App Empire: Make Money, Have a Life, and Let Technology Work for You (Book)

So I just read the book: “App Empire: Make Money, Have a Life, and Let Technology Work for You” and must say it’s an amazing book! I learned a lot and will try to implement some of the parts in my own life as soon as possible.


If you want to buy the book here you can get it here. (Strongly recommended!)

If you just want to read the parts which impressed me most you can find below a quotation. It’s a bit long but believe me it’s worth it.

Here you go.

Quotes from the book: “App Empire: Make Money, Have a Life, and Let Technology Work for You”


Chapter 1

What this book will teach you:

  • Tune your mind for success
  • Make an insane amount of money, while working part-time
  • Outsource nearly everything, so you can enjoy your lifestyle
  • Work with people who can do the technology side of things, so you don’t have to
  • Make your product crazy attractive, so people love to give you money
  • Partner with other who can double and triple your profits
  • Create a sustainable app business
  • Live life on your terms

Mobile is king!

Your gold mine needs to be supported by a solid foundation: a positive and focused mindset and the skills to understand the market and grow your business.

Chapter 2

Create a Golden Mindset

Tony Robbins taught me to ask on a deeper level: “What kind of life do I want to live?” “What’s important to me?” “How do I want to express myself?” “What do I want from making money?” “What’s my mission?” These kind of questions made me think about business and life in a different way, weeding out the junk and giving myself true alignment.

  • Know your “Why”
    • Be specific. Make it emotional, something you would strive for, and create your compelling future now. Relate your outcome to something tangible.
  • Faith/Optimism
  • Passion
  • Attitude
  • Plan
  • Flexibility
  • Leverage/Outsource
  • Presence/Focus
  • Synergy: 1+1 = 1,000,000

Chapter 3

Gathering Intelligence

As with any business, your success will be directly related to your understanding of the marketplace. The App Store is the marketplace of the app business so to understand the market your have to understand the App Store.

The more time you spend with apps, the better you’ll understand the common traits of successful apps and what users are looking for. The more you think like the customer, the greater your success will be. You need to be an app addict if you want to be a successful supplier. The mindset has been the lifeblood of my success.

When looking at the market, these are some of the questions to ask:

  • Why is this app successful
  • What is the rank and has it been consistent
  • Why do people want this app (look at the reviews)
  • Has this app made the customer a raving fan
  • Does this app meet any of my needs
  • Did I become a raving fan after trying it
  • Does this app provoke and impulse buy
  • Will the customer use it again
  • How are developers marketing to their customers (screenshot, icon design, description etc.)
  • What else can I learn from the company that created the app
  • What is the competitive advantage of this app

Every second you spend with an app is part of your market research, which will make you more savvy and knowledgeable as an appreneur. Even as your business grows keep learning about new apps.

Without users finding your products, no sale can occur. Customers have two ways to find an app: through keyword search on the App Store or through browsing its top charts.

The Impulse Buy

It’s easy to act on impulse if instant gratification is only 99 cents and a five second download away.

In the consumers mind, spending 99 cents is not a big deal and doesn’t require much contemplation, especially when people have purchased a relative expensive device like a smartphone.

Hooking the Customer

My tests conclude that you have to show consumers value within 30 seconds, or they will most likely exit your app and delete it forever.

Traits of Successful Apps

  • Fun/Entertaining
  • Intuitive
  • Engaging
  • Addictive
  • Value
  • Cross-cultural
  • Great graphics and sound
  • Viral

Chapter 4

Don’t Fall in Love with your Idea

Make time for market analysis every day. This will help you generate the most lucrative ideas.

Avoid advice from anyone who hasn’t had any success in the app business.

Learn from Existing Apps

Most inexperienced appreneurs spend far too much time trying to be original, when what they are looking for is right in front of them. Get curious and see what other successful developers are doing. You should spend time figuring out why their apps work, read user reviews, and collect data.

Whenever you decide to look into emulating an app, ask yourself these six questions:

  1. Why are people purchasing this
  2. Can I do something to emulate this idea and take it to another level
  3. What other apps would this demographics like
  4. How many other similar apps are in the market
  5. How successful and consistent have they been
  6. How does their marketing and pricing model work

Think about how to take the same concept to the next level while continuing to attract the same demographic. Write what improvements you would make. Would you add a new feature? Change the look? Add better graphics and marketing? How would you give users more value?

Look at more than one competitor. Download all of the successful competitors of this app.

Chapter 5

How to Hire Great Programmers

Programmers will be the foundation of your business and allow you to create apps quickly and scale easily, which will allow you to remain the captain of your ship.

What to look for in programmers

  • Experience
  • Communication
  • Team
  • Pricing
  • Conflict of Interest

Chapter 6

Marketing Basics to Attract more Buyers

Here is the formula for app succcess:

Effective Marketing = Traffic = Downloads = $$$ = Happy Business Owner


The icon is important because it’s how the users will identify with your app. It should capture the essence of the app. It must look good, attract the user’s’ attention, and compel them to investigate your app. It’s the visual ID of your app.

App Title

Your title should be exciting, snappy, trendy and catchy.


Having a compelling description for your app is like having a great opening line. The first chunk of your description needs to be packed with information.


Screenshots are great marketing tools because they give a snapshot of what users will experience using your app.


As you can see, keywords are important because your target demographic will use them to find your apps.


How do you know your marketing is working? ANALYTICS!

Chapter 7


Tracking app rankings is something that most developers neglect because they think they have no control over it. That couldn’t be further from the truth. Your ranking are an important metrics when it comes to assessing your app’s performance, and you can improve your rankings through various marketing techniques. I’m constantly focused on getting my app ranked, and once they are in the charts, I keep close tabs on their rankings. If I see an app slipping in the charts, I immediately focus on it and figure out why that’s happening and what can be done to raise the ranking.

User Activity

The only way to know if your users are loving your app is to track the user activity within your app. The nice thing is that it’s easy with Flurry. You can track anything, such as how many times a button is being touched or how often the app is used.

Using stats to your advantage

You must test each one of your changes individually so you can determine which changes are actually effective.

One of the other questions I often get is, “How long should I test a tweak?” When you tweak something to make it better, measure the results for about one week before you make other changes. You’ll see quickly if your improvements are producing results.

Cutting your losses

After you’ve tried to improve your app and it’s marketing elements based on the suggestions mentioned earlier in the chapter for three to four months, it’s time to move on and focus your energy on a different app. Like any relationship or investment, cutting losses is difficult, but it’s vital for you and your business.

Chapter 8

Your App Network

You can create a single app that can do well, but when you create additional apps and link them to each other with cross-promotion, you’ll move towards your app empire’s full financial potential.

The app network is so vital that few if any app companies can be successful for a long period of time without building one.

This is why you have to make developing your app network a priority from day one. You’re in the business of creating apps and in the business of creating a kick-ass app network.

Nag Screens

It’s a pop-up window that appears when an app is started. It has a short call to action, giving the users the option to download the pro version of the app that has more features than the one they downloaded.

A slick demonstration of value on a nag screen may hook potential buyers, but, if done improperly, it can turn customers away from your app entirely.

Nag screen have been the most critical advanced marketing strategy for my business. You have to utilize them.

Be sure you can change the nag screen without submitting a new update to the app store.

For this to happen, the developer must implement something called a server-side interaction so every time the app launches, it checks in with the server and gets the latest version of the nag screen.

Keep your nag screen simple, short and benefit-oriented.

Promo Pages

If the nag screen is your most important cross-promotional tool, your promo page will be your second most important. Unlike the nag screen, you can cross-promote more than one app at a time, and that is the power the promo page.

You might wonder how to direct people to the promo pages in your apps. Every one of your apps needs to have a button with the word “More” on it prominently displayed in the main page or menu section inside your app.

Push Notifications

Push notifications are another effective advanced marketing tactic.

Chapter 9

The Three Revenue Models

The App Store has three major revenue models. They include the free model, the premium model, and the freemium model.

Reinvesting in your Business

As you scale your business and making money, you must reinvest in your business. You do this by reinvesting in your existing apps and investing in new apps, offering professional versions, or refreshing their look will increase traffic or keep your existing customers coming back. Many developers miss this step, and therefore, their business hits a plateau.

Investing in new apps will replenish and grow your app network.

To create a sustainable app company that makes a lot of money and supports your lifestyle, you have to keep creating new apps.

One of my developer friends has a rule that his company has to come up with two new apps every month. Whether he’s working or hiking through the mountains of New Zealand, his team is aware of this goal, and it always meets it. Set your own goals for growth and pursue them.

Selling Your App Business

Start your business with the goal of selling in mind. That means keeping good records and automating as much as possible. Set it up to be a turnkey business for potential buyers.

Chapter 10

Cruise Control

Even after I had my app business figured out and was making good money, it took me about a year to put a system in place that allowed me to run my business on cruise control while enjoying the lifestyle I had been carving.

Once I figured out how to outsource and monitor pivotal areas of my business, everything changed.

Setting up your team

Do not cut your corners when hiring people. You can find cheap labor, but that can result in poor quality work or drama that will cost you much more.

Have an accountant and lawyer on hand too.

A fully scaled app team has eight positions: programmer, graphic designer, project manager, marketing manager, data analyst, technical assistant, accountant, lawyer.

It’s time to take your lifestyle to the next level and, if you have the money, hire yourself a personal assistant. Even if you get somebody for few hours a week, do it. You will be happy you did.

The Seven Pillars Of An App Business

  1. Psychology and a winning mindset
  2. Market Research
  3. App Development and Maintenance
  4. Analytics and Tweaking
  5. Marketing and Monetization
  6. Team and System
  7. Professional Networking

Questions to ask yourself

  • Do I have a new app in development?
  • How long is it going to take to get new apps out? How can I accelerate the process?
  • How can I improve my current apps?
  • Am I investing enough revenue in my new and existing apps?
  • Can I use some existing code to create new app more quickly?
  • How can I the tracking of my numbers?
  • What numbers should I be tracking?
  • How are my apps doing, and what can I tweak to increase sales?
  • What are the results of my previous tweaks?
  • Are my app rankings going up or down? Why?
  • Are my download going up or down? Why?
  • Are my sales going up or down? Why?
  • Can I use the feedback in my reviews to improve my app?
  • How can I improve my apps to appeal to more users?

Always look for ways to generate the most amount of money from the traffic you have.

You must have a well trained team in place.

Surround yourself with positive and intelligent people and take full advantage of technology to systemize as much of your business as possible.


The life you are meant to live is closer than you think. Don’t hesitate, it’s time. It’s time to jump.”

End of the quotation.


Book Summary #001: Growth Hacker Marketing

Book Summary: Growth Hacker Marketing

Chapter 1: You have a product and you want to market it. Now it’s time to rethink marketing and become a Growth Hacker (the new marketing guy)

  • Create a MVP (minimum viable product)
  • Iterate and improve your product until you find a Product Market Fit (PMF)
    • Product Market Fit: Define and find your user characteristics and let some test group users use your product and iterate it until they are happy with your product

Chapter 2: It’s time to find more users and get them to use your product

  • Avoid a big blowout advertisement (that is so old school marketing)
  • Also “built it and they (users/customers) will come is also out
  • Your customers have to be pulled in!
    • Targeted offensive in the right place aimed at the right  people will work
    • Find where your user/customer group hangs out and directly market there

Chapter 3: Becoming Viral!

  • If you want to go viral, you have to provoke people to spread your message
  • Solution is referrals, not paid advertisement
  • People will refer your product if the outcome is worth it
  • Remember: No one will spread a message for free
  • “Virality isn’t luck. It’s not magic. And it’s not random. There’s a science behind why people talk and share. A recipe. A formula, even.” Jonah Berger

Chapter 4: Your product HAS to retain users

  • Avoid leacky buckets. Users who sign up should continue using your product. If they stop using it then you have a leacky bucket.
  • Conversion rate is imporant. Always aim for a high conversion rate.
  • But keep in mind that retention is even more important
  • RETENTION trumps Acquisition!

Elon Musk – changing the course of humanity

I believe every entrepreneur should ask himself/herself the following question:

“Am I insane?”

If the answer is “YES” then you are on the right track!

At the beginning of the book “Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future”, Elon asks the author if he thinks he is insane.

elon musk

I believe that Elon is insane! And I think every entrepreneur who is working on a crazy idea is insane. In most cases people will believe that the crazy idea you are working on can’t be done. Unfortunately people are bad in creating a vision for the crazy and impossible.

In the book Elon talks about “humanities future” which I believe is insane.

Turning humans into space colonizers is his stated life’s purpose. “I would like to die thinking that humanity has a bright future,” he said. “If we can solve sustainable energy and be well on our way to becoming a multiplanetary species with a self-sustaining civilization on another planet— to cope with a worst-case scenario happening and extinguishing human consciousness— then,” and here he paused for a moment, “I think that would be really good.”

Once I read that paragraph I was mesmerized because as Jeff Hammerbacher said it:

“The best minds of my generation are thinking about how to make people click ads,” Jeff Hammerbacher, an early Facebook engineer, told me. “That sucks.”

And Peter Thiel also mentioned the point:

“We wanted flying cars, instead we got 140 characters” became the tagline of his venture capital firm Founders Fund.

And the author of the book:

Where Mark Zuckerberg wants to help you share baby photos, Musk wants to . . . well . . . save the human race from self-imposed or accidental annihilation.

Peter Diamandis once said: “Ultimately, part of my missions comes back to what Lary Page said is that 99,999999999999% of the people are not doing anything that is going to change the world.”

We, most entrepreneurs, might not be able to change the world or the course of humanity BUT we could do our best to make a positive impact on our environment.

“My mentality is that of a samurai. I would rather commit seppuku than fail.”

What’s fascinating is that Musk remains willing to lose it all.

“Elon came to the conclusion early in his career that life is short,” Straubel said. “If you really embrace this, it leaves you with the obvious conclusion that you should be working as hard as you can.”

Thank you Elon for giving us, crazy entrepreneurs, hope that it can be done! You just have to believe and do it!

How to get up at 6 am?!

Day #14-15-16 – 10-11-12 May 2015

Quote of the Morning: “Action is the foundational key to all Success!”

Comments: My dear followers! We are nearing the end of my 21 day “Get up early” challenge. Only 5 days are left and this morning I reached my goal of getting up at 06:00! Right now my goals is to maintain this “performance”! For the next 5 day we will see if I will succeed. If yes, I think I will have the worst behind me and I will start creating an AMAZING new habit.

Getting up early is getting easier every day. Since I didn’t try to get up at 06:00 the first day (it was more of a gradually getting up earlier period) the process wasn’t very difficult. It was more of little continues fights every morning against the sleepy monster.

Along the way I received some questions from people struggling to get up early. See the answer to the most asked questions below. Hope they will also help you!

Q&A Session

Q1: How do you get motivated?

A1: You have to create a purpose. You have to find the answer to “Why get up early?”. My answer was “to create more time”. Second question was of course “creating more time for what?”. I wanted to read more, learn more, create more digital content about stuff I enjoy. This is what I started doing every morning. Once you get up earlier you get more time to work on the things you care about. This will start motivating you! When you get more motivated, getting out of bed will get even easier!

Q2: I always snooze and contintue sleeping. How can I change that?

A2: The most easiest and effective way for me was to leave my alarm clock in another room. Living room, bathroom doesn’t really matter. Once you get up and turn your alarm clock off, you overcome the first difficult part. Now it’s time to “move“. Go wash you face, prepare a tea or coffee, take some biscuits, listen to music and watch a YouTube channel you really enjoy. Or any TV Show. You have to move. If you just sit down and start thinking why you got up and what you might be doing, most probably your sleepy monster will beat you and will convince you to go back to bed. One more time: “YOU HAVE TO KEEP MOVING” (I mean DO something)

Q3: How much sleep should I get?

A3: It totally depends on your body. At the beginning of my challenge my body needed 8 hours. Period. If I went to bed at 00:00 I got up at 08:00. Slowly I started to get up at 07:30, then 07:00, then 06:30 etc. Also my bed time went from 00:00 to 23:00. I managed over time to lower my bodies need to sleep to around 6:30-7 hours. I’m still working on it. My goal is to get to 6-6:30 hours of sleep. Try to learn more about your needs and create a strategy from there. Work on it. Write progress down. Make yourself accountable! And never forget: “”Action is the foundational key to all Success!”

Way to successProgress:

  • Bed time:
    • 10th May: 00:15
    • 11th May: 00:20
    • 12th May: 23:30
  • Alarm time:
    • 10th May: 08:00
    • 11th May: 06:15
    • 12th May: 06:00
  • Out of bed time:
    • 10th May: 08:00
    • 11th May: 06:15
    • 12th May: 06:00
  • Snooze count: 0
  • Hours slept: appr. 06:45