Creating a Killer App

As I’ve mentioned in recent posts about InteractiveGIS, I am beginning to understand Geographic Information Systems (GIS) – also termed Geospatial Information Systems – enough to formulate how GIS applications for business might work.

Game Mechanics + Social Networking + GIS + Business Data
+ Algorithm, Formula and/or Idea + Mobile = Killer App

My own killer app began, not on a whiteboard, but with a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA), not with a randomly selected NDA template downloaded from the Internet, but with custom versions created by our company’s attorney.  I value my work and the work of those who will contribute to the project too much to risk losing that work to competitors, or to risk losing investment or acquisition in the future because we didn’t follow legal protocol.  An NDA doesn’t perfectly prevent these things from happening, but decreases the likelihood. 

Even Mr. Handshake 2.0 has signed an NDA.

Anne Clelland sketching out a killer appMy killer app actually began on a tablet of lined white paper, words and pictures sketched with a Pilot G-2 07, then moved to stick figures on a white board, then to text and a rough flowchart on a large sheet of paper torn from a flip chart.  The white board diagram and the sheet of paper were photographed and shared with NDA-signers.

Having practiced and presented pitches to angel investors through my company’s membership in VT KnowledgeWorks, writing one-page executive summaries has become as straightforward as adding Wheaties to the grocery list.  But the process is profoundly creative, resulting in a clarification of  the product or service and how it possesses not just a foundational idea, but a business model.

What’s the next phase in the creative process?  More drawing?  More writing?

I’m trying writing.  With regard to the killer app development process, this iPhone app post mortem by Mike Ziray has proven invaluable.  It’s helped me think and helped me avoid dead ends.

Conclusions so far:

  • I find the creative process exciting, enriching, engaging.
  • I find the creative process muscular and athletic.  I do sprint triathlons, not distance races because a) I can finish a sprint, and b) I am not skilled at pacing.  I hammer, recover, hammer, recover.  I thought I might be able to hammer the creation of the app, and be done.  Nope, not done.  Okay.  Hammer, recover it is. 
  • For software developers, particularly for mobile app developers – for whom I already had great respect – the well of respect has deepened.  Conceptualizing, much less coding, complexity is very, very difficult.
  • If I were an angel investor, I would want to see more than a one-page executive summary. As I create a narrative version of the app, I’m finding myself reworking how I thought it would work.
  • An idea is not its execution.


Photo credit:  Mr. Handshake 2.0

A one-page executive summary template in .pdf format is available from VT KnowledgeWorks: Useful Links > Funding and Finance > Executive Summary.

The template is available in Word .doc format Under “Pitching” on the ATDC site

InteractiveGIS and VT KnowledgeWorks are clients of Handshake Media, Incorporated of which Handshake 2.0 is an enterprise.

A Handshake 1.0 with Handshake 2.0
Plaid Squared Handshake

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