Reading Between the Lines

By Halvor Gregusson / January 14, 2012

Halvor Gregusson

This post is authored by guest contributor Halvor Gregusson, CEO of Yast, a Norway-based time tracking app. Halvor served as a naval officer in the Norwegian Navy, and as a hotel manager at the Singsaker Sommerhotell. Prior to his Co-Founder and CEO role at Yast, Halvor helped found nLink, a mobile robotics consultancy, and was a Project Manager at the Accellerator Fjord Inkubator. On a recent trip to San Francisco, Halvor was a guest in the AppDirect office. Upon his return to Norway, he talked about his experiences on the Yast Blog. Now he shares his thoughts with the AppDirect Developer community.

In my previous post, Mission 1, I raised my first and most fundamental question of coming to San Francisco. Is our global approach an illusion, or is it common in USA? And my starting point is our partners at AppDirect. I did not exactly know what I would gain by sitting next to them, just assumed that being somewhere they talk about apps all the time would result in a greater knowledge of our industry.

I’ve never really figured out if I am a person that gives a good first impression or not. But I guess the answer is the same as for most people. It depends on whom you meet and why you meet them. However, coming from a different country, you usually get away with the weirdest of things, for some time. Then you are expected to catch up. Meaning, I would have to ask all the stupid questions first, and the good ones later. Which pretty much will make my first impressions worse to begin with than later on. And my first meeting was with AppDirect.

So I landed in San Francisco and thought I might just dig into it. Jet lagged, still a bit sick and with a huge bag on my shoulders, I entered 650 California Street, AppDirect’s office.

“Hi Halvor, welcome to our office. We’ve saved a seat for you,” said Paul.

It is almost a year ago when I talked to Paul for the first time. Then he offered us to be one of few apps in their new marketplace. Several app marketplaces had approached us before, but our experience was that besides the big ones like Google and Apple, they really did not offer a lot of distribution due to an inflation of apps. This was different. AppDirect had actually tried Yast and chosen it among others. Besides, Paul seemed service minded. Now I met him in person. Would he be the starting point for my questions?

“Nice place, does every company here paint business models on their walls?”
“Probably not, but we do”, he replied.


So I met their team, and got my seat in the open spaced office. Which really gave me a huge benefit. Sitting at “the marketing table”, I pick up some of the conversations. The interesting part is not necessarily the outcome of the conversations. Rather the underlying accepted facts.

Example: A discussion had the topic “what apps should be in this bundle?” I don´t know what the answer was, but one of my many questions here was supposed to be how, when and if apps would bundle (apps integrating with one another to form a stronger service together). The underlying fact is obviously that bundling will happen and has already started.

For my question of going locally or globally though, it doesn’t seem to be much of a question when it comes to web apps. A national approach in USA might as well be a global approach. In other words, if you are supposed to reach clients from California to New York, you might as well reach them in Europe. Because we all speak English, right?

So besides allowing myself to ask the stupid questions for three months, I read between the lines and am tapping into a huge knowledge base of the app market.

Thanks a million to the AppDirect Team for having me in their office, answering my questions and providing feedback on my upcoming presentation at Under the Radar.

— Halvor

AppDirect Editor’s Note: Halvor nailed his presentation at Under the Radar (jump to 8m), earning a triumphant win in the Fast Pitch Competition! A celebratory cake was served in his honor.