App man does his research
Richard Cheung Man-yu, co-founder and chief developer of Nimbus Insight – a digital market-research company that focuses on using mobile apps to collect marketing data – has had a passion for computers ever since he was at school.
“When I was a junior secondary student, I was appointed to help set up the operating systems of the school computers and build the school website. This made me become really interested in computing,” he says.
After finishing university, he joined an IT entrepreneur program to build his knowledge in mobile-application design. He then worked as a programmer for several years, before starting Nimbus together with two partners with market-research expertise.
In recent months, he has been working on developing customer-survey apps. “I am developing iOS and Android apps that can collect data from various types of customer survey. My partners from the market-research industry provide me the user requirements and put those into the app,” he says.
Although he was initially excited about the project, he found the subject difficult to approach with just his IT background.
“I did not know much about market research so I had to pick it up from scratch. It took me two months to fully understand the whole research process before I could start developing the app,” he says.
As co-founder of the company, Cheung has to take care of the business side as well as being responsible for technical issues. “I have to seek funding and build a business network. I was not keen on such duties before, but now I find the process very rewarding. I have been able to meet many different people from various industries which is very useful, especially in generating new ideas and reshaping the direction of our business,” he says.
Cheung advises those interested in becoming app developers to make sure they keep up with the most up-to-date technology and get as much hands-on experience as possible. “I recommend joining a professional or community organisation, not only to build up networks but, more importantly, to share and gain valuable experience from others,” he says.
“App developers should also try to understand consumers’ needs and their mobile-usage behaviour, and always think from the perspective of end users.”