Episode 7: Listen How Oliver Saylor owns 2 mobile app companies and manages more than 15 freelancers to get things done faster. He also shares a simple app store trick to quickly boost your downloads. Don’t forget to grab the freebies he gave away on AppFresh.us, plenty of high quality iPhone 5 placeholders on all imaginable angles. Perfect for animations or presentations. You won’t find this anywhere else!
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, so today I have an amazing guest, his name is Oliver Saylor and Oliver does mobile app reskinning. Hello Oliver and welcome.
Oliver: Hello Yohann and thanks a lot for having me here!
Yohann: Excellent, so tell us a little bit about yourself and your background and how you came to be in this mobile app flipping industry.
Oliver: I’m a 25 year old guy living in Copenhagen in Denmark. About 6 months ago I got my Bachelor degree in information management.
Oliver: Thanks! That’s a programme on communication and technology on how to manage that in organisations. I guess in the summer of 2012 I got into apps. I found this ebook online on how to create apps with no programming skills which sounded like something for me. I think I had the iPod Touch at the time and I was having a blast getting new apps on it and stuff like that.
Yohann: Do you remember what is the name of this ebook?
Oliver: No, unfortunately not. I can try and dig into it though.
Yohann: Ok, if you could, let me know anytime and I will put it in the show notes. appsfresh.com
Oliver: I will try get that for you. It was pretty good. A good place to start. So basically I just jumped right into it after reading this ebook. I didn’t really know much about what I was doing though. I didn’t do very much research on apps like I do today. I just tried to find something that I thought would be fun to create and went for that. It turned out everything kinda sucked. The programmer kept delaying and progress was very slow. Then in spring 2012 I found this systamatic approach to running an app business and this was through a book by a guy named Chad Mureta.
Yohann: The App Empire right?
Oliver: Yes app empire, that thought me a lot. What I learnt from that book helped me with the foundation of the app business. Yeah, that’s kinda my story how I got into apps.
Yohann: Ok so I have checked some of the games and apps you have on iTunes and I see that you have a lot of them already. Do you know exactly how many apps and games you have reskinned?
Oliver: I think I have 18 apps out in total and all of those apps have a free version and a paid version where the paid version doesn’t have any ads in it. It is a good way to get maximum investment because you get double the apps. Every once in a while I like to make the paid app free. All these websites online they will track apps when they have price drops.
Yohann: They have like robots that are waiting for this to trigger an event and it alerts people to say that there was a price drop. That drives extra downloads.
Oliver: I have a friend, I haven’t had huge success with this price drop yet, I have a friend who just told me yesterday actually that he had an app that got like 200 downloads a day then he made it paid then he made it free again after a while and then it just spiked up to 80,000 downloads in a few days.
Yohann: 80,000 downloads that’s amazing! Definitely that probably boosted him to the top 50 of games right. Why do you do a free and a paid app and not do a freemium which is like a hot trend you in a sense that you create one free app and then you do IAP inside ?
Oliver: My free apps serve as the freemium app. The 2 apps are pretty much identical they have the same IAPs. The only difference is that I disable all the ads in the paid version.
Yohann: Ok yes I get it. That is very interesting because that never crossed my mind, usually I only do a freemium model I never think about say ah you know I already have all the resources lets put it in the paid apps.
Oliver: Yeah, it’s like you get an extra app for free.
Yohann: Absolutely, I’m going to have to steal your idea I’m telling you.
Oliver: Go ahead, everyone listening go ahead because even if you don’t get the success if you make it from paid to free you just get a few extra paid downloads which is not bad.
Yohann: Any extra money always helps. Do you mind sharing some download numbers across all your apps and games?
Oliver: Yeah ok, actually at the moment I am working in my second company. My first company I ran that with a good friend of mine for about a year. We have 880,000 downloads.
Yohann: You guys were almost close to getting a million. Excellent.
Oliver: I have a million combined. My new company has been running for 1.5 months and I have 146,000.
Yohann: Wow you rock! Oliver: Thank you!
Yohann: I’d like to focus on one of the games you have been reskinning, I have looked and you have lots of racer games and some skater type of game right?
Yohann: Which one would you like to focus on? One that was not too hard to reskin and that brought you some decent profit.
Oliver: I think something good to talk about would be Vector Ninja Dash. It was quite a simple game and it was low cost as well.
Yohann: So tell me about the game it’s a runner game right
Oliver: Yeah, we got the idea from every time we wanted to make a new app we would go to the app store and research and see how everything is going and what is currently trending and so on to get an idea of what people actually wanted. So we found this game called vector which was a very popular running game. And we just decided to go with that theme but with ninjas in our game.
Yohann: How do you do your research about what’s trending and what’s not? I personally look in the top 200 in games or in apps in a certain category. Is there anything you do differently from me?
Oliver: No, not really. I like to go into the app store either on my mac or on my iPhone. Especially on my iPhone actually and just browse through the different top charts.
Yohann: Ok, glad to hear we have a similar tactic.
Oliver: I think the more frequent you do it the more grasp you will get on everything.
Yohann: Ok so when you guys had the idea for Vector Ninja Runner what was the next step you guys took it was you and your friend right, you guys were working together on it.
Oliver: We were doing all the research, we were doing the guide and the features and how it should look and everything but none of us knew how to design or how to programme. That’s one
thing I learned how to do from the book by Chad Mureta. Is to outsource the things that you’re not great at. So we outsourced programming and designing. We used oDesk to find our people. So basically we made a document on how we wanted everything to look and play and told them to get started.
Yohann: Was there any low moment in the process of making the game in the sense of working with the programmer and the graphic designer how long did it take and was there any hiccups?
Oliver: Hiccups occur really often I think but it depends on who you work with. The guys that I had on this particular project were really good and I think we finished it in about a week actually. I think we paid 350 dollars for it in total so it was a super cheap project.
Yohann: So you are saying you got the whole game finished the programming and the graphics in about a week?
Oliver: Yeah Yohann: Wow
Oliver: Just to clarify we bought the code on a website so we send that over to the programmer and had him add the graphics.
Yohann: Oh I see you guys did not do a whole game from scratch. You gave the programmer the source code and basically he had to tweak it to make it your own.
Oliver: Yeah exactly. It was a reskin.
Yohann: Do you remember what the original source code was called?
Oliver: I think it was cave runner.
Yohann: Cave runner, ok.
Oliver: Yeah it was super cheap. It was like 16 dollars.
Yohann: Wow, where did you find such a deal?
Oliver: Maybe it was www.sellmyapp.com I can look into that afterwards.
Yohann: Ok, I’ll add it to the show notes. No problem. Ok now lets talk about the number of images. Do you know how much effort you had to reskin graphic wise?
Oliver: In this project we had 450 images.
Yohann: Wow 450.
Oliver: Yeah that’s quite a lot.
Yohann: I’m surprised that you paid that little money less than 400 dollars.
Oliver: Ya, the vast majority of those, because there was a lot of animation, you have the guy running really smoothly requires a lot of images.
Yohann: Ok, that makes sense.
Oliver: But to me it I just wanted a good deal with my designer but to me it’s complicated. He’s just sitting with them so it’s his responsibility.
Yohann: When you are dealing with animations there is some extra animations that deal with software to pack your files and compress your animations in one file things like that can become a pain. Ok how about the audio, did you change the audio or did you just use what was already with the source code?
Oliver: We had 13 mp3 in the code . It’s pretty easy it’s something I do when the programmer hands me to the code back I go in there and change the audio files. You can use sites like www.audiojungle.com they have a bunch of cool stuff in there.
Yohann: Ok now lets talk about extra features with the game. Did you have to deal with anything like IAPs or gamecenter or any network?
Oliver: No IAPs in this code because it was so simple. I think we considered adding one ourself. A simple one for removing ads but we never did but you could easily do it.
Yohann: Was there any gamecenter involved with that at all?
Oliver: No none in this one either. It was pretty, there was almost nothing in this code. We used revmob and chartboost for ad networks. That’s basically what we added.
Yohann: Would you reuse this source code again or have you reused it again?
Oliver: I’m not sure really. We actually used it one time prior to this game. On a game called Slenderman Escaping because we wanted to a slenderman theme. I think we have a 150 % ROI but it was like a really cheap game so I think I would deem this code to be a little too simple. I’m looking to scale up my business I need to find a bigger game.
Yohann: When you mean bigger game are you going to go to 3D type of games?
Oliver: Actually I’m working on one game in unity 3D, it’s my first 3D game and it’s still in the assembly end of the scale. Even though I’m looking to scale up a bit I’m still looking at little cost development.
Yohann: Yeah, step by step, now you are already moving to 3D, depending on how it does you are just going to keep moving up. Tell us a little bit about those projects. Where do you see yourself in 6 months from now?
Oliver: My biggest challenge at the moment is really putting together a really good team of designers and programmers. As I said I’m in the process of scaling up my business so I’d like to do more projects at once. And I want to do bigger games. In 56 months from now I should be able to more consistently put out good apps.
Yohann: Now you are saying you are trying to hire more people to scale up. How are you going to do this. Earlier you said you hire freelancers. Are you still going to go this way or get people that just work for you.
Oliver: No I still on pay per project. It makes more sense to me rather than to pay monthly. I have 15 people now so that would be a lot of salaries.
Yohann: I’m sure you must have so many issues dealing with loads of freelancers sometimes they’re not going to put out the quality you wanted or be available when you wanted them. Can you tell us some of the problems you had to deal with?
Oliver: Yeah, it’s time consuming. I had a maximum of 4 people at a time. Now I have people texting me on skype all of the time. Also if you go out and hire 5 or 10 new people even though you think you’ve interviewed them well you will come across some of them that are difficult. It’s an on going process. If people aren’t working unfortunately you have to tell them it’s not working out you will go home and keep looking for a new one until you have this great group of people to work with.
Yohann: Ok, how do you handle so many people. Do you use some type of software to help you remember what your status with every single one of them.
Oliver: I use skype for communication and I use my reminders app on my iphone I just type in if one of my designers tells me can we add this image in the code or not I’ll make a reminder in my app so I’ll remember to ask my programmer if we can do that. That’s 2 tools a lot.
Yohann: Ok, well that has been an amazing insight into flipping apps thank you very much how do we get in touch with you?
Oliver: Facebook Oliver Saylor or Twitter as the same name, and in the apps store is under my
Yohann: Ok, thanks for everything. I believe you have a freebie for our audience so go ahead.
Oliver: I think one of the important things is marketing of the app, how great is your icon and how great is your screenshot.
Yohann: Yes you absolutely right, in the app industry it’s all about cosmetics so icons, screenshots are top priorities!
Oliver: So what I’ll share today are a bunch of images of the iPhone 5 that I like to add in photoshop when I create screenshots. You’ll get a bunch of images high resolution of the iphone 5 from different angles so you’ll be able to tweak it to exactly how you want.
Yohann: Ok great I’ll put that on the site under your podcast. Oliver: Thanks for having me!
Yohann: My pleasure, thanks for all those insights keep in touch and good luck with everything you are doing.
Oliver: Thanks, you too!
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.
Follow me for latest app reskinning news: @yohann305 (twitter)