The Benefits of Sustainable Energy

The Benefits of Sustainable Energy

As our world continues to grow, the negative impact that this growth has will only increase as a result. While most strive to find ways to reduce waste in their own lives, it can be challenging to find a more environmentally-friendly form of energy as well. In order to resolve this, efforts have focused on investing in different forms of sustainable energy.

What is Sustainable Energy?
Sustainable energy is a particular form of environmentally friendly energy that can be used over and over again without a risk of depletion overtime. Sustainable energy is becoming more important in today’s society, as all of the energy that is created does not cause any harm to the environment, and commonly uses natural energy. According to, sustainable energy in the workplace incorporates design, construction and operational practices that significantly reduce its negative impact on the environment and its occupants. Examples of sustainable energy include sunlight and wind energy.

Solar Energy
Solar energy has become a major form of energy in recent years because it continues to be considered one of the most powerful energy sources. According to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, the amount of sun in one hour provides more energy than is used by the entire world in an entire year. There are various forms of solar energy, and is primarily used for heating, cooling, and lighting for homes and businesses.

Wind Energy
Like solar energy, using wind energy is becoming a more popular approach to sustainable energy. Wind has the power to make electricity through the use of naturally occurring air flow. With advances in its technology, wind can now generate electricity using wind turbines. Wind turbines have the ability to convert the energy from natural wind into electricity. For areas that experience higher levels of wind, wind farms are oftentimes created. A wind farm has the potential to provide the same amount of energy as a power plant.

Sustainable Energy in the Workplace
Although investing in sustainable energy was once considered expensive and risky, it is now being adopted by companies across the world in an effort to reduce waste. Because it is sustainable, the energy can be used on an ongoing basis, reducing energy costs for companies. As the need for sustainable energy continues to grow, it will become more important for companies to begin thinking about its benefits.

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The lights are off, but subscriptions keep paying.

February 5, 2013 Leave a comment

Here’s an unusual problem – how do we stop users from paying for a service that no longer exists?

We pulled TVAnytime down from the apps stores in Feb/12 and finally shut down the servers and website in May/12 when it was clear that the revenue was not funding the operating costs.  However, it didn’t really have any effect on our subscription revenue streams.

We setup monthly and annual catalog subscriptions through iTunes for our Apple users and through Paypal for our Android users, as Google’s Play subscriptions weren’t ready yet.

Paypal subscriptions were always a mess – poor user experience in signing in, low execution rate as many paypal accounts don’t seem to be funding consistently – roughly 50% of subscription renewals failed.

iTunes subscriptions, on the other hand, have been very strong – Apple doesn’t report when subscriptions fail but almost a year after we shut down the service, subscription revenue is still 70% of its peak.

Apple claims it is possible to cancel subscriptions deep in the menus of iTunes; apparently for some users its not worth $1.99/month to find out.   Perhaps Apple would consider giving developers the ability to stop renewals of a subscription in a future update?

For now we’ll leave it open – perhaps we’ll get our investors money back yet.



Categories: Uncategorized

The Bankruptcy of the Apps Economy

January 31, 2012 1 comment

What the Lifecycle of TV Anytime Says About the Broader Apps Economy

When we started work on our app TV Anytime in 2010, we based it on a set of assumptions about the apps market.  While we had our share of startup drama and execution issues, the underlying problem is that the apps economy has gone bankrupt for most startups in the last 18 months.

Development Costs are Rising

  • Complexity: Apps that you can build in a few weeks have largely been done; the opportunities that remain are more complex, reviewers and users have high expectations in UI and quality.
  • Development: We had a very bad experience with an expensive local developer (MBD); and ultimately were forced to go offshore to India for development.  We had cloud and PC development as part of our team; in retrospect we needed mobile development in house as well but with good iOS talent commanding $200/hr we could not find such a person.
  • Android is much harder than iOS: Building an app that is compelling on both junker phones and superphones is very difficult and costly.  Our Android development time was about 2x our iPhone time for similar features and as there is no “gold standard” to develop for in Android we left fixing platform specific bugs and crashes post launch.

Customer Acquisition Costs are rising

  • 500,000 apps rises the noise level – app stores have no discovery tool other than their “top” lists; a new brand can no longer expect to make the top 25 without some significant spend on advertising or grey market rankings push; we made it up to position 86 the day after launch.
  • Your app may “go viral” but you can’t plan on it: predictable (paid) customer acquisition costs for free apps are $0.25 – $0.75/trial through a variety of means: facebook likes, CPM/CPA advertising, typical PR firm results, grey market rankings buys.
  • Facebook Virality Has Fallen: This matters a lot – virality (the number of “free” users you can get for each greenfield user you buy) is key as it is exponential.  In 2009, people talked about 0.7–0.9 viral coefficients – meaning you get 2.3 to 9 “free” users for each user you pay for.  The changes in the facebook platform have dramatically reduced virality – we saw virality so low it was not easily measurable – I would be surprised if many “apps” see viral coefficients above 0.2 – 0.4 – meaning you get  only 0.25 – 0.6 free users for each paid user.
  • Facebook Connect Is Ineffective: We chose to have users’ single sign-on to our app using facebook connect.  This was a mistake.  Three issues: (1) We saw a 70% balk rate at the facebook sign-on (2) Facebook changed their policy during our development and only gave us proxymail user email addresses; facebook’s proxyymail system does not work well (~60% delivery rate, 5 hour lag) so we basically couldn’t do email marketing (3) facebook breaks and changes their APIs faster than we can keep up consuming engineering resources.
  • Churn rates are Increasing: Its inevitable – more apps = more churn; we planned on 20%/week churn for free users and were surprised to have 55%/week churn on a free app.

Monetization is Falling…like a rock

  • Mobile CPM Rates Head to Zero: When we started in mid-2010, iPhone eCPMs were $10 – $15 with VCs merrily predicting they would go up 2x or more.  Today, we have iPhone eCPM of $2.31 and an Android eCPM of $0.07 (in context that means that to get your $0.50 customer acquisition cost back you’d need to show the user 7,143 banners in a one week half life….  My sense is that iOS eCPMs are just lagging, they have a long ways to fall as very few brands are marketing through mobile display advertising and a lot mobile display advertising is just a pyramid scheme of new app developers paying established ones to try and get downloads.
  • Android In-app Purchase Rates 20x Lower than iOS: We were pleasantly surprised by a 30% in-app purchase rate for iOS repeat users of our auto-renewing subscription; but disappointed only a 1.5% rate in Android.  Why the difference?  Two guesses:   (1) Android users have been conditioned not to pay for anything and (2) Android in-app purchase is a mess; far from the one button execution in iOS.

Apple is getting harder to work with

  • Apple Approval Hell:  7 Day approval cycle?  Try 13 weeks…3 appeals, 4 new binaries.
  • Apple Changes their Mind Arbitrarily:  6 weeks after our 13 week approval we tried to add a new in-app purchase; we were told that our existing in-app purchase was now “non-compliant” as Apple had changed their interpretation of their own rules and only “actual content” was allowed to use auto-renewing subscriptions; not catalogs.  Ohh, and they’ll be applying this new interpretation retroactively in a few months so no option to just leave what we have in store.
  • Apple bled us out:  We planned on a two week approval cycle and a launch before thanksgiving; instead it took 3 months and we had to launch in December (don’t do that, by the way).  We thus consumed our marketing budget on engineering and had no coverage left for paid acqusition post-launch.

The net of this is that the apps economy is bankrupt; if you’re thinking of building and launching an “app”, you missed the window.

If an “app” is a way to engage users as part of your broader strategy, then maybe – but do you really need an “app” to do this or can you do it through a mobile website, webapp or something cheaper and easier to develop?

Don Barnetson was the co-founder and head of sales & marketing at DDT Software, Inc; he is currently enjoying some downtime with his wife and new daughter.