Mississippi App Guru Sheena Allen to Appear in New Documentary ‘She Started It’

Mississippi App Guru Sheena Allen to Appear in New Documentary ‘She Started It’

BlackEnterprise.com interviewed Allen to get the scoop on how she’s come to find so much success despite the odds, why she decided to stop flying under the radar, and why diversity in tech is elusive to so many.

BlackEnterprise.com: You have over 2 million downloads. What is the key to that type of success?

Allen: My first app had, like, 50 downloads. It wasn’t until my third app, Dubblen, that I had success with downloads. Dubblen got so big on iPhone that people would e-mail me saying, ‘We want Android.’ Within three months of the Android app launch we got half a million downloads.

It was all word of mouth. That’s the best advertising. I think a lot of times people try to go too big too quickly. I did the bare minimum. I bootstrapped and didn’t have funding. There are people who take time get a million dollars to put out an app and no one wants it. I didn’t put all the bells and whistles right out the gate. I wait for feedback. I put out the basic and learn from my audience to tell me what they like and don’t like.

How did you learn the process of bringing an app to market?

The apps I made with Sheen Allen Apps were like my teachers. I built that company through trial and error. Now, I consult with companies. What I learned and what I can show you doesn’t come from a book or a degree. It comes from experience and you can’t buy that.

What do you look for in a mentor?

My first year I didn’t have a mentor. I was very frustrated. I felt like nobody understood. I came across the Capital Factory website. I emailed one of the guys and gave him a quick story of what I was doing. He said I can’t help you but Josh Kerr, might be the guy for you.

Josh taught me how to build a community. My experience was through trial and error. He helped me polish what I already started. He said ‘How soon can you get to Austin, Texas?’ I said ‘Tell me when you want me to be there and I’ll be there.’ I packed my bag and within two weeks I moved to Austin.

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