Episode #443: How Moves combines walking and mobile to create an effortless app – with co-founder Sampo Karjalainen

Episode #443

I am addicted to this app. It’s called Moves and it tracks the number of steps you take during the day. Picture a Fitbit or Nike FuelBand without the wearable computing part. It is an always-on app that works in the background on your iPhone and I strongly believe that this is the next phase of mobile computing.

Face it, the cluttered app screen on most devices are becoming cumbersome and inefficient – even if you can wrap folders around them, it is hard to get people to download an app, even harder to get them to commit to using it more than once. Often the app is not what they were looking for or the game was too simple but more often people simply forget about it. There are barriers to getting them to launch the app every day or multiple times per day. This is where the idea of “continuously on” is so effective. Apps like Moves (and Flock) just “are” – launch them once and they run forever, always collecting and doing their jobs. Actually launching the app every other time is the secondary experience because you can go weeks without doing it while it does what it needs to do, regardless. For those of you interested, there is a great little study done in Germany about the “battle for the front screen” that can be found here.

This is the story of Moves, the app that was featured by Apple and praised by Robert Scoble. The app that has already had close to 1 million downloads in 4 weeks. The app that took a year to build as Sampo Karjalainen and his team tried to optimize location trolling with battery consumption. The app that is collecting over 1 TB of data PER DAY already. The app that has me fascinated.

In this episode Sampo talks about the reasons he left his previous company (that was generating $50M Euros/year) to start Moves, the challenges building a piece of software that relies on battery draining technologies as its core, the ideas for where he sees revenue coming from, how they launched silently to test their assumptions and usage patterns before going global and his insight into this industry as a whole.

This is more than a launch story – there are incredible tactics that you can use right now to help think through how you implement and launch your product in the mobile world.



Here is a quick reference of what we covered in the show. Click on the link and the video will take you to that clip

1. What is Moves 2:00
2. Who is Sampo Karjalainen 3:40
3. How did you move from games to fitness? Why build Moves? 4:30
4. Can you gamify physical activity? 10:11
5. What is this continuous activity trend we are seeing today? 12:45
6. What were some of the technical challenges you faced building Moves? 14:16
7. How did you make Moves understand the difference between activities 17:10
8. Where is the computing being done? How are you handling the activity? 19:15
9. What was the impact of being featured by Apple? 20:50
10. How has the success of the launch impacted the product experience 23:20
11. What features did you NOT keep in the app and why? 26:55
12. Why use Foursquare as the location provider? 30:35
13. Why NOT add check-ins to the app? 32:05
14. What was your marketing / awareness plan? 33:09
How long was your beta period? What did you do with the data from the beta? 34:00
16. How do you make money with Moves? 39:00
17. What about competition? Google Now? Wearable computing? 43:41
18. What is getting you excited about what you are doing? 48:30
19. What app do you use religiously aside from Moves? 50:00

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About Sampo Karjalainen
Sampo Karjalainen Moves AppSampo is the Co-founder of Sulake Corporation that runs Habbo Hotel virtual world. After creating Habbo in 2000, Sampo worked ten years as the Chief Creative Officer of Sulake. Originally a designer, Sampo has developed over the years broad competence in business management and technology. On his spare time, Sampo produces popular Hel Looks street style blog with his partner.

About the author

Rob Woodbridge

I'm Rob, the founder of UNTETHER.tv and I've spent 14 years immersed in the mobile and pervasive computing world. During this great time I've helped some of the most innovative companies grow their business through mobile. If you are in need of a mobile business advisor or coach, connect with me here to get things rolling.

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