Are you serious about launching an app or not?

Shane Schick

There will come a day when grey-haired iOS and Android developers will taunt their younger successors about the fact that they had no direction or guidance on the best processes around developing an app, submitting it to app stores, marketing their creations and monetizing them. Until then, the world may need more initiatives such as Launch This Year.

A few months back I profiled Ooomf, a startup based in Montreal that is trying to accelerate the creation of new apps by offering services to would-be developers to help them get feedback and interest from potential customers before anything is even launched. It's certainly not the only firm focused on discoverability, and I suspect 2013 will be the year much of these Kickstarter-like businesses flame out. But Ooomf continues to intrigue me by approaching this market as less of a burgeoning industry and more as a social movement.

Launch This Year, which Ooomf will officially unveil in about a week, seems aimed at near-novice developers who put down "create the next Draw Something" as one of their annual resolutions. Although details are sparce, Digital Trends reports that those who sign up for Launch This Year will receive "steps like creating the app's landing page, devising its organization structure, and even submitting it to the App Store." The step are all "outlined in a way that's accessible and less of a daunting headache... the Launch This Year team develops a close relationship with its clients by coaching them through the work of getting the app ready and worthy of a few million downloads."

This is, in some ways, merely a variation on what Ooomf is already trying to do, but it's clever in that it gives developers--who are so often moonlighting to create these apps--the kind of deadline that creates some urgency but not too much. A year is a long time, particularly if some of the initial work has already been done.

Since the tools on Launch This Year are not available yet I can't vouch for them, but it's reasonable to expect that given the company's roots in the development scene they can cull and curate the best practices for getting started. Of course, signing up for Launch This Year is also a way for Ooomf, along with its sponsors TechStars and StartupWeekend, to generate potential leads for their various services, but if someone is savvy enough to find Launch This Year they will probably realize there's a certain vested interest behind this venture.

What developers need to ask themselves is whether Launch This Year offers the kind of real community that can provide support, advice and the occasional morale boost that results in real results, or whether they could accomplish just as much without it. In the end, no one is going to launch your app for you but you.--Shane