VIRAL vs STICKY: Designing Social Apps for Reach & Retention

Location: Regency E Level: Intermediate

Successful social applications can acquire millions of users in just days, but viral apps don’t always make users stick. How do you design apps with a breakaway “viral loop”, and at the same time create fanatic user engagement to keep them coming back? Find out how to build both viral & engaging apps that drive users to your door & get them addicted for life… or at least a few months ;)

Photo of Nick O'Neill

Nick O'Neill

Social Times Inc.

Nick O’Neill is the creator of and the newly launched Social Times ( A serial entrepreneur at heart, Nick has spent the past 8 years developing creative solutions for individuals on the web. Working from within agencies and startups, he has gained significant experience working with clients and overcoming extreme challenges. Being highly active in the web and entrepreneurial communities, locally and nationally, Nick helped to bring the first Tech Cocktail to Washington, D.C. With the opening of the Facebook platform, Nick saw a huge opportunity and has become fully dedicated to covering the social networking phenomenon and developing creative applications for clients looking to gain exposure.

Since the launch of the platform Nick has been featured on NPR and in numerous national publications including Fast Company, New York Times, Forbes, USA Today, The Washington Post and Practical Ecommerce. He has also spoken at multiple conferences around the country, has interviewed the executives and leading thought leaders in the industry and has hosted various private events for industry leaders and participants.

Photo of Zach Allia

Zach Allia

Free Gifts

Zach Allia is the founder/developer of the Free Gifts application on Facebook. Free Gifts started as a simple play on the Facebook application “Gifts.” However, Zach turned Free Gifts into a really fun and engaging application, creating a very loyal following. Zach, originally from Boston, now lives in Palo Alto, CA and is a co-founder of the Social Gaming Network.

Photo of Vikas Gupta

Vikas Gupta


Vikas Gupta is the co-founder and CEO of Jambool, a leading social application developer. Jambool helps advertisers and brands reach and build audience on social networks. Currently over 10 million users on multiple social platforms use Jambool apps, putting it among the top ten application companies in this space.

Prior to Jambool Vikas was at where he built the Payments platform, co-founded the Amazon India office, and led teams at Amazon Web Services. Vikas is also the lead inventor of Amazon’s Flexible Payment web service.

Photo of Tim O'Shaughnessy

Tim O'Shaughnessy

Hungry Machine

Tim is a co-founder and partner at Hungry Machine, a Washington DC-based company. Hungry Machine builds products in the social media space, including Visual Bookshelf, Beer, and Restaurants.

Photo of Keith Schacht

Keith Schacht

42 Friends LLC

Keith Schacht is the founder of Chicago-based 42 Friends LLC, the company behind leading Facebook applications such as Growing Gifts and Hatching Eggs.

Prior to 42 Friends, Schacht co-founded and sold two technology companies. In 2005, BusinessWeek named him one of the top 20 entrepreneurs under 25. He has been featured in Fortune, Forbes, BusinessWeek, and Business 2.0 and served the world’s top consumer product companies including Nike, Proctor & Gamble, Motorola, BMW, Kraft, and many others. Schacht attended University of Illinois where he studied computer science and psychology.

  • Buddy Media
  • AOL
  • Bebo
  • Clearspring
  • Friendster
  • Gratis Network
  • Hook Mobile
  • SocialMedia
  • BNet

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For media-related inquiries, contact Maureen Jennings

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