The VC firm First Round Capital recently posted an article by Farhan Thawar, VP of Engineering for Pivotal Labs. Farhan outlines the top five mistakes he’s observed startups make in mobile engineering. It’s an excellent list that busts some of the misconceptions that companies might hold around mobile–like assuming that going cross-platform will save massively on time and costs. Below is the list of mobile myths:

  1. Building apps natively per platform is a waste of time and money.
  2. My backend infrastructure is ready to support mobile apps.
  3. You can build your mobile app internally as fast as an outside firm.
  4. If I outsource to a mobile development firm, I won’t have to do any work.
  5. Once I start working with a development firm, I’ll be stuck with them forever.

We found that many of Farhan’s observations resonated with our own experiences building beautiful, user-friendly mobile apps. For instance, we believe that native apps make for a far superior user experience than cross-platform apps do. Says Detroit Labs developer Jeff Sibbold, “When you have an Android phone, you expect an app that behaves and looks like an Android app. iPhone users expect the same of their iOS apps. Building natively helps us deliver that unique Android or iOS experience that makes users feel at home.” Adds designer Marc Nischan, “responsive web isn’t the magic bullet that’ll get you out of having to design native apps.” Even cross-platform apps carry maintenance costs that often aren’t being considered in the supposed cost savings.

And on myth #3, he’s spot-on in pinpointing the components of mobile expertise–mobile QA, mobile design, mobile product management–that make the services of an outside firm so valuable, as opposed to building in-house where many of these elements may be missing. Things like mobile QA aren’t always top of mind for companies thinking big-picture, but they can make all the difference in success in the mobile sphere.

One note we’d add on to the article: startups aren’t the only ones falling prey to these mistakes. Despite being better-resourced compared to startups, mature companies can and do find themselves mired in the same problems. The article gives the example of Southwest Airlines’ one-time terrible app, and they’re no small fish. Mobile has risen fast, and businesses of every size must shift. In the words of Eric Schmidt, executive chairman of Google, “If you don’t have a mobile strategy, you don’t have a future strategy.

Read Farhan skillfully dismantle these mobile misconceptions in full, on First Round Capital’s blog.