You know, android is catching up to ios in revenue.
Yohann: And if we follow the statistics at some point android is going to take over.
Austin: Absolutely and they’ll have the market penetration too, there are so many android devices around the world. Honestly, it’s not like Microsoft is not going to roll over and let google and apple have all the mobile space so windows phone is not going anywhere.
Yohann: It’s just a matter of time microsoft has the weapons to get their share of the market type of thing.
Austin: Windows phone users spend more per capita on apps than android and app users. Nobody is talking about windows phone it’s not the trendy thing.
Yohann: It’s not hip.
Austin: Right. There are probably some windows developers out there doing very well and they don’t want to tell anybody because they will spoil their own party.
Yohann: It’s funny that you say that I read an article on a guy making 30,000 a month on his game on windows phone.
Austin: Think about where the iOS app store was 4 years ago. You didn’t have oversaturation. If your flash light or fart app or run tracker app there weren’t a lot of other options. You didn’t have the competition that’s where the microsoft store is at the moment. A lot people aren’t talking about it.
Yohann: Dude, as soon as I’m finished this episode I’m going to start programming for windows phones.
Austin: I wish you much success, I think it would probably be easier to carve out a slice of the pie there than in the iOS.
Yohann: Maybe, but I’m not going to give up on the iPhone market. Austin: Do both or do all 3.
Yohann: Ok, I’d like to focus on one of the source codes you have for sale. The one that I really like is the candy crush inspired ones. It’s called viva stampede correct. Basically it’s a match 3 type of game. Is there some type of documentation or any walkthrough that is provided with the source code?
Austin: Yes the source code comes with step by step instructions for reskinning the app. I talked it over with the original designer. I own the game and the code but I hired I guy who lives with me in Knoxville Tennesse and he’s really talented and he basically agreed to hand over all the design assets so once I finish with the iPad update because right now the code is iPhone and iPod only and were in the final stages of iOS7 update then the iPad update and once that’s all finished I’ll be giving the iPad photoshop files with the source code, to help people with the graphic design. So, you know anytime we package up a code we try make it as easy as possible for people to use. There always going to be issues. Someone using an old version of xCode or somebody testing on a device that doesn’t have enough memory or somebody trying to work on a PC which usually doesn’t produce the best results. For the most part the code is ready to go and easy to work with it’s got an Objective C game engine so you don’t have to bother with Cocos 2D.
Yohann: So it’s native, excellent. You wouldn’t be bothered with any other framework you need to add to the code.
Austin: There’s fewer moving parts. I think those frameworks can save a lot of time depending on the project but also means there are more things to break if you change things. It’s all xcode objective c it’s more robust.
Yohann: How about the game mechanics and game replay value. I know candy crush is really addictive, users may play dozens of hours if not hundreds of hours. How about your source code have you seen something along those lines?
Austin: Yeah, we’ve seen lots of user retention. People like the match 3 style game it’s a one gesture game you can play with one finger. You think about the games that have been the most popular. Angry birds has been that way, temple run, candy crush is that way. They are simple games. Candy crush is one of a kind Kings other games haven’t even come close as Candy Crush.
Yohann: I read an article on the pet game they made. It’s doing good but not as good as Candy Crush.
Austin: I mean there was a moment in time, you can’t out angry birds. It was the first mobile game that became a household brand if you try to replicate that your apps going to be derivative. We kept that in mind and tried to wanted to create a simpler match 3 style game which was a lot of fun. If you’re an indie studio you don’t have the budget. We tried to do as good as we can to create a fun game to bring people back. People who downloaded it were playing it everyday.
Yohann: Yeah for sure Id expect candy crush functionality will cost millions of dollars to get this source code.
Austin: It was on facebook before iOS so the power of having I can’t imagine how much they spend on servers. But to provide that continuity of user experience from facebook to ipad to iphone. Is it HTML too?
Yohann: I’m not sure.
Austin: I’m not sure too. You can play it a bunch of different ways, they’ve done an incredible job and they deserve it.
Yohann: Lets come back to your app. Personally when I flip apps something I like to know is how many images there are to reskin before starting. I want to know how much it is going to cost me
before I hire a designer. Do you have an idea on the hands of display and graphics assets?
Austin: Yeah, I mean there are a lot of graphics in the game but at the same time anyone who is reskinning it knows what they’re getting into in advance. I’m happy to share the assets it’s just a spreadsheet that shows all of the graphics that goes into the game. The good news is we ask people to create new character art and backgrounds but otherwise people are free to use the sound effects and user elements. A lot of the graphics are reusable.
Yohann: Some people could go the lazy way and just reskin what is needed to create a new look right.
Austin: Right I think it depends on peoples goals for their app business. People are trying to get apps out fast and they don’t emphasise branding. My team always want to make apps that create an impression with a color palette and nice design. We’re going to put extra time and resources into branding. You know there’s a whole spectrum out there and viva is a source code that is if you want to get your feet wet and want to put out a game you could keep costs to a minimum and have a game that is fun to play or if you want to spend money and create a one of a kind you can do that too.
Yohann: OK, something I want to know is. Is that using gamecenter?
Austin: The iOS 7 update includes gamecenter. It will include highscores for the timed mode and levels mode. It got social sharing. If you get new high score it will give you the option to share on facebook. So, that kinda cool people care about what their friends of scored. The viral aspect of candy crush has made it so successful.
Yohann: Very competitive.
Austin: So ya we’re including some of that in the update and that could be ready tomorrow depending on what the tester says.
Yohann: Cool, early November or mid November we should have those updates right?
Austin: Ya it could be tomorrow it could be Saturday for the iOS7 update. As soon as that ones finished we are going to add iPad support. My programmer told me it will take him a week to add iPad support so I would love it if it was the middle of November we could offer that for sure.
Yohann: Good to hear, how about analytics some people like to know how to tweak it. Such as flurry?
Austin: It’s got flurry integrated and it’s got banner ads. Yohann: So it has the monetization included…
Austin: Yeah its got in game currency setup with tokens. It’s integrated with playhaven. Between levels the player gets to accept 100 tokens for passing the level and they can buy power ups or via in app purchases.
Yohann: Monetization through IAPS and advertising. Lets talk about prices. You’ve got the single app license where you can only reskin it once and you have to multiple app licence where you can reskin it many times. What are those prices?
Austin: Right now, 249 for single and 379 for multiple. To put it into perspective we’ve got 430 development hours into it. So you can do the math. If you found a programmer for 20 bucks an hour you’re looking at over 8,000 dollars.
Yohann: It’s a no brainer. It’s pretty much free. You’re going to make your money back.
Austin: Yeah, I mean I got started in January 2012 and I wish someone came to me before I built an app from scratch and said hey why don’t you see if there is a photobooth app out there that has the functionality you’re looking for because after I created mustache bash I found that there were apps out there. You live and learn.
Yohann: Absolutely, see now you’re not making the same mistake again. You are teaching people and selling code so they don’t have to go through this pain.
Austin: People ask me how much money can I make with this source code. I don’t know have you ever seen avalanche mountain. That source code didn’t do too well. Personally I know this developer that did a reskin and it went to number 9 free overall.
Yohann: It’s not all about game mechanics it’s a whole work that you have to put into it such as keywords what trendy the graphics and the icon. It a job you know it takes skill and mastering.
Austin: Yeah, I agree. I think you do have a lot of people who are looking for the silver bullet and think apps are the next big thing so they get into it and they hope to be lazy and to make a lot of money being lazy and I’ve found the people that have been successful with apps and successful with just about anything they had chosen because they work hard, they come up with a smart marketing plan you know they get to know people and they help them and answer questions the biggest thing I think is to find a community of indie developers who can offer you encouragement and share resources oh you know which ad company has the biggest eCPMs right now…oh well were using this one you know so you’re not.
Yohann: You’re not alone, you’re not excluded in your corner not knowing what is going on. That’s pretty much what this podcast is all about you know getting all those people together and sharing knowledge.
Austin: I mean I’m totally behind that, I’ve had tough spots and the successful people say Oh ya man I’ve been there you just need to keep on going and they were right.
Yohann: Sometimes you hear those successful people saying keep going it’s a way of life and a state of mind you gotta put yourself into it, you know it’s very hard sometimes you never see the end of the tunnel everything is gloomy and dark then you just take one hit and everything is going smoothly.
Austin: Yeah, one guy I’ve followed at different points in time a guy named Seth Goden who’s in the marketing world you know he calls it the dip and what happens is if you make it through the dip you’ll end up meeting some of your goals. It should come as no surprise that a lot of those breakthroughs come after the most challenging times in your business and if you give up you never give yourself a chance to meet some of those goals.
Yohann: Now I have a killer question. Why should people go with your source code instead of other ones? What makes your source code so special?
Austin: Well, all of them a built from scratch granted we use some third party libraries, if we find some basic functionality out there it makes no sense to build it from scratch. We do try to give credit where credit is due if we do use other peoples code. That being said a big part of it is good documentation and good support now granted I get 50 100 emails a day so…
Yohann: Yes, I am a witness of your support, a friend of mine needed help with one of your codes and I saw that you helped him with. It was something I could have done but he went straight to you first. Definitely you really helped him out there. And I thank you for that.
Austin: Well, I’m happy to do it, I appreciate my customers and I like to take good care of them with that being said there is no polite way to share a truth which is teaching yourself how to do things and taking initiative is a lot more important than doing it the fast way. To explain that a little bit my assistant wanted to know how to reskin apps and he realised that if he came to me and asked me a question he was going to be depending on me to answer all of his questions. He
was never going to grow past what I myself knew. Yohann: I totally agree with you, absolutely.
Austin: And so, for us yes we want to balance and give people support and help with troubleshooting but at the same time…
Yohann: they gotta do their part..
Austin: right ya, one of the things that has made me successful is that I’m a self starter and almost to a fault, sometimes the shortcut is identifying someone who knows more than you and asking that person a question. At other times if you have a longer view of business and off
success the shortcut is asking a different question so rather than asking who can help you the quickest can ask can I help myself?
Yohann: Right, can I do it on my own first?
Austin: Can I do it on my own because if you teach yourself how to do something on your own it’s going to stick with you and developing those practices and habits of trying to answer your own questions and take initiative and go out and find those resources these days you can teach yourself how to do mostly anything on the web.
Yohann: That’s right. You can use google and if not you can ask a question and you will get an answer in the next hour.
Austin: I try to share that with people as often as I can. Rather than always look to someone else to help you.
Yohann: Yes like you said you have to get into that habit of getting stuff on your own. This will pay back for sure.
Austin: I mean the idea is, I’m hoping most of my students will surpass their master. I’m not doing a very good job if some of the people who license the source codes from me are not significantly more successful than I have been.
Yohann: I see, it’s a pretty new industry, as time goes by I expect to see some amazing results out of people using your source codes.
Austin: It would make me glad.
Yohann: I’m sure some of the people that I am going to invite on to the show will already be using some of your source code and going to have great success in the near future.
Austin: Well you know a rising tide floats all boats. I’m more a fan of collaboration than I am of competition.
Yohann: Helping each other it’s a win win situation. I know you are short on time so I am going to try cut this down a little bit. Is there any type of book on the business side or the source code side anything that you would like to recommend to somebody that is starting in the app flipping industry?
Austin: 2 books that I read when I got started were App Savvy by Ken Yarmosh, I connected with him on Twitter he’s a nice guy and he looks at more as, he’s not talking about the reskinning game he talks more about doing your due diligence researching your great idea before spending a penny so I really like the way he thinks about that. You can have to best app of it’s kind but if
you do not have a hungry crowd it’s not going to be successful. So the other one I read was App Empire by Chad Mureta.
Yohann: Yeah, we’ve had lots of people talking about this one.
Austin: It’s a good book, the thing I’ve used more than anything from that book is questions that you ask while interviewing programmers. And I’ve used those questions quite a bit and like anything else if you’re looking for a fool proof recipe or plan there is no book out there that has that because the eco system is evolving too rapidly.
Yohann: That is what somebody in the comments had earlier that his techniques are a little bit obsolete but the state of mind behind it is still actual.
Austin: I couldn’t agree with that more, what’s important is the tactic is a mindset of always being open to innovation. Being an avid reader, trying to stay up to date on the latest marketing tactics.
Yohann: Now I have to ask you about any internet resources you have to recommend. I know you have been working on something lately, please talk about it.
Austin: Well, I have a marketing background so when I got started in apps it just made sense to me to market my apps because you don’t just put something out there in the world and cross your fingers and hope for the best.
Yohann: Not much is going to happen if you do that.
Austin: Not much is going to happen. It might of happened a while back when there weren’t a bunch of competing apps but these days that if you have an app out there chances are that there is one similar to it and sometimes it is the app that is marketed the best that wins. So I set out to write a marketing guide I got started back in July, it’s going through everything like ok how do you choose keywords, should you just use keywords that get searched for a lot or should you use keywords that don’t have a lot of apps competing for them. The trick is the balance between the two. Another one is I found people are not aggressive about getting reviews and reviews factor heavily into apples ranking algorithm and so the more reviews you have the better your app ranks for certain keywords.
Yohann: It’s like a vicious cycle you know so you know the more reviews you have to more people are going to download your app and the more downloads you have the more reviews you are going to get so it’s like a hurricane it keeps pushing you up.
Austin: That’s exactly it but it goes through what a marketing plan looks like and it shows some tools that I’ve used along the way. For example I have kept an up to date master list of all app related resources available online. So at this point that list is like an excel spreadsheet, it’s got over 200 entries in it. It got everything from templates and great screen capture for apps, it’s a
comprehensive list there’s not a more comprehensive list available and there is some other stuff that I have created along the way. I’m excited to eventually share it with people.
Yohann: Ok so we know that you have all those great source codes and you are one of the best in the industry so what are your next goals? You got the source code part up to pretty much to T. It’s working great and smoothly. How do you plan on expanding?
Austin: That’s a good question, first of all short term goals are finished the source codes that are already in the pipeline then after that I need to create a better website where all of these resources can live, you know there’s www.brightnewt.com there’s my marketing and consulting business is and there’s source codes currently live in terms of sales pages and that sort of thing. Then there is the marketing guide that is finished and I’ve handed off to the designer. We’ll probably launch that in late November but then there’s app flip alerts which you know about which is an automated little service which is free right now where people sign up and get an alert whenever a new code is uploaded to one of the source code marketplaces.
Yohann: I subscribed to it, right now it’s in beta so its free.
Austin: It is free I have gone back and forward to whether or not to make it a subscription service but I think we’ll keep it free for at least the next week or two. But then there’s all sorts of other stuff I got planned, there’s a lot of people that get into apps that don’t have a strong understanding on the business model. I haven’t talked about this much but I do custom development for clients. So people than want apps created come to me, they don’t want to be developers themselves they basically want me to hand them a product.
Yohann: Cool, so somebody would come to you and say hey I have this idea I want a mobile app or game that does this and that and you make it happen.
Yohann: Alright, very thanks for everything. Now if my audience wants to get in touch with you how do they do it?
Austin: www.brightnewt.com that’s the easiest form I’m on twitter sometimes. I would offer my email but that’s the slowest. I’m currently living under a mountain of email. Normally I’m not that difficult to find. You’ll hear back from me or my assistant Tyler who’s a nice guy and he just wrote a blog post the other day on what it was like to do a reskin knowing absolutely nothing so ya I’d love to hear from people go to www.brightnewt.com
Yohann: Excellent, I can tell you this interview was legendary I appreciate everything you do for myself and the whole audience out there. Is there anything else you’d like to say?
Austin: I wish everyone much success, like we said earlier keep at it it’s persistence that pays
Yohann: Thank you so much take care. Austin: Thank you, you do the same Yohann.
Yohann: One last thing before we go, go to www.appsfresh.com/mountains to see the source code and buy. Also any questions and comments can be there. I personally have taken a look at some of Austin source code and they’re amazing. Viva Stampede, now it may not be for all of you guys. It requires some level of maturity from you guys. I give it a reskin level of 34 out of 5. If you want something easier check out my course on udemy on Reskinning an App in one day without coding.
Thanks for listening to the mobile app flipping podcast. If you find this podcast interesting please subscribe on itunes and leave us a review and sharing is caring so spread the word. You can follow me on Twitter @Yohann305. Also come to appsfresh.com you’ll find all the episodes show notes and resources to make you more productive. See you at the next episode.
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