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This young Aussie expat whose apps were acquired by Twitter and MyFitnessPal has some great advice for tech start-ups


Nick Crocker, who holds Political Science and Law degrees from the University of Queensland, is a young Aussie expat living in San Francisco.

He currently leads Coaching at MyFitnessPal, the world’s most popular health and fitness app, after having co-founded Sessions, a health coaching company, which MyFitnessPal acquired in 2012.

Sessions, a Rock Health company, was backed by Collaborative Fund, Blackbird Ventures, SV Angel and Joshua Kushner.

Before that, in 2009, Nick had also co-founded We Are Hunted, an app that scanned the Internet for hot new music, which was acquired by Twitter in early 2013.

Furthermore, in 2010 he was a Product Manager at Boxee, helping to launch the Boxee Box.

A few tips on building a successful app

Having sold his first apps to Twitter and MyFitnessPal, it is safe to say Nick knows a thing or two about hitting a home run with apps, right?

Nick told Anthill that from his experience in the tech industry, below are the top ingredients of building a successful app or tech start-up:

  1. Passion for what you do, because it gets hard… always.
  2. A great team, especially early on when that’s really all you have.
  3. Unyielding self-belief combined with brutal honesty (though it sometimes feels impossible to hold the two in your head at the same time).
  4. Plenty of luck and fortune along the way.

Nick, who supports Australian start-ups through Startmate, will be presenting at Pause Fest, the most progressive digital festival in Australia, in February 2015. Pause Fest is fast becoming the premier platform to introduce new technology to Australian shores.

He will be discussing start-ups in a digital economy – you know, where start-ups stand as the Internet and digital technology become more and more embedded in the personal fabric of our daily lives – work, leisure, education, business, health… and dating too!

Is it even true love anymore if Snapchat is not involved?

Below is what Nick had to share with Anthill about the topic.

What unique opportunities does the digital economy present? 

For the first time, you can really know your customers at scale – what they love, what they hate, who they are and where they are in the customer lifecycle. The insights you can draw from this new body of knowledge allows you to build incredible consumer experience.

Think about Uber. Today, you can open your phone, click a button, have a car pull-up, have your Spotify playlist already playing, get to your destination and seamlessly leave the car without the friction of a transaction.

A few years ago that experience doesn’t exist. That’s an amazing thing.

What unique challenges does the digital economy present?

If you’re not diligent, things can quickly get away from you. You can lose control of your narrative very fast. News and information travels more quickly than at any other time in history – and if you happen to be picked up on its wave (think, Alex from Target) not all the consequences are going to be positive.

What unique opportunities do you see emerging from a more connected healthcare experience?

I have a view that the best health products, the ones that will work like an antibiotic, will combine multiple elements: hardware, like scales and activity trackers, active and passive collection of key data, the support of both a social group and a coach, an educational component and a very clear, prescriptive path to success.

These products will engage people not just through a few weeks, but through years. They’ll be smart about what they know about every user — it won’t just be a name, weight, height, email and User ID — and they will adapt and bend as the user and the user’s context changes. It will be a relationship.

That’s where MyFitnessPal comes in. Our mission is to take what’s hard about living a healthy life and use technology to make it so much easier.