Mobile Developer’s Guide To The Galaxy: An unplanned success story

– Guest Post by Marco Tabor of Enough Software @enoughmarco

Enough Software will be giving away 400 hard copies of the Developer’s Guide to the Galaxy at OTA12 – we’ll announce the details of how you can pick your copy up at the event.

What a great plan: Publishing a non-commercial and free handbook about mobile technologies, invite the whole community to contribute and put out updates whenever the ecosystem’s changes make it necessary. By doing so, you will always have a nice (and useful!) give-away when your company exhibits at events, you gain visibility as multi-platform experts and you keep on expanding your network. Once you have some attention, it will be easy to find companies who are willing to sponsor the printing – even though they do not control what is written about their products: The big players know pretty well that they have to please developers and provide them with useful tools and information if they want them to develop for their platform, use their tools and/or distribution channels. A great plan indeed. But we never had that plan.

When we started putting out the first edition of our “Developer’s Guide To The Galaxy” at Mobile World Congress 2009, we simply did it because we realized that a lot of people were loosing the big picture in the fragmented and ever-changing mobile world. Back then it was a tiny brochure with 40 pages and I think the longest chapter spoke about J2ME. There never was a commercial idea or business plan behind this. It turned out that the demand was bigger than expected: We quickly ran out of copies, a lot of experts came up to us and offered their support as writers and a company offered some money to cover the printing costs of a re-print. So the second edition came out just some weeks later. It already had 60 pages.

Then Android gained traction and of course we needed to include that in the book, so we extended the content again and printed a third edition. And so it continued.

At this year’s Mobile World Congress we published the 10th edition. It has over 200 pages, 20 authors are involved and almost all the 5000 copies we printed are distributed already (of course we will hold back some boxes for OTA 2012!). Nokia, BlueVia, Immersion and Deutsche Telekom financed the printing this time. Our friends from WIP even published a companion guide which concentrates on app marketing.

It turned out once again that you do not need a detailed plan and stick to it, especially when things are changing as quickly as they do in our business. Just start something if you think it makes sense. If you keep following a good idea, you have a good chance that it will develop its own dynamics.

Download a digital copy:
Mobile Developer’s Guide To The Galaxy No. 10
Mobile Developer’s Guide To The Parallel Universe of App Marketing