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Developing Minds Want to Know: Q&A with Kristin George, Director of Product at TuneIn

by Brad Spirrison

Kristen GeorgeTuneIn Radio (and TuneIn Radio Pro) is one of the best ways to listen to over 70,000 different radio stations and millions of on-demand shows from all around the world, whether you want to hear music, current affairs, sports, local stations and much more. It’s one of our favorite Android offerings, and was recently featured in a curated app list by Appolicious Advisor, Larry Sullivan.

Kristin George is Director of Product at TuneIn. In today’s installment of Developing Minds Want to Know, Kristin discusses what inspired her to become an app creator, some of her favorites, where she sees innovation in the sector and offers some advice to budding app developers.


Key Company Facts:

Name: Kristin George, Director of Product

Company: TuneInLocation: Palo Alto, CA

Size (Revenue and/or Employees): 70 employees

Primary Apps/Platforms: TuneIn Radio (Android/iOS/Windows Phones/BlackBerry/Bada) and TuneIn Radio Pro (Android/iOS/BlackBerry)


APPOLICIOUS: What inspired you to become an app creator?

KRISTIN GEORGE: There was this whole new platform that travels around with me in my pocket, that completely changes the way I think about consuming media, and spending my time. It was new and unknown. The modern day gold rush. And people were creating companies worth billions of dollars that didn't even have a web presence. This was a crazy, cool new world and I wanted to be a part of it.

Here’s a brief video from TuneIn that introduces the Android app’s car mode:

APPO: How long have you been developing apps, and what is the most significant difference between now and when you began?

KG: I worked on an Android app before the platform launched. Back then it was unclear what a button should look like. Now Google is starting to make (and enforce) user guidelines based on a couple years of learning. The platforms are getting more defined and the creation of user-friendly applications is becoming easier as a result. The attitude of the community is one of trial and error and we are all working together to the benefit of the same customer – our users!

APPO: What apps (outside of those that you develop) inspire you the most and why?

KG: I love Flipboard. The way they are thinking about aggregating content is very cool and their design is gorgeous on all platforms (as well as uniquely theirs). HBO GO – wow! Can I really watch Game of Thrones while waiting for a delayed flight, or on the train? Does anyone not appreciate the camera-meets-cellphone- meets-photo-editing apps? Instagram, you’ve changed my life, and the size of my purse.

APPO: Where do you see the most innovation in the app sector?

KG: I love the content aggregators in the space in general because I can bring this crazy world of content into such a tiny little device that travels with me everywhere I go. From big names like Netflix, to our many options for on-demand music consumption (personal favorite: Rdio), to being able to shop, listen, watch, capture, socially interact with a single and persistent point of contact.

APPO: How do you harness that innovation in your own titles?

KG: I am in content aggregation now. Just seeing the listener’s reaction to the way we are able to fit this entire world of live and on-demand streaming audio into a single and simple application is a really hard challenge. Solving hard problems with a simple user experience is even more challenging, the smaller and more variable the screen size is. This challenge leaves me with something to think about at night and motivates me to wake up in the morning.

APPO: In such a crowded space, explain how you generate awareness and drive downloads to your applications.

KG: Provide a daily value to the listeners. Such an easy thing to say and so hard to execute. The app world is a meritocracy and the best utility wins.

APPO: What are the biggest technical constraints that exist today in the app sector?

KG: Variable device sizes! Making a single application feel good in so many form factors. It’s hard, but a testament to good designers. Ours are incredible.

APPO: How do you (or will you) make money from your application?

KG: Display ads and selling advanced features (like recording).

APPO: What advice do you have to those working on their first applications?

KG: Listen to the people who love you and communicate often with those who don’t. Welcome the challenging learning process that pushes innovation to the ledge. You can learn so much from the community and if you listen, you might just create the best new application. Feedback is so accessible and almost real time. This is a tool, use it.

APPO: Where do you see the app sector one year from now? Five years from now?

KG: I hope that cellphones help us control almost everything in our life. No more plastic credit cards, house keys, forms of identification. I’m looking forward to my purse becoming outdated, and my whole life controlled by the little device that fits in my pocket.

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