What do Developers Dream Of? Fun, Money and Beautiful Machines
At dinner the other night, John Squire the chief strategy officer for CoreMetrics told me that his team is building an API and embarking on that windy path in search of the the communities where those elusive programmers can be discovered.
What’s a good way to attract developers? That was the basic question Squire posed. It was the end of the day at IBM Impact at the Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas and I had heard a lot about SOA, cloud standards efforts and the demand for better automation but hardly a word about developers.
Before I left IBM Impact, I took some time to listen to a Forbes pannel session about trends in the corporate world. I asked about the developer equation. How do developers fit in?
He basically said that Apple has a moderated app store for the IOS. Get approved and you can get paid for your app. Google Android lets any app be part of its app ecosystem. Microsoft is watching Apple and Google.
In summary, Apple, at least for now, has the best business model. And that’s why developers are attrracted to it. Apple provides developers with a path for making money.
After chatting with Wang, I made my way to MIX11. I ran into Michael Cote of RedMonk and asked him about what Wang said. He agreed that the concept at Apple is that a developer can make a six figure income. The reality is that few actually make that kind of money. But the other part of this is the fun involved. You have to like working on computers. It’s an investment for developers. A MacBook Pro, iPhone, iPad and any number of other accessories can be costly. So, it better be fun.
Developers do love those beautiful machines. But they also love the work. So as much as the business drivers are important so is the lifestyle.
You can see that in the excitement for the Kinect SDK that debuted yesterday at MIX. Kinect is like a door that opens us to the world of gestures, the Internet of Things and augmented reality. In Wednesday’s keynote, we saw how a recliner could be made to move by waving your hands. Developers get Kinect. It’s fun, a bit mind boggling and the user base is scaling fast. That’s an equation for big success in the developer world.
Morten Rand-Hendriksen writes:
The Kinect not only makes your entire body an input device but also has the capability of taking voice commands meaning with the right application in the background it can do away with any other user interface. I can’t quite put into words how exciting this is. And to kick off the innovation every attendee at the conference got their very own Kinect to take home. Pretty cool. So expect an avalanche of crazy new user experiences using the Kinect once the developer tools are released in May.
I don’t think there necessarily has to be a busiess driver. There’s a hero factor. The CEO gets its when you show how the phone buzzes. That hero making creates value for people. You (the developer) are going to be asked to do new things. We want people to build fun stuff.
Now it is Thursday morning and I am back home, thinking how having fun, making money and beautiful machines fit with the developer community.
The CoreMetrics story is a good one. It’s about aggregating retail data, providing a unified data analytics methodology for improving marketing efforts. Now, it’s just a matter of convincing developers that the business model is relevant and to some extent, fun to use and apply.