Mad scientists and pirates. Do they tease your imagination? Run amok at your startup’s office? For Chris Luck, these characters are the early stars of his business, helping him to realize a dream of building games. Luck is the CEO and Founder of Appiteks, a company that produces iPhone apps. Appiteks launched its first game in October 2012, Boomie vs. Pirates. But that is only the beginning of this swashbuckling, bootstrapping tale.
Luck had this to tell KillerStartups about doing what you love, the importance of focus, and sharing the app development journey:
Where does your love for games come from, and which games have kept your fires burning?
My love for games comes from when I was 5 years old, and I got my first Nintendo. It was the coolest thing to me. After school, dinner and homework, my Dad would fire up the game console, and we would play Nintendo games for hours on end. It was a great way to bond with my dad, and we still play games non-stop to this day. The types of games that keep my fire burning are FPS (first-person shooter) games like “Call of Duty.”
What are the most important qualities of a successful game app?
The most important qualities of a successful game app are to keep the gamer fully engaged, to keep them playing the game for as long as possible, and to keep the gamer coming back again and again. The best way to do this is to have ranking systems where the gamer is always working on increasing their ranking or unlocking new and cool items. That’s what I did with “Boomie vs Pirates,” and the average session length per user is 10 minutes. This is about 8 minutes longer than industry standard.
Maybe you can share one anecdote that describes the trials and tribulations of starting out?
Starting out to build an app business is incredibly exciting, but it is also unbelievably challenging. The people who are currently successful in creating apps for the app store refuse to teach or share their secrets with anyone. It’s unfortunate, and I am going to put an end to it. I’ve been recording everything I’ve learned while building my first app startup, and I intend to share all of my secrets in order to teach people what to do and what not to do. I hope this will help other app developers hasten success.
Any great bootstrapping tips for the lean startups out there?
The best tip I have for lean startups is to learn to focus. One of the hardest things to do as an entrepreneur is to stay focused on something. Most entrepreneurs are blessed with the vision to dream up exciting startup ideas on a regular basis, and they try to take action on ALL of them. In reality, they should pick just one or two of their ideas and put all of their attention, focus, and energy on what they are most excited about. The end result will be a successful business far beyond what they most likely intended.
How often do you find time to play a game these days? Other favorite activities during any free time?
I actually set up an Xbox in my office so that when I get stressed out about something, I can flip on “Call of Duty” and shoot stuff. I usually get in about an hour a day to play games. It keeps me feeling young, and it is a fantastic stress reliever.
What enabled you to make the switch from Internet marketing to working on your true passion, and what’s your take on the transition so far?
Passion. With Internet marketing, there isn’t really a “passion” behind it. I do it because I’m good at it, and it pays the bills. One day, I woke up and realized that there is a window of opportunity in building games for mobile devices — and there’s good money in it. So I figured I would take the leap, build my app startup, and see how it goes. So far, the transition has been very enlightening. Everyday I realize that I’m doing what I love. And soon, I will be teaching others how to do the same.
Can you tell us something about what Appiteks games we might expect in the near future?
My goal with the game side of Appiteks is to build a brand around the name “Boomie.” The first game I released was “Boomie vs Pirates,” which is a unique approach to a type of game style used in apps like “Angry Birds.” My next game in the “Boomie” franchise is more of a whack-a-mole-style game, and I have a few more in development that are very easy and simple gameplay styles that anyone, regardless of age, will love to play. In addition to games, I’m also going to build a few novelty apps just for fun. This way I can expand my app network within Appiteks to appeal to a broader crowd.
Do you consider yourself a successful entrepreneur? If not, what’ll make you feel successful?
Yes, of course. At 31 years of age, I’m able to support my wife and two daughters, I have no debt, and our house is paid for. In addition, I work a maximum of four hours a day so that I can spend the majority of my day with my family enjoying life. I couldn’t ask for a better lifestyle.
Is there anything else about yourself or Appiteks that you’d like KillerStartups readers to know?
Like I mentioned earlier, it’s very disappointing that there are not any successful app developers willing to share their secrets, tips, blueprints, and business models to help others build their own successful app businesses. So I’m working on compiling all of my notes on building my successful app business over the past two years. I’m creating a step-by-step app guide that others will be able to use to build their own app business from the ground up. My goal is to have these available some time in January, and they will be under a new section of my company that I’m calling Appiteks Academy. Stay tuned!