Josh James gives career advice: Build an app, start a blog

Published: Wednesday, Feb. 1 2012 10:21 a.m. MST

Josh James, founder of Omniture, unveils his newest business information venture, Domo, at the launch event at the Grand America Hotel on 07/13/2011

Joey Ferguson, Deseret News Archive

Ominture co-founder Josh James has some career advice for college students - build an app or start a blog.

James, who started Omniture as a student, took it public and later sold it to Adobe Systems Inc., now runs Domo Technologies Inc., a Lindon-based maker of business intelligence software.

Use of apps, short for mobile applications that run on smartphones like Apple's iPhone and Google's Android software, are rising. More than 500 million Apple and Android smartphones and tablets have been activated since 2007, according to Flurry, a San Francisco-based mobile application analytics company. By the end of 2012 that figure may rise to 1 billion, Flurry said.

"Everything that is going on with apps is extremely interesting," James said in a phone interview. "If I was a 22-year-old sitting around in college, unquestionably, I would develop an app. I would find some kid and tell him what I wanted to make. I would make him my partner and we'd make an app."

Apps have "massive distribution" and very low startup costs, James said.

"You can throw stuff up there and see if it sticks. All it has to do is be approved by the people that run the app stores. The bar is clearly very low because we've all seen horrible apps. I would just start experimenting."

Blog Minutia to Becoming an Expert

And what if he didn't build an app?

"If I was a student or anybody I would go and make a blog about the area that I knew more than anyone else," he said. "All you have to do is start getting some followers. It can seem like its total minutia, but there are going to be other people out there that are interested in that same minutia. Then good things start happening when you are a known expert in something. It takes a while to get that momentum, but once you get the momentum you own it."

At Omniture, which helped pioneer website analytics, James said he knew 50 people who started as low-level web analysts at clients using the software.

"Now they are making $400,000, $500,000 or $600,000 a year as these high-profile 'I know everything there is to know about analytics,'" he said. "There are thousands of opportunities that can turn into you being a consultant, that can turn into you being a VP of something that is extremely strategic to being the CEO of a decent sized company or a big company."

Email: jburke@deseretdigital.com, Twitter: twitter.com/JordanSBurke

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