Saju Thomas, Product Manager at

We had the opportunity to talk to Saju Thomas about the evolution of small businesses & mobile apps.

Saju Thomas is the Product Manager at He is responsible for the product development roadmap, evolving it based on user feedback, competitive landscape and market opportunities. He is also responsible for developing content and business partnerships to drive the Picksie value proposition.

About Picksie:

Picksie is a location-based discovery service optimized for iOS devices that answers the question “What can I do, right here, right now?” Picksie applies a user’s profile, past ratings, searches and reviews, as well as current day, time and weather, to recommend events, activities and places of interest – such as restaurants, cafes, bars and cinemas. By creating a Picksie profile, users save time deciding what to do and receive instant recommendations that match their unique likes and location.

Picksie was founded by Ishi Systems, a product development firm delivering end-to-end technology solutions for enterprises as well as startups. Ishi has been developing enterprise, security and mobile solutions for its customers globally since 1994. The Company is headquartered in Jersey City, New Jersey. For more information on Picksie, check them out on Facebook or Twitter.

  1. The mobile app world continues to evolve and with approximately 98 billion mobile apps projected to be downloaded by 2015, it is said to be one of the fastest growing industries. But who's driving the evolution of mobile apps?

    - It is hard to believe but the mobile app industry is still in its early stages.

    - A large swath of apps don't have a strong business model backing it, other than in app purchases or paid apps.

    - The evolution is currently being drive not based on real needs but based on what is possible (technology\hardware\software), just like the dot com days. As more people start using mobile apps (other than games) the evolution will strengthen and will be driven by real user value and needs.

  2. What are the pro's and con's for small and large businesses to have their own apps?

    - It is definitely an investment and commitment to create and maintain the apps.

    - Gaining importance as a customer service channel for both small and large companies.

    - Large companies can use it as a marketing tool as well, and include gaming and social aspects effectively.


    - Great channel for customer interaction which can be accessed anywhere.

    - Great marketing tool, can introduce new products in visually impactful manner, encourage social involvement.

    - Also provide a real-time location aware channel to interact with customers.


    - Cost of development and maintenance is fairly high for small businesses.

    - Not clear on how to leverage and close loop in terms of sales.

  3. Why every small business should have an app?

    - Right now it's a clear differentiator as not many small businesses have apps.

    - If a clear customer service case can be defined, it could be of great value.

  4. What is the impact that mobile apps have on small businesses and consumers?

    - Customers can interact with businesses from anywhere without needing a computer or having to make a phone call.

  5. What are some of the challenges small businesses face with engaging consumers, and how apps may be the solution?

    - Most businesses do not have a good way of communicating real-time information to customers including specials, new products etc.

    - They also don't get direct feedback from customers that often.

    - Apps can be that real-time channel for communication including receiving feedback.

  6. What cost the businesses should pay for making an app? How cost-effective is it?

    - App design & development can cost anywhere from 10-15k for a simple app, to 50k and upwards for a fairly complex app.

  7. Would you describe in short the process behind developing and marketing a mobile app.

    Development usually starts with defining the expected interaction that user should have with the app. Once this is nailed down, the design process begins with mockups and creative design. Once this phase is done, the development can start. Once you have a fully tested product, the app is submitted to the app store for approval.

    The best way to market your app is to get your patrons to first download and leverage a word of mouth strategy. This will ensure that there is sustained usage and not just a peak.

  8. How do you see the future of mobile app technology?

    - Future of mobile technology will see a lot more intelligent, location aware services.

    - Having an important role in payment services by replacing credit cards/money.

    - As a serious contender with TV/game consoles/Cable as an on-demand entertainment device.