Earlier this week I attended an iPhone Dev Camp in Calgary, Alberta and got a chance to meet up with the organizers, Michael and Camille Sikorsky. Michael is the CEO of Robots & Pencils (Calgary iPhone Developers), a programmer, an investor and an entrepreneur. I was able to sit down with him to get his insight on the iPhone, the app store and even Android.

[Manoj]: Tell us a little bit about Robots & Pencils and what you guys do?

[Michael]: Our name comes from the fact that I'm a programmer - hence the "robot" and Camille is the artist / designer - hence the "pencil".

Robots and Pencils is a multi-faceted mom and pop operation. We create software, consult, teach and angel invest and we're inspired by the 37signals ethos, doing more with less, maintaining your independence and doing what you love. Read more here.

[Manoj]: You recently held an iPhone Dev Camp in Calgary, tell us about your experience with that and the importance of creating a community locally?

[Michael]: The DevCamp (iPhoneDevCamp 1) was really an honor to be a part of. It takes a village to make a great DevCamp and the people who came out really put their heart into it.

Camille and I believe in the importance of the community for many reasons, but the I think that inspiration and learning are the two we try to cultivate the most. It was amazing to see the transparency of the presentations. People gave away sales figures, tips of how to get into the Top 100... basically, everything. We left inspired to do more and thankful for all that came out!

[Manoj]: You've developed numerous mobile apps now, which one stands out the most for you and why?

[Michael]: For us, it is still CrushFactor. It is has held it's 4-star rating and every time we get an email telling us how it helped them meet someone we're always super proud. The comments on the art / design have also been over the top and super kind.
On Itunes: http://itunes.com/apps/crushfactor/
On R&P: http://hq.robotsandpencils.com/factory/crushfactor/

[Manoj]: What types of iPhone apps do really well in regards to downloads/sales?

[Michael]: Well, the games & entertainment space is about half the iPhone monthly sales in the AppStore, but it also means you have the most competition. We think the most important aspect is to build something people want and failing that, scratch your own itches :)

[Manoj]: What are 2 or 3 good tips that help in getting your app approved by Apple?

[Michael]: Tip #1:- Follow the interface guidelines. If you use the 'lookup contact' icon for adding a new row, you will be rejected :) See details here.

Tip #2:- Don't use foul language :) CrushFactor originally used the word 'bum', but we had to change it to 'bottom' to get accepted.

Tip #3:- Don't try to mimic a feature of the iPhone. Re: Google Voice.

Tip #4: Read this: http://stackoverflow.com/questions/28551/tips-for-a-successful-appstore-submission :)

[Manoj]: One non iPhone question, how will Android influence the mobile/app market in the next 1-2 years?

[Michael]: Our crystal ball is blurry at best, but... what we think is really amazing about Android is the openness of the platform. By definition, that makes it something to keep a really close eye on.

p.s. we're google super fans :)

October 21, 2009

Manoj has been in the Digital marketing industry for over 10 years with experience at some of Canada's largest companies: WestJet and Shaw Communications. Manoj first started in the search marketing industry with Enquiro Search Solutions, where he spearheaded web analytics, SEO Training and the development of cutting edge search marketing solutions for clients. Manoj is also an entrepreneur in the Mobile and Local Deals space.

Manoj is a Professional Speaker having participated at events such as Web Analytics Congress (Amsterdam), Emetrics, Web Analytics Xchange, WebTrends Engage, Internet Marketing Conference, Social Media Innovation Summit and Search Engine Strategies. He has also contributed to several leading online publications such as: Search Engine Land, Marketing Pilgrim, WebProNews, Search Engine Guide and the Web Analytics Assocation.

He founded and successfully sold Web Analytics World (a top 100 Digital Marketing Blog – http://adage.com/power150) and was voted #39th Most Influential Digital Marketer in North America – 2009 (see: www.Invesp.net)

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