Designing Viral Apps: Engineering the Viral Loop

Location: San Diego Ballroom B Level: Novice

Successful Facebook apps and widgets can acquire millions of users in just days. But how do they do it?

Learn how top developers engineer, tweak, and test to create the “viral loop” for their apps that can generate amazing growth and user adoption at almost no cost.

Photo of Justin Smith

Justin Smith & Watercooler

Justin Smith is the editor of InsideFacebook, the first Facebook-focused blog, covering the business of Facebook and the Facebook Platform for developers and marketers. Justin is also the Product Manager at Watercooler, a developer of sports and television entertainment Facebook applications. Millions of Facebook members have joined Watercooler’s applications since their launch. Justin has a degree in Computer Systems Engineering from Stanford University.

Photo of Andrew Chen

Andrew Chen

Futuristic Play

Andrew Chen is a blogger and startup executive focused on advertising and social media. He writes the blog Futuristic Play ( and was most recently an Entrepreneur-in-Residence at Mohr Davidow Ventures (MDV), a Silicon Valley-based firm with $2B under management. At MDV, Andrew pursued initiatives in digital media and advertising, and was instrumental in MDV’s $20MM investment in, the leading social network for international audiences with 75 million registered users.

Prior to MDV, Andrew was director of product marketing at Revenue Science, where he co-founded the ad network business and was instrumental in growing the network to thousands of websites with over 5 billion ads served per month. He also led teams to handle the company’s initiatives around MySpace and Yahoo, two of Revenue Science’s most strategic partners. In addition, Andrew played key roles in winning the company’s initial brand advertising clients, which now include dozens of top-tier publishers including AOL, InterActiveCorp, ESPN, Washington Post, among others.

Prior to Revenue Science, Andrew worked at MDV’s Seattle office, conducting due diligence for investment opportunities in enterprise software, consumer internet, and life sciences. Andrew came to MDV after serving in software engineering roles at Cobalt Group, a lead generation and eCommerce platform for over 12,000 properties in the automotive vertical.

Andrew holds a B.S. in Applied Mathematics from the University of Washington.

Photo of Blake Commagere

Blake Commagere

Blake is a Founder, VP of Engineering and CMO at Blake is also the creator of the superviral Zombies, Vampires, and Werewolves games on Facebook. Prior, he led the development of the Causes on Facebook application. Blake was also an early engineer on Plaxo’s client team and a founding engineer at BuildForge (acquired by IBM). He has a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science from Rice University.

Photo of David Gentzel

David Gentzel


David Gentzel is VP Consumer Products at SocialMedia. He is also a top Facebook app developer and the creator of several apps with more than one million users, including Happy Hour and Food Fight. According to David, “I make viral apps.”

Photo of Jia Shen

Jia Shen


Jia is the Chief Technology Officer and co-founder of RockYou, and has focused extensively on graphic design and usability throughout his professional web development career spanning over 10 years. Prior to RockYou, Jia has held management roles leading the user interface and technical solutions teams at Open Harbor, and managing the majority of engineering at Iconix. Jia started working on scalable consumer applications at shopping tools internet provider Bluedog, a Stanford based startup, and was part of the original team at Bell Laboratories which developed the VoiceXML format into the W3C standard. In addition, Jia’s experience has spanned enterprise sales and professional services functions, as he closed transactions and integrated with large multi-national corporation customers like Mitsubishi, Tyco, Flextronics, and DHL. Jia has a double major in Computer Science and Computer Engineering from Johns Hopkins University.


Platinum Sponsor

  • Yahoo! Inc.

Gold Sponsors

  • CollegeNET
  • Friendster
  • Google
  • introNetworks
  • RockYou
  • Userplane

AppNite Sponsors

  • Charles River Venture
  • Facebook
  • SocialMedia

Premier Media Partner

  • BNet