Mobile Saturday at SXSW Panel Preview: From Apps to Obsession — Sparking Enviable Fandom

In anticipation of our March 12 Mobile Saturday event at SXSW, we’re spotlighting our speakers, their panels and discussion topics for the day.

From the first iteration of the App store to today, gaming apps have consistently captured a significant portion of time spent on mobile daily. With single-digit audience monetization and the lowest long-term retention rate of all app categories, how can gaming apps make their mark in app stores and leave a favorable impression on users? Our Mobile Saturday panel at SXSW, “From Apps to Obsession — Sparking Enviable Fandom,” will explore how brands from any industry can seize the mobile advantage, and employ strategies to level-up frequency of use to accelerate business outcomes.

Joining us from FanDuel is Product Director, Dan Melinger. FanDuel, the leader in one-day fantasy sports, has skyrocketed to success as its app has been met with much enthusiasm from users. In this fireside chat, Dan will share ideas on how to take aim at uses online and offline to score big for your app. Joining him to share ideas and successful strategies is Michael Conley, Vice President of Digital at Cleveland Cavaliers. Michael Richardson, Senior Director of Data Products and co-founder at Urban Airship will moderate the session.

We asked Dan (DM) to answer a few questions about his own mobile engagement perspectives to help set the stage.

What mobile developments or trends are you most excited or concerned about?

DM: I’m most excited about the interconnectedness of apps and the seamless way people can switch among different tools, choosing the best one for the task without much cost to switching or maintaining multiple tools for similar tasks. An example here is messaging apps. In a single day, I might use SMS, Google Hangouts, HipChat, Slack, Facebook Messenger, GroupMe, and Whatsapp (not to mention multiple email accounts) and that feels totally comfortable. With push notifications, native share panels, and simple switching, it’s easy.

Aside from your own, what is your favorite mobile app, wearable or IoT device and why?
DM: That’s an easy one. Google Cardboard. I was able to hand a $5 piece of cardboard to a girl in my son’s 1st grade class with limited mobility due to a physical disability and within a minute, she was riding a roller coaster for the first time. She and her teacher were blown away. Revolutionary.

What technological advance do you hope happens in your lifetime?
DM: I hope long-distance transportation is revolutionized. While everything else has seemed to advance, we’re still moving around the planet in jet airliners much unchanged since the 1960s. Cheaper, faster, more comfortable, and more environmentally friendly transportation would change so many things about modern society.

Do you have a few nuggets of general advice for companies embarking on mobile initiatives?
DM: Start mobile. It sounds cliche by now, but I still hear about companies adapting their web solutions to mobile. You’ve really gotta think, not about the interface, but about the use case and your goal. Also, this goes for any product initiative, but is even more important on mobile: keep things simple to start. You can always add complexity but it’s harder to shave off complexity later.

If you could only bring 3 things with you on a month long trip, what would they be and why?
DM: Definitely not shoes. I always love going barefoot and this would be a great excuse. But what would I bring…I would take a toothbrush so I don’t scare people I meet with perpetual morning breath. I would bring my ereader because I love getting lost in a book, particularly one that enhances my appreciation for where I am. Finally — I would bring my 8-year-old son. Having him with me in new places, or even places with which I’m familiar, ignites my own sense of wonder. I’m able to see things through fresh eyes, and that is a beautiful way to experience the world.

If you’re in Austin, TX for SXSW Interactive on March 12, come join our fourth year of mobile magic! We’ll be just a block away from the Convention Center at the Courtyard Austin Downtown.

To learn more about our other panels and our Mobile Saturday event, check out our Mobile Saturday @ SXSW event page and sign up for updates. During the event, we’ll be sharing insights from @urbanairship using #MobileSat on Twitter. And be sure to check back for post-event content!