Interviewing Greg Raiz from Raizlabs – Top Boston App Developer
We’re featuring Raizlabs today as part of our Top App Developers Interview series. Here we’re in conversation with their founder Greg Raiz, 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:
Ajay: To begin with, can you introduce yourself and tell us about how Raizlabs started and its journey to become one of the Google recognized agencies?
Greg: Sure! I started my company 13 years ago. Prior to starting the company I spent some time in a role at Microsoft running products over there. I started Raizlabs with the focus of building excellence in software design and development and so we started doing mobile as soon as the App Store became available. We had some of the very first apps in the app store and focused on UX and product excellence. We built up a national reputation for quality and excellence. We have built products in Health & Fitness, Medical, E-commerce, IoT and through our work we have been recognized by some of the leading companies in the country. We have been working with a lot of F500 companies on their most challenging projects, not only on mobile but also web and infrastructure as well.
Raizlabs started working with Google on a number of initiatives in terms of product excellence and how to make things better. There is a lot of agencies that will do very basic versions of android product and put in lot of time and energy on the iPhone version. We think it is incredibly important to build fantastic iPhone versions but they cut corners when it comes to Android. We got on Google’s radar for doing exemplary work on android product, in particular we were recognized by Google last year winning one of only six awards. We won the Google I/O Material Design award for our work in B&H Photo and that put us on the radar for our relationship with Google allowing us to become a certified Google agency. We built a number of products across iOS and Android that helped set us apart nationally.
A: Great! Raizlabs has its presence in the East coast as well as the West coast. So how similar or how different are the markets? How do you observe the markets?
G: We view our company as a national company and not as a regional company. Our offices allow us to attract the best talent in the world. Our Boston office attract talent from up and down the East coast and our California office attracts talents from the West coast. This allow us to serve our clients better. Our offices make it easy for us to communicate and talk to our clients and customers. Most of our clients are national brands and companies and so they have offices all over the United States and throughout the world as well.
A: Alright! Like you said, Raizlabs is one of the few Google certified agencies. Can you tell us about how it actually happened?
G: It was an application process where we had to go through a number of tests and certifications to show our depth and expertise in building applications that not only have a high quality but have also maintain the high quality while being downloaded by millions of people. Google has a number of requirements to meet in that certification process and we made through all of those.We were one of the first 13 companies globally to be recognized.
A: Being in the app development field all these years, what do you hate in the apps that you use frequently?
G: Quality! There are number of apps with poor choice of technologies, they have cut corners where they didn’t have to and there are number of companies that don’t see the opportunity to build things well. We see this a lot, they do an “okay” job in terms of rating, product design and development that causes customer frustration and support issues. We really challenge and partner with our clients to produce the best products.
A: Great! In the recent days everyone are talking about Artificial Intelligence and Chatbots! Do you feel that mobile apps still have life or is it being overtaken by Bot? What is your take on the current app market?
G: When is the last time you used a chatbot for user interaction?
A: I haven’t used one!
G: Most people haven’t yet. People are interacting through mobile and stats show that a lot of the companies (especially F500) are seeing more traffic and user engagement move to mobile. The global trend shows that mobile apps are at 50-60% of engagement in terms of where people are spending their time. Mobile traffic is growing so a lot of companies have their interaction through mobile and there is a lot of room for it to continue to grow.
We are investing in new technologies, especially voice, chat, IoT, AI and VR. I think these technologies will emerge and become more common in day-to-day interactions. Our company spends a lot of time building those technologies and learning about them and educating clients about what those technologies mean for their core business. But it’s still emerging. So that’s something we are keeping our eye on. We want to push the edges of technology to build better experiences but we don’t want to bring a technology to a large audience until it’s ready. Mobile and web will continue to dominate the opportunities for technology business.
A: Okay! Just like any startups I’m sure you would have went through a rough patch at some point of time. What did you tell yourself to keep going?
G: We build technology to improve people’s lives and so if we are doing the job we are making a difference. So when anything is challenging we go back to “Are we making a difference?” If we are making a difference that makes the hard things that much easier.
A: That’s great! As the last question, what expert advice you would give someone who is starting his own company?
G: I’d say focus on quality and excellence! Focus on doing things right for people, for users and not just about making money. It is easier to make money but harder to make a difference. Making the difference is what helps the company to be successful in a long term.
A: Great! Thanks for your time Greg. Much appreciated.
G: Thank you! All the best!