Interviewing Mark Kasdorf From Intrepid – Top Boston app developer
We’re featuring Intrepid today as part of our Top App Developers Interview series. Here we’re in conversation with their founder Mark Kasdorf, who takes us through the company’s journey & gives his view on the current state of the tech industry. Here are some excerpts from our interview with him:
To start with, tell us a bit about your company – how you started out and how you’ve made it this far.
Intrepid started out as a few friends doing iOS consulting in 2010. With the app explosion in 2011, Intrepid grew to meet demand and established a reputation as a valuable partner and thought leader in mobile. Six years later, Intrepid is a thriving organisation that still holds people as a core value.
So you’ve ranked first in Boston, congrats! What would you consider to be your USP – anything that you’re especially known for?
We think that Intrepid’s secret sauce is a combination of our product strategy expertise, software process, and our top notch talent. Intrepid has led many client engagements that have helped us gain insight into businesses both large and small, and that has allowed us to really refine our methodology to make our clients the most successful.
What is the most common thing your customers ask you?
Customers always want to know how long it takes to build an app. This answer varies, of course. Apps are software, and more complex software requires a more significant time investment. We’ve had prototypes that we have finished in a matter of weeks, and others that have gone on for more than a year. Most importantly, we find that setting expectations and continuing to communicate as things develop drives success.
What drives your company in building successful apps for brands like Adidas, P&G,..You guys have diverse set of brands associated with you. Tell us about your experience with top brands. How did you get associated with world renowned brands.
With many of our earlier clients, our portfolio as well as personal referrals were our ins. Having a beautiful body of work means a lot to big brands, especially for consumer-facing applications.
AI & Bots are becoming the next thing. What’s your take? Are you thinking of adopting?
We love that the future has AI & bots to assist with everyday tasks. We have an office Echo and we’re big fans of companies like Jibo that are making interesting inroads in the space.
AI & bots aren’t always the right solution for every problem, but a more conversational, casual platform can be beneficial for some use cases. For example, we worked on a bot that helped people understand financial planning for a client application, and are doing more and more work with speech recognition and IBM’s Watson program. So yes, we are definite adopters.
What do you think will be the next big change in your company 3 to 5 years from now?
From a company perspective, probably the biggest change will be more locations. From a tech perspective, we think that VR and AR might take off. IoT & firmware is already a huge part of the mobile product industry and we’re very immersed in that space.
What’s your vision with the app economy in general.
Our company vision is to put an Intrepid-made product in the pocket of every person on the planet. That’s a pretty big goal, and it means constant innovation, working with top clients, and vigilantly updating our process to be best in class.
What do you know now that you wish you had known when you started?
I wish we had built a more structured apprentice program sooner. It’s become an integral part of Intrepid. The program has certainly grown a lot since its beginnings, and over the years, we’ve developed a concrete process and structure for apprentices that equips them with the skills they need to work as part of the development and design teams at Intrepid.
What is the best hack you’ve discovered about running a startup?
Keeping your people happy by showing, not telling, that you care, is extremely important.
What ideas/tips would you give new entrepreneurs?
Don’t be afraid to ask others for advice. There are a lot of knowledgeable people in every community–reach out and you’ll find many people are there to help you learn from (and avoid) their mistakes.
Few things that you told yourself and kept you going through your struggling phase?
Do something productive every single day and maintain a routine.
How would you describe an ‘app’ if I knew nothing about it or the market?
A program for your phone that often times can help you get something done better or more efficiently.
If you had a list of “Best kept secrets” what would you add and why?
Transparency within the company and with our clients has been essential to our growth and the quality of work we produce.
What expert tip would you recommend giving only your best friend and to those who reading this blog?
Leave room for fun! Intrepid’s people are what the company’s most valuable asset. Set aside time to organise team gatherings and build a family feel.
To end with give an example of an interesting app that you worked with recently and its core functionality which might have been very challenging or a breakthrough for you.
We just released the WBUR Listen app, which is a first-of-its kind radio listening application for Boston’s NPR station. While it might seem simple on the surface, the technology behind being able to tap into a high quality audio stream without dropping, and scrub to different sections of a segment is actually quite complex.