Initially I have to say that I’m not a great fan of reality TV. I am done with Big Brother, X Factor, The Voice and so many more. In the early days they were fun, but now IMHO are a little stale and predictable, except for Dragons Den and The Apprentice (UK with Lord Alan Sugar), I still love watching those. Maybe it is the ideas and task, maybe it is seeing these entrepreneurs in practise. Until now… I had the chance to watch a program that was based on something I love, live and do… technology and mobile technology to be precise!
Yes, I recently finished watching the Apple Music series ‘Planet of the Apps’, something that I had been waiting for for a while since stumbling across conversations by the tech press and the twitter-arty about its creation and shout out for developers to apply to the program. Not only was it a great play on words, of a wonderful science fiction movie, but it gave the mobile development community visibility to those consumers, who wonder about the folks that create the apps they love for the mobile devices that have become a daily part of their lives. I’m sure many applicants did not make it through the first stage of the selection process, or even subsequent stages that eventually lead to they being just a segue in the program and a few seconds of air time before the more successful and interesting pitches on camera. What was great about the applicants, was seeing the complete diversity of developers represented, which was a breath of fresh air!
Initially it was with a little confusion that I saw the panel of advisors being made up of Jessica Alba, Will.i.am, Gwyneth Paltrow and Gary Vaynerchuk, but as the series progressed and the apps that pitched on the ‘escalator’, rather than ‘elevator’, it became more obvious. Will.I.am took mostly music/entertainment, Jessica Alba and Gwyneth Paltrow split the fashion, shopping etc, leaving Gary Vaynerchuk to pick up some of the more interesting digital content redefining apps.
So far so-so good for me, but not for other reviewers. Maybe it was the choice of panel that gave input to quite a few negative reviews, or the format of the program. I’ll pass on that, though for me all of the apps were either already in beta or live and looking for a second round of funding to take them to the next level. Then some were enhanced by the panel/advisers, I’ll leave it up to you if you think they were advised for the better or worse. Call me naive, but I was expecting developers to come along with raw ideas such as prototypes, then see how far they can advance in the six weeks ‘incubation’ before the next pitch. Personally I think it would have been far more interesting TV to follow the design , development and evolution of a cool mobile app, but that’s from my developer side of my brain.
What was interesting in each program to get a slight glimpse, though I’m sure probably not as harsh as it can be behind closed doors, into venture capital pitches with Lightspeed Ventures, a well-respected Silicon Valley venture capital firm and first invested in Snapchat. The questions they asked, the details and predictions they needed and the wholes they picked in the pitches. What was disappointing is that Lightspeed passed on a number of really great ideas, IMHO… though it seems that some of those whom were passed over, are still carrying on with their dream to make it big.
All in all, I liked it! and I would like to see a follow up program that revisits those developers that both secured funding from Lightspeed and those that were passed over. It would be interesting to see their next steps and the progress both sides have made. Let’s hope!
Maybe it will be called… Battle for the Planet of the Apps! 😉