Kim Kardashian Illuminati West was on stage with Recode founder Kara Swisher this afternoon at the tech blog's Code/Mobile conference. I have no idea whether she arrived from Calabasas with a list of questions Swisher couldn't ask, but regardless this is one stiletto-heeled step for Kardashian and one giant kick in the head for tech kind.
Software has eaten the world. Smartphones are becoming ubiquitous. Major Silicon Valley predictions have come true, but the industry is hanging on to an old definition of what is "tech," and whom we should pay attention to. Look at any given headline on Techmeme right now and compare that to Kardashian's ability to growth hack an iPhone app.
Seriously, if Jared Leto is speaking at cloud computing events, then the face of the 9th top grossing iOS app should have had her internationally-known derriere in one of Recode's red chairs months ago. In classic founder form, Kim even had her first embarrassing acqui-hire: ShoeDazzle, a Los Angeles subscription startup that was once valued at $240 million, but reportedly sold for roughly half of the $66 million it raised in venture capital.
The Verge live-blogged the conversation, which only lasted half an hour. And, much like every other tech panel, we got no substantive numbers on Kim Kardashian: Hollywood or the reality star's financial deal with Glu, the developer behind the game:
Kim says that her career was going to be "very overexposed" and that she basically sat down with her mom Kris to whittle back on projects. So Glu came to her with the idea and basically gave her carte blanche. They showed her the existing game Stardom, and she dug what they wanted to do with it. "I wasn't trying to make anything else but an entertaining game," she says.
Kim says that she spent weeks pulling together clothing and makeup references, and that she'd just wake up and start working on it. At one point, when they were getting the game ready for Mexico, the outfits she was wearing there were put into the game as part of an update, and it totally took off. TL;DR they started figuring out they could work in game references with real life.
What's next, Swisher asks. Kim says that they're working on some future games that are "a little bit different." Now here comes the real question on in-app purchases, which is how this is making so much money. Swisher asks if Kim if that's the big money maker.
Kim says that you need a password for every time you buy something, so that as long as kids don't excessively use it, they should be OK. Swisher follows up by asking how much money Kim's made out of it. Kim sidesteps the question, short of saying it "did very well for me."
The next step is getting Kris Jenner on some kind of mobile momager panel. It shouldn't be too hard. We heard she flew out to attend Andreessen Horowitz's barbecue in July.
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