Ben Lee of Rootstrap explains the pitfalls of app development

If you spend any time in the worlds of finance or tech, you’ve may have noticed that seemingly everyone has an idea for an app these days. There is gold in the hills of the Google Play store, waiting for the next plucky entrepreneur with a cool concept bouncing around in their head. Having an idea for an app and making it a reality are two different things, however, and if you don’t have experience with development, the process can be daunting. Ben Lee, CEO and co-founder of Rootstrap (which recently announced a merger with Neon Roots), appeared on Digital Trends Live to explain how his company helps businesses with the development process and common pitfalls to avoid.

Rootstrap may not be a household name, but over seven years, the company has “had over a thousand product launches,” according to Lee, and worked with diverse clients such as Google and motivational speaker Tony Robbins. “The model is really to act as a co-CTO or help innovators and industry leaders develop ideas.” Sometimes, the best thing Lee can do is steer a client away from focusing on an app.

“We’re sort of the initial point of contact for people who want to develop ideas,” he explains, “and in some ways hiring a company like me to tell you why you shouldn’t build an app is sometimes more valuable and generates a bigger ROI, because the first thing that people think nowadays in 2018 is, ‘Oh, I need to build an app,’ but maybe you need a website or maybe you need a game or you need a lead generation form …”

A common mistake companies make is to focus on branding right out of the gate, but Lee cautions that keep their brand as step two or even three on their business roadmap.

“When you’re building a product, when you’re building an app,” Lee explains, “branding is the least important thing. It really is secondary. It’s why we try not to waste too much time in the beginning stages, because it’s really about finding product-market fit. Nobody really gives … they don’t care what the name is until there’s brand equity developed. They want to know ‘Is this going to make my life easier? How is it going to deliver value? Is it a cheaper alternative than what competitors are doing currently?’”

For more of Lee’s insights into development, watch his full interview with DT Live host Greg Nibler.

Digital Trends Live airs at 9 a.m. PT from Monday through Friday, with highlights available on demand after the stream ends. For more information, check out the Digital Trends Live homepage, and be sure to watch live for the occasional chance to win a $100 Amazon gift card, among other prizes.

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