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Do Cheaters Prosper? Understanding The Rules of Application Development

Do Cheaters Prosper? Understanding the Rules of Application Development

An early start (too early, some might argue) and a hop-skip plane ride took TWG CEO and Founder Dom Bortolussi, and Scott Tadman, our peerless Chief of Research, to Montreal last week to visit FounderFuel’s newest recruits. It’s a TWG mini road trip!

FounderFuel is a top tier mentor-driven accelerator program that provides $50K of seed capital to their startups along with access to veteran entrepreneurs, angel investors, VCs and senior executives. Their Spring 2013 cohort is just a few days into their program – so fresh that their names haven’t even been announced yet. But we got a chance to meet with them and learn about their goals and their business models and to share some information about TWG’s own incubation options.

Whilst incubators like FounderFuel, Extreme Startups and Jolt are designed to give promising entrepreneurs their first taste of startup life, we run a follow-on program for startups who are a little further along their journey. Our space at 425 Adelaide houses a carefully-selected handful of awesome startup companies alongside our own software team – current co-habitants include ShopLocket, TimeRaiser, Scalability and OMX. We’ll be accepting applications for new startups to join us in the fall – drop us a line to find out more.

Our main reason for attending, however, was to share some of the tips and tricks we’ve collected along our journey for optimizing applications. Being a developer is like being a magician – there’s lots of sleight of hand and misdirection at work when you’re creating a seamless experience. Like a great magic trick, a great application keeps the user engaged, happy and unaware of all of the cheating that’s taking place behind the curtain.

Do Cheaters Prosper? Understanding the Rules of Application Development

Applications capture, retrieve and display resources. These resources have costs, such as the cost of transmission, processing and storage. Different resources have varying probabilities of being required; some may be requested and others not, some may be requested frequently and others rarely. These are all things to consider when deciding what processes can and need to be optimized, which will in turn help you choose from your magic bag of tricks.

Good cheating is like a magic trick: it’s a method to achieve a desired effect. Just don’t get caught. Getting caught ruins the magic and gets you in trouble. Do things “wrong”, get dirty, use hacks, and optimize for very specific cases. Do all this in order to deliver the desired effect.

Pick wisely from your bag of tricks or risk blowing your cover

So how do you decide what to optimize? When time is limited, where should you be looking when figuring out how to ‘trick’ the user into having an incredible experience?

  • Requests that are free or cheap to deliver and are rare are not worth optimizing since these are essentially effortless already
  • Requests that are expensive but rare aren’t a priority, feel free to procrastinate on these
  • Requests that are free or cheap and happen frequently are the fun ones to optimize
  • Requests that are frequent and expensive are your big wins… if you can figure out how to optimize them.

Flip through the presentation for a step-by-step guide  to identifying and optimizing these requests and an overview of the ‘rules’ of application development. There’s also an excellent summary of Scott’s talk over on the FounderFuel blog – thank you to Andrea and Ian from the FounderFuel team for putting this together and inviting us down!


TWG is an Internet software company based in Toronto. We design, build and maintain web and mobile applications for a growing list of happy clients. We also incubate startup companies and host events for our community. Our mission is to be the best software company in the world to learn, work, and grow at.


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