Mag + : Interview with Co-Founder Mike Haney

January 27, 2015

This Clutch interview was conducted with Mike Haney, a co-founder of Mag+. The purpose of this interview is to offer prospective partners of Mag+ a descriptive and firsthand view into the capabilities of Mag+. Mike also shares insights on the current state of digital media consumption.

Learn more about Mag+ on their Clutch profile or at magplus.com.

Mag+ logo

Clutch: Please start by giving an overview of your software and its intended purpose.

Mike Haney:  Our software is a digital publishing ecosystem. We provide a start-to-finish platform for publishing a wide variety of content to an audience on mobile devices through apps. We don’t do web. We don’t do print. We are an app-based company. We specialize in creating simple workflows for getting content out to the mobile app space.  At the same time we want to create a really great user experience for the end-users of those apps. People spend time with apps. They engage with apps. We try to focus on making it easy and simple as well as affordable to create great, engaging mobile app content experiences.  

Touchscreen-based smartphones have really become the norm. We now see more media consumption there as well. We have followed those industry trends over the last four years and try to continually adapt the company to what is happening.  Companies everywhere are starting to realize that there is a lot of opportunity for distributing content on these mobile devices. It’s a great canvas for communicating and creating engaging experiences.  We want to be on the cutting edge of this industry.

Clutch: How did the concept of Mag+ come about?

Mike Haney:  We started about six months before the iPad was even launched and the inspiration was knowing that this new category of devices was on the horizon.  Customers were accustomed to the idea of apps and knew what they could do and be used for.  We felt that introducing this larger canvas of a tablet provided an interesting opportunity for content owners to re-think the way that they were distributing content.  With experience across the spectrum from magazines to newspapers to movies, books and TV, we were excited about the new space that the iPad would create.  We wanted to find the intersection between media and the tablet.  We knew that there was something new and exciting coming.

Clutch: Who is the target client for this software? Is there a client base to whom you wouldn’t recommend your software?

I don’t’ think there are any real limitations on what we can do. Anybody that interacts with content and communication, in any way, has a need for mobile solutions. Everyone can get what they need out of the system and accomplish their goals. The only time we would ever steer people in another direction is if people want to do something that we don’t provide. As I mentioned earlier, we make apps. We don’t build websites.

Our clients are varied.  The client base includes (but is not limited to):

  • Traditional publishers
  • Marketers
  • Sales and sales development departments
  • HR departments
  • Universities
  • Sports Teams

It is so popular because it is so easy to use. There is no skill set required. They don’t need any experience in the tech world or even need to understand how an app works. They don’t need to know the underlying code.  We are here for that.  We are a service provider. That differentiates us from other folks in our industry. We have a robust services offering that spans from building the app, submitting it to the various stores for our clients, updating it when needed, and advising them on analytics (and other third party tools).  On the creative side, we are an InDesign system. We have an internal agency called Mag+ Studios that does all of the work for them. They just dump their content and we make it beautiful, build the app, and get it live.

In addition, we offer great customer service.  We are here to keep this process simple so that our clients can concentrate on other things. We work to be extremely available to support our clients. Nothing is outsourced and there are NO call centers involved. 

Clutch: When would you say, if ever, should a company look to a mobile development service provider DIY rather than a DIY option?

Mike Haney: It’s increasingly harder to justify the service provider route as platforms get more flexible and more powerful. If a client needs functionality that the platform simply can’t provide, that would be one reason they would have to go to a service provider. We’re content publishers. If they need their app to do something else entirely, then they may need to develop at least that part of it. If their needs are purely to distribute content, it’s pretty hard to find a reason that they would go entirely custom.

Sometimes we see integration within internal systems. If they’re trying to generate an app that’s pulling content out of an internal CRM, then they’d want to go custom. With our SDK, the only time we’d say that we’re not going to suit the customer’s needs is when they’re not looking to distribute content out to the mobile space. If they’re looking to build a mobile web environment or looking for a tool more than a content distribution then we aren’t for them. We feel strongly that there will always be a need for customization, but the app space is moving more toward the standardized platform-based environment because it’s the only way to scale economically.

Clutch: What would you say would be the key feature or features that sets your software apart from other software meant to accomplish similar purposes?

Mike Haney: Our flexibility is probably one of our key advantages and something we’ve tried to maintain from the beginning. Our clients don’t need any coding experience to build an app with us. However, if clients have coding experience or developers and want to take advantage of the Mag+ Ecosystem that’s something they can achieve with our SDK . We are open to unique and special projects and will help connect our clients with outside resources that will help them to get great results with those special projects.

Also, on the hosting side, the content has to live somewhere other than in the app and this can be an added cost as well as a security issue.  A lot of our competitors require that the content to be hosted with them and they charge on a per download basis. We don’t do that. We want our pricing to be as transparent as possible and we want for people to know exactly what they are getting.  Transparency is very important to us.  If our clients would prefer to host content on their own server with their own provider, then that’s perfectly fine. That has been a differentiating feature in the corporate world. From a security perspective, and with confidential or sensitive materials, they don’t want content to be on someone else’s server.  They want it to remain behind their firewall and go directly to the app. This is totally reasonable and we are glad to be able to provide them the service that they need while allowing them to maintain their privacy and security as a business.

Clutch: Thanks Mike, all of the information and insights are very helpful.

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