Michael Sayman’s 3 Tips For a Developing Dev

I don’t know about you, but when I was a teenager I spent most of my free time, well, let’s just say, being less than productive.  I definitely wasn’t teaching myself how to code, let alone dominating an uber-competitive marketplace like Apple’s App Store.  Michael Sayman on the other hand, has been doing just that for over three years now.  At age 17 Michael has made it to the top of the App Store charts twice now and has no plans of slowing down anytime soon.


Michael’s interest in technology and app development grew from his desire to create a community around his own favorite games.  His first app, a cheat guide to Club Penguin, a game he and his friends were addicted to back in the day made it to number 7 in the app store!  He laughs when he recalls his parents initial response to his hobby, “My parents were like, ‘That’s nice,’ until the first check came in and they realized I was on to something.”


With his can do attitude, Michael has continued creating successful (and a few not-so-successful) apps and with nine apps under his belt now, has learned a thing or two about making it to the top of the charts.  Michael didn’t stop at learning how to create an app, but has also taken an interesting in marketing and business development and learned a few tricks of the trade; how to advertise, where to advertise, and how to monetize your app.   His latest app, 4Snaps, recently made it to number one in the App Store and led to a partnership with, Voto. Here are some tips from Michael to all you developing devs out there:

Michael Sayman’s 3 Tips for Developing Developers:


1. Just start working:

Don’t psyche yourself out, just start doing something.  If you don’t know how to do something, Google it; Google is going to be your friend throughout the process.  When you’re starting out remember; it doesn’t matter if what you create is good, or if it reaches the top of the charts — the fact that you can create something out of nothing is incredible and you should be proud of that. Just keep at it, learn, practice and get feedback from your peers.


2. Analyze your competition:

Once you have created something, take a moment to scope out your competition. Don’t hate, just analyze.  Figure out what people are doing right and wrong — read their reviews, look at what type of advertising they’re doing and what social media channels they’re using.  Your competition knows what they’re doing.  They didn’t make it to the top of the charts by accident, so don’t be scared, learn from them.


3. Marketing and advertising are the key to success:

In the end, the key to a successful app is advertising.  Sure, you can get lucky, but to be successful in the long term you need to learn the proper marketing channels.  I’ve learned to factor in extra time to plan my marketing strategies; whatever your initial launch date is, take that and add an extra month to plan how you are going to advertise and make money.  What is your ad going to be, where are you going to place it, what social media channels are you going to use, etc?  Paid apps no longer work, to make money you need to focus on in app purchases and video advertisements.


So, if you or someone you know is trying to break into the app world, take advice from a self-taught kid who has managed to make his way to the top.  You’re bound to make a few mistakes, and your first creation probably won’t be the next Words With Friends, but learn something in the process and maybe someday you’ll be the next Michael Sayman.


Vungle's marketing team members have experience in gaming monetization, performance marketing, brand advertising, mobile analytics, app development and SaaS. We're former attorneys, journalists, research analysts, financial advisors and product managers. We are committed to producing content that helps brands and publishers across all verticals and industries grow their mobile businesses.

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