Mobile apps are a part of our everyday lives. In fact, it’s hard to imagine what life was like before the smartphone. As apps continue to evolve, their roles are changing in how they impact our well-being. Fourdesire’s CEO, Wei-Fan Chan, talks about his journey and the future of mobile apps.
After graduating from National Taiwan University,Wei-Fan Chan realized early on there was a lack of companies incorporating the playfulness of mobile games for the betterment of society.
In 2012 he chose to create a company that would embody the fun of games into solving problems, improving people’s lives and contributing to the overall benefit of society. Through the use of advanced technology techniques and the engaging entertainment of games was born Fourdesire, a company that uses gamification apps to help improve people’s lives.
What is your personal background prior to starting Fourdesire?
I graduated from National Taiwan University (NTU) with a master’s degree in computer-aid engineering (CAE) of civil engineering. All my college life was around civil engineering, from structural engineering to material physics. When I started to study in the graduate school of CAE, I hadplenty of experience not only of understanding computer science and information technology, but also on using them as a tool to extend the mechanisms of buildings, furniture and facilities to strengthen people’s lives.We had a Smart Living lab that researched human-computer interfaces, cognitive behavior and so on. Based on my experience and background, I have the ability and desire to use technology to make people’s lives better.
How did you get the idea to start Fourdesire?
Regardless of age, playing a game is always one of the best ways to learn. Through entertaining games, we can learn valuable skills, cultivate habits, and even solve the most common problems we face in everyday life. After graduate school, I wanted to join a company which carried all these traits, but I found none. So why not start one ourselves? Fourdesire began in the summer of 2012 when a group of friends got together and began discussing how fun gamescould be used to solve problems and improve lives.
What makes Fourdesire different from other mobile app development agencies?
There are a lot of fitness, finance or utility apps on the market, but most are geared towards people who already have the habits. We wanted to design an app that uses gamification to help beginners cultivate new habitsmore easily.
It seems many of your games are not just for playing but meant to help improve people’s lives in some way. Where does that desire come from?
There are two forces driving me to make innovative games. First, I believe “playing” is still an extremely important activity in people’s lives, and that playful attitude is important to drive people to do what they want in a pleasurable way. Secondly, when I completed graduate school, my professor told all the students that he hoped we could have some meaningful contribution to society. Driven by the combination of playful thinking and the common good of society, I believe making meaningful gamification appscan make the world a better place.
How do you stay ahead in the very competitive mobile app marketplace?
In 2008, Apple announced and launched the App Store, and now it has already been 10 years since the development of mobile apps.Today, people can find all kinds of utilities, from a basic calendar and calculator to a more complex running recorder and recipe application. Because of this, our apps aim to build an experience beyond the utilities. In a sense, Fourdesire is not only to provide useful utilities and services, but also to offer playful and rich experiences which most customers are looking for in this era.
What mobile app trends do you see for 2018 and beyond?
We see a continued acceptance of mobile apps that create wonderful and extraordinary experiences. There will be more apps to provide an interesting way to learn languages, expressive waysfor interacting with people, playful approaches to do your daily routines and so on.
What is your management philosophy as it relates to your team?
In order to embrace innovation, my key management philosophy is balance. First, the balance of development paces: when to release new features quickly and when we to have time to conceive new ideas. Secondly, the balanced interaction of team members: when we need to focus on the director’s thought as we are shooting a film, and when we need to share the diverse ideas from team members. Finally, the balance of convention and innovation. We’d like to bring new things to the market, but sometimes we need to stop and think if the market can embrace it now.
What are some mistakes you’ve made that you’ve learned from?
My management philosophy is balance. However, sometimes I would get the wrong sense and make a wrong pacing decision, such as spending too much time developing a new feature but missing a good release time. Sometimes I didn’t notice there was a fatal bug in our apps, but we chose a slow pace on development and it led to major damage. What I’ve learned is how to get the “key magic number,” such as crash-free rate, daily retention, daily new install, how many tasks to solve a week, and the frequency ofcustomer complaints from the company, team members, and digital console to help make decisions.
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