Steve Young, host of the Mobile App Chat podcast, shares with us his experience creating his first iPhone game reskin, following the step by step online video course to create an iPhone Pinball game. Listen how he now ranks number 1 in the app store for the search word Kickboxer.

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Podcast Transcript

steve young mobile app development

Welcome to the Mobile App Flipping Podcast. This is your host, Yohann Taieb.
My goal is to help you get the most out of risk-killing apps. Whether you’re already a full-time entrepreneur or trying to get a business going, this podcast is for you. We will be interviewing professionals that are already doing app risk-killing for a living. We will also invite source code sellers to get to learn about what they have to offer. And finally, we will talk to industry experts to learn how to become more productive at flipping apps. And now, without further ado, let’s get started.
Today, I have an amazing guest. He’s actually legendary. He’s the Mobile App chat podcast host. His name is Steve P. Young. Welcome Steve.

What’s up, Yohann? I felt like a wrestling intro.
Well, wrestling, that’s a good point that you bring this over. We’re going to talk about boxing later on. So, Steve, can you tell us a little bit about your background, who you are, and how you ended up being in this mobile industry, and especially how you end up having this podcast?

Sure. So, I started developing apps back in 2011. I started creating apps because I saw my son, who was 18 months at the time, really started interacting with my iPhone and started playing games and really learning from these games. And so, I wanted to build an app just for him, because if nobody bought the app, at least I would have at least one user. And so, I started building apps then, and my first ever app launched, and within the first week, it hit number eight under educational games. Now, this was at a time when it was less competition. And so, it was a free app, and it was doing pretty well. And ever since then, you know, I’ve kind of been doing on the side, but I started the podcast because I wanted to learn more about the industry.
I was kind of doing as a hobby. I really wanted to go, you know, headfirst into this industry and really learn from the experts. So, I’ve had you on the podcast. I’ve had other people on like the Shazam, Yahoo, weather, tap bots, clear. I’ve had all these guys on just so I can learn from every individual about marketing, about idea generation, about design, about all the things about the mobile industry. And so, that’s essentially what I, why I started the podcast.

Yeah, definitely. I mean, if you look in any podcast or there isn’t that much stuff about, you know, mobile app stuff, you know, and like development. So, you’re really like right there on top. And that’s definitely an industry that’s going to keep maturing and expanding. But today, we’re not here to just talk about your mobile app podcast. We’re here to talk about what you’ve done lately with me.
So, I challenged you to use one of my courses, which was the pinball source code that’s available
within the course on Udemy. And I asked you to go through it and create your own pinball game and publish it in the App Store. Now, I know that you already have some experience with the whole process since you’ve already created a bunch of apps. However, you’ve never done the development yourself or the rescuing part of it yourself. Am I right?

Yeah, no, I use Corona for developing my apps. And so, this was your course, which was fantastic, by the way, like very detailed and took me, it was the first time I ever used Xcode. And so, allowed me to really kind of figure out like, how am I supposed to use Xcode? Because I’ve never used it before. And I tried to learn it. I just, it just went way over my head. And so, it was fantastic. But yeah, it was a great experience. Like, I just wanted to kind of figure out, test my ASO skills to see if I can actually do something with it.
Now, I actually use the keyword list that you put out there. And I say, well, I don’t want to, you already did all the work. Like, why don’t I have to do any work? And so, I used the keyword list.
And I found out that Kickboxer was one that had high traffic low competition. And so, I was trying to optimize for Kickboxer pinball. So, that’s what the pinball game is. Yeah, let me explain what that keyword list is about. Because I haven’t talked about it during my podcast yet.

Basically, on my website,, there’s a section where you can find a bunch of lists, like alphabetical lists of words, keywords that have a high surge volume and very low competition. So, basically, if you’re short of ideas or you really want to have those, those, those amazing keywords that are going to bring lots of downloads, you definitely should use those.

Yeah. Now, that’s exactly, what you talked about is exactly what I had in mind when I created that course. It wasn’t really about the game and making thousands of dollars of the game. It was about the whole process. So, I tried to find the game that would be, you know, playable, such as a pinball game. But simple enough that it only requires a couple images and sounds here and there to change, you know. And you can go through your whole process from, you know, getting your license, your developer license, opening Xcode, getting familiar with Xcode, getting familiar with all those advertising channels, like charboost or revmob, and then publishing it to the app store and going through the review.

So, definitely. And I’m glad you had to go through it. And both of us actually have have downloaded a pretty much some kind of a dual, if you think about it.
Right. Yeah. So, we selected the boxing team on a pinball game. So, I like your graphics better.

But I think we should tell the listeners that I’m actually beating you in terms of downloads. But you’re crushing it in terms of ad revenue. So, I don’t know how that is.

Yeah. I don’t know what happened with yours. It’s so low, especially on your, I think, on your charboost, right? It’s like a couple of dollars. I don’t know how, how come weird. It was fun.
And, you know, after I went through a course, I was like, this is kind of a dig team because allyou got to really do is change a couple of images and then put a look, you know, the icons and then maybe change the music. And I didn’t even change the music. I’m using the default music that you gave me. But like the next skin I wanted to do was like, I wanted to change the music a little bit. But yeah, it’s so easy. I’m like, this is so, this is kind of fun. They’re going to get it out there and just test your ASO skills.

Yeah, definitely. I have some students, you know, they’re messaging me every day and same thing. It was their first. And now they keep rescuing. And next thing, you know, now they’re buying more source code from other people and and even hiring graphic designers. And it’s amazing, you know, they were, it was totally new to them.
And now they’re like doing it, like, like, I’m doing it right now. Right. So yeah, it’s pretty awesome, man. Yeah, thank you. Thank you. I’m actually very happy to have transformed all those people, you know, like, in the sense, I give them all those tools. And I was some kind of a catalyst, you know, I just had them go to the next level.

That’s right. Yeah. Yeah.

So let’s talk about the reskinning process that you had to go through. What did you think about the course and the documentation?

That was great. I think it was really easy to follow. Like, as somebody who wasn’t really familiar with Xcode, that was fantastic. Like, I was able to really finish all of that within
a couple of hours, you know, and your thing was very detailed. You walked us through step by step on what you had to do. And so I think it’s a great course for anybody wanting to get started
and just the app game, as I like to call it, just get started with the rescuing kind of get a sense of how you’re going to do ASO because that’s going to be very important. And, you know,
I’ve been doing a lot of app marketing for a couple of different companies and it’s hard, man. It’s very difficult to get some press out of your app. And so, you know, what we want to do is also use ASO to kind of get some exposure. And this is one perfect way to test those skills.
Yeah, definitely. The fact that, you know, you can, it’s really cheap. Like, basically, creating that pinball game that doesn’t involve much assets.

So, technically, you can try many different teams or many different keywords and, you know, different icons. And it will really quick and you can see the difference. You know, what is it that users like and what is it that users don’t like? And, you know, and just take this good stuff and just shift it and implement it in bigger games.

Yeah, yeah. It was cool. And, you know, I ranked number one for Kickboxer. And there’s only two apps. So, it’s not that hard. There you go. I was like looking at the download numbers. It’s not too bad. Like, you know, like for an app that just took me a couple hours to put together, it was like, wow, this is not too bad. Yeah, you know what’s great is that actually now you have reserved that Kickboxer word in the sense that in the future, if you actually want to make another app or a game that involves kickboxing, you already have this keyword reserved for you in the sense that you can reuse this spot and create a new game out of this.

Yeah. Now, that’s a good point. And I’ve been actually thinking about that as you bring that up because I’ve been thinking about like what people really want when they search for Kickboxer,
because I know they probably don’t want a pinball game.

Exactly. Exactly. So, I’m like, what do they want? Because I know I can rank well for this keyword. Like, what do they really want? Maybe it’s exercises. Maybe it’s training centers. And I started just googling Kickboxer and it’s always the movie, the Van Dam movie. But yeah, I’ve been trying to think about like what other spins we can put on the Kickboxer term to try to rank well for it and probably try to better monetize. Yeah, definitely. I mean, you came out with the theme of the Kickboxing team on the pinball game. And when you said that to me, I’m like, really, you know, so I started to do some research. And so, you know, I mean, if we can do with this Kickboxing team, we can do it with any other theme. That’s true. Yeah. Yeah. Now, let’s talk about the frameworks involved.

So you didn’t have to touch anything, right? Like you put the game inside of Xcode and things work straight out of the box, right? Or did you have an issue?

No, I mean, super easy. I mean, super easy. It was just like a no brainer. I mean, I think it was because I got I’ve been doing this a little bit. And so there are some tools I already had like, there’s one tool that I think most app developers either know about or probably don’t know about, but it’s iconify. And I was like, okay, that really helped me. So all you got to do is iconify will take your big icon image and then you put it into the program and it’ll pretty much resize everything for you for all iTunes. So from like 70, just all the different sizes you’re going to need for your icon. And that helped out a lot in terms of just timing. But yeah, I mean, I think everything else in terms of being able to use Xcode as somebody who’s never used Xcode, it was really simple to follow, changing the different parameters here and there and so forth. And so yeah, I didn’t have any problems whatsoever with it. Okay, excellent. Now, is there, I know you’re working on a nap now. So let’s talk about it. Now this has nothing to do with ad flipping or re-skimming.

You actually creating an app from scratch, right?


Can you talk more about it?

Yeah, sure. I think you’re talking about the O snap. So I think it’s a camera app that it’s gone through various name changes, but it’s it’s O snap and it allows you to take a picture by tapping anywhere in the screen and thought of the idea more because I was trying to take a picture of my newborn. And I was holding her in my arms and I think she was sleeping at the time. But I was like, oh, she’s so cute. Like, let me take a picture over and I just couldn’t do it because I couldn’t find the stick and button to do it. And she’s just angling it very differently. The phone. And so I was like, why, you know, like, I don’t get why I have to actually hit a button. I get it. There’s focus and all this other junk that allows you to do it when you tap on the screen. But I just felt like it wasn’t enough. And so this whole process, because I’ve done the podcast, I’ve really tried to use the lessons I learned from other people into the development of this of this app. And so the very first thing I did was try to think of the headline that I want to use for the app. So I have the idea. I’m like, well, what’s the right headline? And the different variations went from the app, the camera app for the one-handed parent. Or and then now I’m like, well, maybe it’s more like the app, the perfect app for the selfies. Because what I did after I had the headlines, the different headlines, I posted an ad on Craigslist and said, hey, I’m looking for a beta tester for an iPhone app. And I’m willing to pay you. Would you, somebody applied? It was a perfect.
And I got on a Google Hangout with her and she happened to be a teenager, which, you know, like, it’s probably the target market for this app. And I was telling her the idea. And she’s like, yeah, I really like that idea, Steve, because you know what, when I take selfies, I actually use the rear-facing camera because it is higher quality. I’m like, oh, really? I’m like, how do you do that? Like, how do you actually look? How do you make sure that, you know, you’re actually capturing your face then? And she’s like, well, I just take a bunch of them and then I upload the ones I really like.
But, you know, like, I started the whole process early. So this was just like an idea. I was like, hey, Yohann, I have this idea. Here’s what the basic premise is. What do you think about it? And I did it on video because I got a sense to really see, like, how she interacted with it. Like, you know, because it’s hard to fake it on video. You know, on audio, like, oh, it’s such a great idea. And when I’m like, no, no, no, I’m thinking of that idea. And so, yeah, I mean, it started that process early. And then I’m going to start reaching out to bloggers really early on. And so every, I think everything is just starting earlier to talking to really users. And before you even developed the app and showing the lock, because if she said she hated it, I might have just thrown it away and not developed it.

I see what you mean. But, you know, you can’t, it’s hard to just judge it on the one person. You know, you may have to have a different panel. And it may not fit her,
but it may fit someone, no, totally different crowd.

Yeah. No. And I talked to a mom blogger too that same day just to get a sense of what her idea was. She wasn’t as enthusiastic about it. And so, yeah, it’s in beer. You’re right. And it’s important to talk to more than one people, one of the one person. But, you know, the more I talk it, talk about it with other people, the more, I mean, I’m fine. I’m feeling out that most people are like, nah, you shouldn’t do it. I’m like, that kind of fuels me too. I’m like, watch me.
And so we’ll see. But yeah, trying to talk to the right people is probably the right way to go.

Yeah, definitely. But, you know, sometimes I like to talk about this angry bird idea. You know, like, I mean, think about Rovio, the guy, you know, going to a party and say, yeah, I’m working on this app. I’m going to throw birds at pigs. You know, it’s an amazing idea. It’s going to make billions. You know, you got my phone, like everyone would say, like, it’s insane. You know, like, don’t even, don’t even try. You know? So, don’t let anyone push you down.

Yeah, yeah, it’s a good point. That’s a good point. But it is important to talk to people. I mean, people are too like, yeah, I think a lot of it is we don’t want people to say that’s a bad idea. And so, we try to keep it inside. And I think when we say that we don’t want anybody to steal it, we’re really saying is we don’t want anybody to hate the idea in return. But, you know, like, nobody’s gonna steal your ideas. So I try to talk about it a lot. And I’ve talked to every, almost everybody. And they’ve given me great suggestions on the functions and everything else.

Yeah. Also, one of the, one of the my ex interviews that I don’t with his, his name was Austin.He said something very interesting. He was like, maybe your idea is amazing. Everything’s great. But if people are not hungry of this product, then not much can happen about it. In the sense that are people willing to buy it or even get to use it? Even though, you know,
it may be great. But are they willing to do this extra step of downloading it and using it?

So that’s definitely something that we get to take into account. In the sense that whenever you get people to try your app, you want to make sure that they would come back to it. Or, you know, it would become something like a natural process to just open your app and, and, and use it.

Yeah. And I love, you know, that’s a great point. And I love the carrot app. Are you familiar with the carrot app? It’s a to-do list app. And it’s just that’s right. Yes. And it has, it does a great job with the notifications because it’s actually funny. Like, it, it, it pings me and I’m like, that’s funny. Like, I would use this app instead of just saying like, hey, we have a sale or come back, somebody’s hungry or whatever it is, these stupid notifications on most apps. But carrot apps, like, tries to insult you or like, hey, were you been or like, what are you being lazy today?
Like, you know, it really is more engaging and different. And I, I love the notifications. I actually like receiving the notifications. And you turn up most of the notifications off,
but carrot app does a great job of using the notifications and being a little more clever about it.

All right. Excellent. And I believe you put also a limit on the how much money and time you want to put and invest, right? Yeah. Yeah. We’re probably going to break the rules a little bit
because what I found out Yohann is that I like to move too fast in a point where like, I like to just ship rather than really think things through. I’m like, done is better than perfect. And this time I’ve learned that I bear slow down. Like, I should slow down and really think about the marketing strategy, how I want to get it known. And so I’m going to break the rules a little bit in terms of when we need to release it and also the budget because I’m probably going to go a little bit over budget. But at the same time, I’m going to document everything and some of the marketing ideas I have about this idea. And so, you know, like, I want to make, I want to make sure I do it right rather than just rushing it out. Yeah. I see. I mean, lately, especially those past two years, everyone’s been saying, oh, you have to create the MVP, you know, most valuable, minimum valuable product. And you have to ship it as soon as possible and keep iterating and pivoting if need be. And definitely, however, as you say, you need to have this right pace. You know, don’t try to rush it because you may be missing something along the way, something that’s crucial to the health of the app. Well, that’s a good point. But I think it really depends on your personality. I like, I took this personality test and it said it was just like, you know, some of my pitfalls is the fact that I tried to move too fast and I have to use. So the primary trigger that I have, this is kind of crazy, but primary trigger I have is a rebel. So I have more of a, I want to be different type of mentality. And then the second secondary trigger is passion.
And so with those two combined, I tend to move really fast. And it’s a user passion to slow down a little bit. And so I’m used to moving, you know, I read this great article by Dayton McClure. And he’s like, you know, if you’re used to moving at 195 miles per hour, then 95 miles per hour is actually that’s slowing down for you. But that’s most, that’s fast for me. It’s fast already.

Yes. Yeah. So if you’re the type that says like, I want to make everything perfect. I want to get everything right. Then, you know, I would say go turn the other way and make build an MVP. But I’m more the other way, like I like to ship things really fast, even if it’s not perfect. And so I have to use that and like slow things down a little bit and like let it mature a little bit. So it really depends on your personality and really figuring out who you are and then going at that right pace for you.

Okay. And now you’re going to have even more free time because I mean more time to spend into it because 2014 is your year, right?
2014 it is. Yes. So tell us about what you’re planning on doing. Yes.

So I’m actually leaving my full-time gig. I started the podcast while I was at a corporate job still. I’m still at the corporate job right now as of this recording. But yeah, I mean,
it’s been crazy in terms of like recording time. Like, you know, you and I have talked and it was like 6 am my time. And and so like it’s it’s been hard. But I’m finally taking a leap. And in one of my episodes, I really opened up in terms of, you know, I really shared how much I make from the apps, how many downloads the podcast gets like every insecurity that I pretty much had. And it really opened up to a whole different audience in my eye. That’s when people started really reaching out saying like Steve, like I had to reach out to you. I had to email you after that episode. And other people said, you know, like I felt like I shouldn’t have listened at all. Like I shouldn’t have been there. And I think it it goes to the power of like being vulnerable and showing the vulnerable side. Like we can all get on this podcast and say life is beautiful. I love skinny. And I love my apps are doing so great. But you know, in the the real me is like I wake up certain days. And you know, I’m I’m getting relieved this job. And I feel comfortable leaving it because I’ve been able to build up my consulting business to the point where I’m like, okay, I’m not going from what I’m making now to this is completely zero. And so but there are days when I wake up like Steve, what are you thinking doing? Like I’m tired. I’m loody. And I don’t want to go on. And I’m like, you know, it would be so easy for me to stay at this corporate job. But you know, it’s it’s hard. And you know, sometimes I just feel like I don’t I think I know where I’m going.
But I have no idea if it’s the right direction either. But you know, you keep moving. And you know, we talked about this before you hit record. But you just keep moving. And you’ll find a way. And so I feel like I have a plan in place. Who knows if it’s the right plan. But having a plan in place all just as I go. Yeah. And definitely my audience needs to benefit from that in the sense that, you know, when you’re starting a risk-killing apps and you know, and flipping apps, most of the people doing on the site, you know, they may have a full-time job already
or doing something already full-time. No one, no one, very few people just, you know, break the rule and say, okay, I’m going to just stop everything I was doing till today. And now I’m
just going to dive into mobile app flipping. It doesn’t really happen that way. So there’s this period that you just went through which is this transitioning period. Actually, it’s not over for you. You still in the middle of it. And it’s pretty the most demanding time of your life, you know, since that you have a family, you have a full-time job. You need to keep going your podcast and you know exactly where this is going to bring you. But like you said, you get to keep moving. And there’s something you said about football, right? About the legs. Yeah. What’s that expression again?

Yes. So I mean, I like to use this football analogy because as a running back, right? And they teach you that no matter if you get hit or not, you just keep your legs moving. And you know,
you’ll find a way out of the pile. And so long as you keep your legs moving, no matter who hits you, wherever they’re coming from, just keep your legs moving and stay low. And I mean, and I try to just say, yeah, keep your legs moving. Like have a plan. And you know, I think people talk too much about going all in. You have to go all in. You got to give all your job and like really focus on something.
I’m like, I don’t, I don’t absolutely agree with that because a lot of us don’t have that luxury. I have a family. I have a mortgage. I have two kids, a newborn. And it’s like, I can’t just go all in and leave my job, right? Like I got, we’re going to be homeless then, right? And so how do I build? So it was like, I started the podcast in May. And now I’m leaving in December. So it wasn’t like this overnight thing took me really seven months to kind of figure out all everything out. And now I’m like, okay, I actually have a plan. Like I know what I’m doing. And I started the podcast really like, I have no idea what I’m doing. I just like doing a podcast. I like talking to people.
And I like learning from people. So I’m going to continue doing this. And when I built up the audience, the audience really told me what they wanted. And I listened to them. And now it’s like, okay, I’m building a mastermind for app newerers to kind of like, because I’ve gotten so much value out of the mastermind that I’m currently in. And I thought, like, let’s just focus on the mobile app space. And I’m, you know, like, there’s all these things are coming out of the podcast. I’ve been able to get consulting clients because of the podcast because people see me as being very well connected. And also I have a marketing background. So they feel like I can help them with that. And so, you know, like, I built this platform without knowing what was going to become. And then through listening to people, like, it’s become something that’s bigger than I ever thought it would be.

Excellent. Excellent. All right. Now, I have a bunch of, you know, very generic questions. Now, I know you have this, you’re setting this mastermind. And there’s going to be lots of great
resources there. How do we join or how do we get the in touch with you so we can learn more about that mastermind?

Yeah. So I don’t know when this is going out, but the application process is probably going to be closed here behind by the time it goes out. So I’ve gotten a lot of great responses from this mastermind. I’m completely humbled by it. But I’m closing the applications on December 6. You can still apply if you want to go to mobile app chat club. That’s You’ll find an application there. I’ll let people, the first batch of people that I’m letting in, I want to stick with probably just 10 to kind of work out the kinks because, you know, like I’ll tell you, I’ll be honest, I don’t know exactly how I want to do this. But I do know the vision, the grand vision that I have in my head. And I talk to people. So during the 15-minute call, I kind of get a sense of what people really want out of this mastermind. I just build exactly what they’re looking for. And so yeah, I think it’s probably going to be closed. And if you want to get in on the next round, then I’m happy to go ahead and apply. But the response has been very humbling.

Excellent. I’m glad he’s working out for you. Now, meanwhile, for those people that can get in, is there any online resources you’d recommend for them?

Yeah, absolutely. So I put this ebook together. Besides the podcast, because I think it’s a fantastic resource. But I put this ebook together for people who want to join my mailing list. But I’ll give it away for free for your listeners, you know, huh? Thanks, I appreciate it. Yeah, it’s a top 10 insights from her on the mobile app chat podcast. And so it’s the insights from Shazam, Yahoo, weather. Let’s see, apps, fire, songs, all these like really top guys and what they give you in terms of like advice on when, on what to do when you’re building a mobile app.

All right, excellent. I really appreciate it, Steve. So for my audience, you can go and then or leave it on you can get it on the, okay? Then we’ll be in the show notes
in Steve’s archives. All right, Steve. So this has been absolutely amazing. Is there anything you’d like to add?

Well, I’m only laughing because I always say that. I don’t know. I’ve probably got this from you, man. Good. It took me a while to kind of figure out what I wanted to
transition into it. No, Yohann, this is awesome, man. Thank you. And thank you for, you know, always being there for me and kind of being there early on with my podcast and my journey. You’ve been an awesome friend. And I just love talking to you. And so let’s definitely keep in touch. I’m glad you’re doing this podcast because it’s been valuable to me. And, you know, I think anybody out there who they want to get into space or they want to just learn more about it, like start start your own platform and kind of go talk to the experts out there. And they’re more willing to talk than you think they are because it’s easier to get somebody onto a podcast where there’s an audience rather than saying like, Hey, Steve, you want to go for a coffee? I’m like, well, I’m just talking to you, right? And like, how can I talk to more people? And so the really people, the really busy people want to talk to more than just one person because that’s where they get the most impact. And so I also go start your platform.

Yeah, absolutely right. Well, thanks for everything, Steve.

And for my audience, go check out

Okay. Thank you, Steve, for everything. And we keep in touch.

Cool. Thanks, Yohann.

Thanks for listening to the mobile app flipping podcast. If you find this podcast interesting, please subscribe on iTunes and leave us a review. And sharing is caring. So spread the word. You can also follow me on Twitter at Yohann305. That’s YOHANN305. Also, come to, You’ll find all the episodes, the show notes, and resources to make you more productive. See you at the next episode.