Mobile apps have become big business. Once they came pre-loaded onto mobile phones and were largely distributed by mobile phone carriers. Consumers had limited choice, and developers had limited access to the market. All that changed with the arrival of smartphones and app stores: first from Apple, and then from every other major platform. App stores have been with us for less than five years but already there are more than a million mobile apps available across the mobile platforms. By 2017 the mobile app market is expected to generate $76 billion in revenue.

In 2010, I began my own entrepreneurial journey into the mobile app economy and launched a mobile app called Corkbin. I was determined to innovate the way wine recommendations were provided, basing recommendations on a consumer’s previous likes and dislikes rather than on opinions from wine pundits. A mobile app made the ideal tool for capturing the consumer preferences needed to train a recommendation system. Today[1], Corkbin serves over 4,000 active users per month and is available as a free download in the Apple App Store and in Google Play.

This book is a reflection of my own experience as a mobile app entrepreneur and will dive into three key topics crucial to the understanding of the mobile app economy: the market, innovations, and marketing. The lessons and insights I gained during my own entrepreneurial journey have shaped the structure of this book. I would not have been able to tackle the task of uncovering and analyzing the evolution and dynamics of the mobile app economy had I not experienced it first-hand.

My goal is to provide you with a deeper understanding of the evolution and dynamics of the mobile app economy. Using a combination of primary research and case studies, I hope to provide useful tools and anecdotes for evaluating the market potential of new mobile apps and how to market them. The research findings and case studies also provide food for thought in defining a new business model or reinforcing existing decisions.

[1] As of December 2012.

Table of Contents


Table of Contents


The Mobile App Economy

History of App Stores

Revenue Models Explained

Expectation of “Free”

Anatomy of an Innovative Mobile App Business

Framework for Innovation

Case Study: Evernote

Case Study: Foursquare

Getting in Front of the Consumers

Approaches to Marketing Mobile Apps

Hypercycle Marketing Strategy

Parting Thoughts


About the Author