A Big Part of Consumerization Is “I Want to Make It Myself”

January 5, 2012
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“A lot of kids these days like to play games. But now they want to make them.”  — Thomas Suarez, 12-year-old app developer


“A lot of kids these days like to play games. But now they want to make them.”  — Thomas Suarez, 12-year-old app developer

When people talk about the consumerization of technology, they are typically referring to ease of acquisition and ease of use. Consumer technology has become so easy to use that it has become second nature to even the youngest among us. (See the related post, “So Easy a Two-Year-Old Can Do It.”)

Another important element of consumerization is ease of creation. Today, even non-technical people can create and maintain web sites and publish blogs and even books. And, with new technologies like the Apple iPhone software developer kit (SDK), it’s easier than ever for people to write and distribute software applications.

I just watched a video of a presentation by 12-year-old Thomas Suarez at an October, 2011 TEDx event in Manhattan Beach, California. According to the World Records Academy, Suarez has set the record for the world’s youngest iPhone app developer. In this TEDx video, Suarez shared the story of how he came to be an iPhone app developer, and what he’s doing to help other kids follow in his footsteps.

Suarez got his start programming in languages like Python, C, and Java, and when Apple released the iPhone SDK, it opened up a whole new world of possibilities for him. Suarez built a couple of apps called Earth Fortune and Bustin Jieber (a Justin Bieber whack-a-mole game) and got his parents to pony up the $99 fee to submit his apps to the iTunes App Store. Suarez has since started an app club at his school, where other kids can come and learn how to design and build apps.

This story has big implications for self-service BI. When we think about self-service BI, we can’t stop at ease of access and ease of use. We must also focus on ease of creation. Self-service BI has to make it easy for users―even non-technical business users―to create their own analysis. Business users need capabilities for quickly and easily modifying apps created by others and, ultimately, easy-to-use tools for creating their own apps. The end goal is empowering business users to ask and answer their own streams of questions.