Randy Peterson speak about app developmentOur very own Randy Peterson was asked to speak about app development at the University of Massachusetts Lowell campus last week.

Organized by the Merrimack Valley Venture Forum, the evening was titled “Developing Apps: Bringing Apps to Market”. Featuring Randy as the keynote speaker, it also showcased ten teams of UMass Lowell computer science students. The teams displayed their application development projects during the networking portions of the program.

Student projects included an online learning site for assigning and turning in homework; a Twitter analytics tool; a web-based musical audition studio; and many more. The projects represented a semester’s worth of work for the aspiring developers.

Learning about bringing apps to market

UMass Lowell students at mvff

Randy covered a number of topics during his keynote.

  • Zco’s History: Tracing mobile and non-mobile technology back to Zco’s first year, 1989, Randy explained how mainframes, servers, desktops, laptops, personal digital assistants, and smartphones all influenced Zco’s development services. Workers huddled around green- and amber-colored terminals to access mainframe data, he said, represented the same basic model as today’s mobile devices sharing information in the cloud.

  • App Marketing: Building a great app is one thing; bringing it to market is another. Randy went over some of the essential ways of spreading the word about one’s app. Using examples such as PublicEye and several customer apps, he explained the benefits of trade shows, paid advertising, shareable content, and social media.

  • Monetization: Many famous Internet companies built their empires without earning a penny at first, but eventually making money becomes important. Randy detailed some of the intricacies of ad networks, paid downloads, and in-app purchases.

Randy also fielded questions regarding the founding of the company (by a former Digital employee who’d just sold another company to Paul Allen), different marketing strategies for different kinds of apps, and the process of developing an idea into a fully functional application.

Many thanks to UMass Lowell and MVVF for putting together a great evening!

Randy Peterson at UMass Lowell mvff

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