Those that know me well, know that I have a passion for business and a passion for tech. So when Apple, a company that I’m fond of released their first original series, Planet of the Apps, it certainly caught my attention and after the first episode, I was hooked!
What came next, however, was a surprise. While watching YouTube, my ‘up next’ started to list several videos that featured an onslaught on the show, ripping the platform apart. There were a number of negative views however it was hard to differentiate what was the hate aimed at the show versus the hate against Apple, which is a huge shame.
Were these simply Android fanboys, people jealous of Apple, people that think they understand the tech or business world but actually have no clue or just people that lacked the taste for ‘good TV’.
So after so many videos titled ‘What’s wrong with Apples, Planet of the Apps’, and negative reviews, here’s all that’s right with the show and its platform.
From an outsider, the best way to describe the show is simple; it’s a tech based ‘Dragons Den’ (or ‘Shark Tank’ depending on where in the world you’re based) with a hint of ‘The Voice’ however the stars of the show are app developers. Yes, the guy or girl who stereotypically sits in the corner of the room with headphones on and a hoodie up, coding.
Why is this show different? Firstly, we are celebrating this generations ‘rockstars’ which is fantastic. If you understand the millennial mindset, you’ll know that 10 years ago kids wanted to grow up to be sports stars, actors or models… Now they want to be the next Steve Jobs or Murk Zuckerberg! Why? Well, that’s very simple; “What’s sexier than a million dollars? A billion dollars!!”
Now back to the platform; you have 4 judges that have a business background. Jessica Alba, Will.i.am, Gwyneth Paltrow and Gary Vaynerchuk which make up a well-rounded panel which is diverse, creative and experienced.
Then you have your developers who have 30 seconds to develop an elevator style pitch.
The developers travel down an escalator and once it reaches the bottom, the judges choose if they want to hear more by selecting on their iPads either ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ in what feels like a ‘Voice’ style chair spin moment but with tech.
In my opinion, there is no better way of bringing that ‘elevator pitch’ to life. And this isn't where the business language and acronyms stop.
Once you pair up with a judge who becomes your mentor you go on to a development phase where you have 6 weeks before you are in front of a VC (venture capitalist) in hopes for an investment to turn your app into a credible business.
So why is this different to the ‘Shark Tank’ model or any other show where the investor, be it Simon Cowell, Peter Jones or Mark Cuban seeks a return on investment from the product, be it a person or an invention?
Well with this model, we understand the journey more from all aspects. Unlike other shows which can come across as a popularity contest or an investors way to justify their relevance by boasting about what they do and why they are amazing and how much money they have, Planet of the Apps helps you understand the developer, the product, the journey and process that has taken place, the mentor (which is an underrated aspect) and through to the investor and the journey of what they are looking for with relevant feedback which leads to the ‘take to market’ which is where the show leads.
You see, the star of the show in this instance is the talent, being the developer and the product, not the investor.
When we watch other platforms, once there has been a fight of who's more popular, you don't see any other part of the journey past the handshake and % split of investment.
Planet of the Apps shows a fascinating part of the journey which becomes it’s USP and differentiator.
Understand this, there are often people that go on shows like Dragons Den/Shark Tank or The Voice/Pop Idol not because they want the money so much, but because they want the contact book or the investor. They want the platform to talk to people that can make decisions and for that, they have to make a sacrifice. Is the return on investment fair for the inventor or artist? That’s a matter of opinion.
In this instance, the developer is paired with a mentor who gives valuable advice and experience for no return and we go on a journey as the business model grows. Apple also includes you in the production by breaking down the acronyms, which is something the other shows leave out assuming you know, however, this really brings the show to life and helps you become part of the journey.
As you build your business plan and pitch for the venture capitalists, your mentor comes with you to the pitch to validate your App and business model which brings credibility to the table from a reliable backer.
This is extremely rare and rounded. This show is 360 and the real deal. Regardless of the whether you get an investment and backing from the venture capitalist you then end with a ‘take to market’ where Apple will tell the viewers where you can download the apps featured on the show and effectively market the app to its viewer with an update of where the App is now.
Unlike in the other shows where we only see the finishing product months or even years down the line if we so happen to stumble across it on a shelf in a supermarket, or see an endorsement labels “as seen on Shark Tank” which the episode has now been lost or even if we see a music single launch and then we revisit the journey. In this instance, the ‘call to action’ is reversed. Here’s the product, this is the personality behind it, the journey it went on, now go and get it!
Far from, “here’s a show, here’s the sob story, insert popularity contest”, now we’ll miss the journey and then hopefully you’ll see this on a shelf at some point and then put the two journeys together. At this point we either go back to search for the episode it was on or wait for the next series to launch where they introduce a “Where are they now”, episode.
For those that are complaining about the product placement from Apple, I’d love to understand the issue here? In this show, Apple is the university or even the agency that bring these people together. Apple created the App Store which has revolutionised the mobile industry and the platform for the show. Why shouldn't we see their products?
It brings a clean aesthetic to the show and helps bring the products to life.
Now check it out for yourself -