How to Make $28.7 Million

Nick D'Aloisio Summly

How would you like to be 17 years old and have just sold your first app to one of the world’s tech giants for $28.7 million dollars?

Source: Ben Grubb: The Age

Summly and Making Apps

It’s the stuff of dreams for most of us. And, it’s a reality for London resident Nick D’Aloisio. 17year old Nick is the creator of Summly which aims to change the way we read emails, news articles or other text on our computers and smart phones. As the name suggests it uses computer algorithms to summarise the text in under 400 characters. You might say it creates big-tweet-size summaries.

The app has been downloaded almost 1,000,000 times in the past five months and has generated about 90 million summaries. It’s also received Apple’s Best Apps of 2012 award for Intuitive Touch. Plus, he has a contract to display content from News Corp publications.

The Deal with Yahoo

Nick’s deal with Yahoo means the app will be shut down which makes you wonder why Yahoo bought it in the first place. The obvious reason is that they’ll incorporate the technology into other offerings.

Wired’s Brian Tate suggests otherwise. He comments that the team and technology behind the app are not exceptional. And what Yahoo are really buying is “…momentum and buzz. In other words Yahoo bought something to appear cool again.”

This raises some interesting questions…

The obvious questions…

  • If it’s all about buzz how much buzz do you get for $28 million?
  • And how much of that buzz translates into sales that you can actually measure?

The big question…

  • What else could you do with $28 million to generate some buzz?

And, the elephant in the room here, the underlying question that this implies is…

  • Does Yahoo understand the new social media environment in which we live in?

Being Creative

Had Yahoo sat down and thought creatively for just a short period of time they could easily have generated many more times this value through social media campaigns.

Instead of piggybacking off someone else’s success Yahoo could launch some of their own special projects. For instance how about a scholarship program for $1 million to 28 people to create the next big app. Now that would generate some world wide buzz!

Isn’t it time someone created American Idol for App developers? Or how about a version of Big Brother where a team of developers live in a house for a month to develop an app?

So, how do you make $28 million?

If it’s all about buzz then you can start to generate your own social media campaign. All you need to get started is a big idea translated into a campaign that others can join.

And, that big idea needs to revolve around what people want. What are they aspiring to? What are they missing in their lives?

Start listening to what’s driving most people’s behaviours and conversations and build buzz around this.

Thanks to Helen Mac for prompting this blog post. And, her big idea to have a million optimists on the planet is the type of idea we’re talking about that could one day be worth $28million.


More Updates

The Ultimate Guide to Planning Your Life's Work

Your life’s work won’t just happen automagically by itself. To fulfil your life’s work you need a plan. But what’s the best way to do this?

Four Questions to Win the Game of Life

I’m a sports nut. I’ll watch almost any sport – especially Aussie Rules football. And from watching and playing a lot of sports, I know

Four Declarations for when things don't go to plan

Forest Gump’s mum famously said, “Life is like a box of chocolates – you never know what you’re going to get.” For me, life is