Why Develop "for-profit" on the SmartThings "Platform" -- now?

(ActionTiles.com co-founder Terry @ActionTiles; GitHub: @cosmicpuppy) #1

Continuing the discussion from VLC Thing. A Poor Man's Sonos:

Because entrepreneurs realize taking risk often leads to the greatest potential rewards. Gold Rush. When the platform becomes stable, development will be much easier, and that means a lot more competition for the same functionality. Take a rules engine, hypothetically. It will be easier to write after seeing a few attempts (even without shared code), but in the meantime, someone could attempt to profit from one and have a head-start in the market. Plenty of effort and risk (ST could launch their own rules engine built into the product, etc.).

Now my answer is getting long, but I gotta add: Far too many vendors are on the sidelines waiting for HomeKit because they think that the Apple marketplace will make it easier to monetize and market. SmartThings may not be the ideal alternative, but it is better than doing nothing.


“Better than nothing” is rarely a good business model. Just sayin’…:wink:

People develop code for others to use for many different reasons. Some do it for profit. Some do it for ego gratification. Some do it for intellectual challenge: other people’s input usually forces you to look at solutions in a different way. Some do it as a social contribution. Some do it because they can’t stand to see a problem not being solved, or being solved poorly. Some have different reasons for different projects, or at different stages of the same project.

(ActionTiles.com co-founder Terry @ActionTiles; GitHub: @cosmicpuppy) #3

I disagree. :smirk:

The “sayings” along these lines are wise: “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”


That’s a sports saying. Not business.

The business sayings on this topic include:

“between calculated risk and reckless decision-making lies the dividing line between profit and loss.”


"A ‘startup’ is a company that is confused about – 1. What its product is. 2. Who its customers are. 3. How to make money.”—Dave McClure, 500Startups

And one of my favorites:

“You can’t take the gross to the bank.”

Out of the gross comes, among other things, the cost of customer service when an unexpected platform change breaks your product.

(Geko) #5

I don’t think SmartThings in its current form presents a viable business opportunity for independent developers. First, there’s no user-friendly distribution channel. Distributing apps as a source code and having users self-publish them simply does not work. It’s even worse with device handlers. Second, the platform itself is in constant flux. Customer support would be a nightmare. Third, the API and user interface are too limiting to create something non-trivial. Most of the published apps are nothing more than custom “if-then” rules which wouldn’t even be there should ST had a proper rules engine. And lastly, the user base is too small. ST is a low-cost, DIY platform and smart aps are just plug-ins. How much you can charge for a plug-in? A buck or two at most. At this price level, you’d need tens of thousands downloads to justify development cost.