Interview with Andrew Bennett of nrme

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interview with iphone app developer Andrew Bennet, nrmeAppCraver caught up recently with Andrew Bennett, CEO/President of the company that developed the nrme app.

1. When did you start developing apps for the iPhone?

Andrew Bennett: We started thinking seriously about nrme when the SDK was rumored in late '07/early '08. It was fun to sit down and think through the problem of 'what can the iPhone SDK do well, and what can it not do?' and then think about the audience and what they'd want to do which no other phone or ultra-portable device can do.

2. What was the inspiration behind your app?

Andrew Bennett: We thought about location and what it means to people. And since I'm originally from the UK, we thought about what the non-US iPhone users would want from their 'location' (typically cars are used a lot less in the rest of the World). We realized that rather than concentrating on friends, we'd have the commonality be the people around you, what they're seeing and what they're experiencing.

For example the ideal nrme experience is that 5 people tell you that Steve Jobs is in the local Apple Store, and then you can walk there in time to see him. In other words, nrme isn't about a large catchment area and will work best in cities, downtowns, college campuses etc. The challenge, of course, is to get enough users in each location and that's what we're working on.

3.How did you settle on your price point for the app?

Andrew Bennett: nrme is a free download. We're going to look at advertising or other revenue model next year once we have built up the community properly.

4. Roughly how many apps did you sell in the first month of operation?

Andrew Bennett: We don't share user numbers, but I'm happy so far that nrme has had a decent number of downloads in its 1st three weeks of operation.

5. How did you like the developer tools provided in the iPhone SDK? Is there anything missing?

Andrew Bennett: Being a video games developer for Sony and Microsoft from way back, I'll say that the iPhone SDK tools are excellent and mature in many unexpected ways (since they are an offshoot from the Mac dev tools). Of course there have been some small issues, but that's just part of the fun of being on the ground floor of a new platform launch.

Don't forget that when Sony or Microsoft or Nintendo launch a new platform, they launch with ~20 titles – Apple have managed to pass ~3,000 through the system in the first couple of months which is an amazing feat.

6. Is your company privately owned? Venture backed?

Andrew Bennett: We are privately owned and funded.

7. What are some of the other iPhone apps that you like?

Andrew Bennett: The Facebook app doesn't do more than Facebook itself, but it's clean and really well thought out. I've also found myself playing a lot of chess recently (with the VS Chess app) – reminds me of being back at school!

And, of course, Shazam is just wonderful – that company has been going for a while in Europe and it's great to see their technology get onto the iPhone and work so well.

8. What's the development cycle for iPhone apps like?

Andrew Bennett: nrme took us about 4 months of full time development. This included all the back end server-side. We were very careful to build a professional back end so that nrme can scale smoothly. At the time we
started on nrme, Twitter was going through all kinds of problems and we were determined to get our server-side solid to avoid similar issues.

9. Are you working on any other apps that you will be releasing soon?

Andrew Bennett: We're concentrating on nrme right now. We have a new version (1.20) out this week which adds new features. We're constantly trying to make the user experience fun, useful and trying to push it towards what our user community really wants.

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