Why I Might Short Nintendo Stock

Pokemon Go sighting on the beach

This morning, I read that Nintendo’s stock has more than doubled since the release of Pokemon Go and, as of this writing, Nintendo is worth more than Sony. A couple of days ago, Pokemon Go surpassed Twitter in active daily users and Facebook in engagement. Wherever you go, it seems, there are hordes of people catching enigmatic little virtual monsters and crying out with glee.

Last weekend, it was my family’s turn to have a go at it. We were at the beach and my children wanted to show the game to my technophobic wife. Nineteen captures (and about 5000 steps on my FitBit) later even my wife was delighting in collecting little red balls at the PokeStop that happened to be on the location of the final, climactic scene of Planet of the Apes (talk about hallowed ground). A good time was had by all, even if we completely ignored the beautiful Pacific sunset because we were staring at my iPhone screen. . .

But here’s the thing: how many more times will my family spend an afternoon playing Pokemon Go? How many more afternoons will most of the people playing the game right now spend playing it? I’m guessing there will be a monster attrition rate in upcoming months. I’m just not convinced Pokemon Go has the depth and richness – and hence, staying power – of, say, a Minecraft PE.

I’m also not convinced there’s a sustainable way to monetize the game. Sure, retail outlets will pay to sponsor Pokestops now while it’s an international phenomenon, but will they still be paying in a year if Pokemon Go becomes last year’s news? For Nintendo stock to justify its meteoric rise, the company has to sustain its success in mobile gaming. They need to continue to build on the Pokemon Go platform and also bring out new, successful mobile games. It’s certainly possible, but if the contrarian in me wanted to bet, it would bet against.

Common Sense Security Tips to Protect Your Computers and Devices

Photo by Levent Ali via Flickr

Art & Logic has worked on an increasing number of security and privacy-related projects in recent years. Through my consulting work on these projects, I’ve gotten to know several security consulting firms — very smart folks like the Citadel Information Group and Digital Maelstrom. If you want to make yourself too anxious to sleep at night, take a security expert out to lunch and ask them about all of the ways in which your personal information is vulnerable at home, work, and on the internet. It will be an eye-opening experience! You’ll hear about encryption standards, key management, multi-factor authentication, SQL injection, DDoS attacks, men in the middle, attack vectors, AppSec, OWASP, Pen Tests, social engineering, black hats, white hats, grey hats and one hundred different terrifying data breaches (Target, Sony, Anthem, Home Depot and the like).
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When Bad Projects Happen to Good People

Clouds gather to illustrate frustration of a software project hitting obstacles.

One of my favorite software-related quotes is the opening line of Anna Karenina:

“Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.”

It seems that every software project that goes off the rails is the result of its own unique set of circumstances. Certainly there are many common themes, but each train that’s destined to wreck follows its own path to disaster.

Often, projects are endangered by the relationships of the principal characters. If the Client and Developer are unable or unwilling to communicate honestly and collaborate to solve the problems as they arise, it may not be possible to bring a project back on track. But sometimes, bad projects happen to good people – people who like each other, communicate well, and act entirely in a well-meaning way with the best interests of the project at heart. Here’s one example:

We have a client that is an established (i.e. 10-year-old), small company. They don’t have the resources to conduct large projects, but have retained us for quite some time to maintain their software product at a slower, manageable burn-rate. It is a strong relationship, characterized by trust, good communication, and genuine affection. (more…)

Are You Really Ready to Develop an App?

This keeps happening to me: people find out I’m involved in app development and they immediately start pitching their application ideas to me. In restrooms, at children’s parties, even in line at the DMV. I’ve heard all kinds of app ideas. Some innovative. Some banal. Some that require time travel to be invented first. The thing they all have in common is the uniform belief of their inventors that they will be one of the few apps to rise to the top of the charts and make a difference in the world. (more…)

Creating Consumer Apps: What you need to know

The overwhelming popularity of mobile apps has contributed to many success stories for a lot of companies, but that popularity has also caused a saturation of the market as many app developers try to cash in on the trend. Back in 2007, when Apple launched the iOS platform (it was called iPhone SDK at that time ), the world first became acquainted with the mobile app.  In those days, virtually any app that made it to Apple’s App Store had a decent chance of being perused and downloaded. Today, businesses creating a new app face a daunting amount of competition in the App Store as well as in Google Play and on other app marketplaces such as Amazon. If you’re thinking about developing an app, or are already invested in the process, here are a few considerations that might help your app stand out and become successful. (more…)