Is Your Mobile App Idea Good or Bad (Podcast)

Is Your Mobile App Idea Good or Bad (Podcast)


welcome to constant variables a podcast
where we take a non-technical look at mobile app development
I’m Tim Bornholdt and I’m Rob Bentley let’s get nerdy right so today we
thought we would talk about a topic that’s been coming up for me a lot doing
app sales lately and it’s people always ask is this a good idea for an app or
not and so I think today we’re going to talk about ways you can objectively
review your idea to determine if it’s a good app idea or a not-so-good app idea
the first thing I always say is I don’t know well yeah don’t jump the gun yeah
so I as I was thinking through this I thought of three can major categories
that we can touch on and they’ll kind of intermingle but there’s three different
categories that I guess I use to determine whether I think an idea that I
come up with is any good or not so I’m gonna start with number one which should
be number one anytime you’re trying to start a business is how much money can
it make or how much value can it generate for you exactly it costs a lot
of time and energy and money to build an app so if you’re gonna be doing that you
got to make sure your ideas worth money to someone well and not just time and
money to develop the app but you have to build the business around it too so it’s
not just like I’m gonna put an app in the store and make millions you have to
actually build all the business and the tools and the infrastructure around that
app to be able to make it profitable right it’s a lot more than just writing
a cheque and watching it go in the App Store and making millions it doesn’t
happen like it did in iOS 3 days right that would be nice yeah where you just
put up an app in the store charge a buck for it and a million people downloaded
and you just retired the Cayman Islands yeah because you made a calculator so in
that category of whether it can make any money or generate some value for you a
couple questions we asked who’s going to be giving you money for the app I think
that one question alone has made a lot of people that I’ve talked to you I’m
like oh I guess no one and then that kind of kills the idea right
there if you don’t have a if you can’t clearly think of somebody who’s going to
give you money and that somebody needs to actually be a person and not just oh
advertisement or whatever like if you can’t think of one person who’s actually
gonna pay to use your app then it’s probably I mean it could be a good idea
but probably not worth your time to build out right so before you start
spending any money really make sure you can identify a clear target market for
your idea yeah and I think if you can name ten people or companies that would
actually give you money to build this app if people are just like trying to
shove money into your hands to be like give me this product now that’s when
you’re onto something but if you’re just thinking it would be kind of cool if
there is an app that kind of did this and it’s really wishy-washy and you’re
not sure who would actually pay for that problem to be solved maybe it’s not a
good idea yeah I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard well how are you gonna
make money I’ll just put ads in it like it’s that
easy right yeah you did you need to be able to have millions of people using
your app every day every day in order to make ads even moderately effective for
you something done it’s not the greatest exactly you still have to deal with a
lot of scummy things which we’ll get into one of our future points but moving
on to our second point how committed are you to the idea
it’s really tough in this building an app it takes a lot of work it’s really
hard and just like building a business if it’s an idea that you just kind of
had a fleeting idea of all it’d be really cool if an app did this it’s like
no you need to be willing to like wait if you’re not waking up every night like
dying because this app doesn’t exist it’s that’s not commitment to the app
that there’s people a lot of our successful clients are people who are
like this is a problem that exists in the world and I’m going to make this
problem go away yeah usually you have to have a lot of patience if you’re having
an app developed there’s a lot of unknown things that come up that you
have to deal with while you’re in development we do our best to plan as
well as we can but there’s always those unknowns that come up yeah and it just
keeps taking time and it’s a long hard process so you have to be like really
prepared to go in for the long haul if you really want your idea to succeed
exactly and usually one of the best barometers I’ve had that I’ve
seen work is if you can say that it the app that you’re trying to build
honestly solves a problem that you have we our last episode we talked about the
craft beer tracker that solved a problem that I had and it’s something that I had
been really mad that it didn’t exist in the world yet so I I built it because I
it was literally day and night I act not like I was like dying to have this app
but it was not out there and it really bothered me so I sat down and did it and
that’s kind of the level of commitment you need to have or at least if you are
trying to validate whether your idea is good or bad that’s a really good
barometer if it’s something that it’s like keeping you up awake at night
because it doesn’t exist right now I mean it’s not like we just spent all our
effort on that one thing and it was 40 hours a week but it was a three-year
process from beginning to launch in the App Store yeah yeah it’s it’s it doesn’t
mean that you’re able to just like dedicate your full time to it but if
it’s something that is just always bugging you in the back your head then
you’re probably onto something yeah then do it and and on the same vein
it doesn’t necessarily need to be you that has that problem if you like my
wife for example like if she had a problem at work that she constantly
complained about and you’re like huh maybe I could take that and make it into
an app or if you hear from somebody if you know of a group of people that are
have are being underserved with that somehow that an app could solve that
problem you know that’s probably another great idea of an app it kind of goes
back to having people that’ll pay you to have it exist in the world yeah you’ll
have this existential aha moment and then you’ll just need to make it happen
because you know people will want it and use it and pay for it and one other
point here too that we I feel like I’m one of the worst app salesmen because I
spend a lot of my time actively dis way ting people from buying apps because
frankly you don’t really need to have a lot of apps like the world has enough
apps it’s it’s not necessarily like we were saying before you can’t just put an
app in the App Store and a million people download it for a buck and you’re
a millionaire it doesn’t work like that anymore and a lot of times you don’t
need to have an app people only use a handful of apps in a given day I think
the one paper I read was like you don’t use any more than ten or twelve apps in
a day total and that includes like the clock
the phone and text messaging so it’s like if you’re not one of those apps why
don’t you just become a website and people do use apps but they don’t like
using apps anymore the novelty has really worn off now it has to matter to
them it has to really improve their life otherwise they’re it might sit on their
phone if they have it and using it every day is a lot different it’ll move to
that dreaded second screen inside a subfolder that never gets touched one
other way to judge kind of helping you judge your commitment to an app idea is
seeing if there’s already a solution out there for it I’ve had a few times people
approach me with app ideas and they’re like nothing like this exists and I do a
5 second Google search and there’s four apps right there that do it it’s usually
really easy to find if you just do a simple search right there’s a couple of
different ways you can look at it if the idea does exist in the world and there’s
way too many apps doing it it might not be worth pursuing because you’ll
probably get lost in the clutter of everyone trying to solve that problem on
the other side if you can’t find that solution out there you might have to
start wondering why hasn’t someone done this yet is it way too difficult is it
just really hard to get into the market like what’s the barriers there yeah
usually the sweet spot is if you can find one or two competitors and then you
can find an angle to do it better than they are that’s usually where you can be
successful if the ideas if you can find it yeah seeing if there’s apps that
already exist that kind of does validate your idea for an app because somebody
already took the time to build it so right there you’ve got instant
validation of the idea now if the idea already exists and the app is already
out there then that already proves it and if you can somehow improve on that
app with a couple of features or doing it in a slightly different way that’s
gonna make it that you can take away those customers or that you can get
customers of your own to use your features then you’ve got a great idea
right there exactly the third metric that we use frequently to judge whether
or not an idea is good is actually speaking of good it’s whether or not
you’re putting good into the world by building this app and this is the area
that things get a little subjective what is art and that’s all kind of thing
but I think there’s so much crap out there on the app store and there’s so
many nefarious schemes to get rich and to exploit user data and to do a lot of
like not-so-great things that you’re not really contributing to the benefit of
the world and that’s a lofty thing to say yeah but I I think it’s true like we
don’t need another app that’s just exploiting your user information of your
location in order to make someone else rich like it might make you a lot of
money but you’re also kind of being a jerk yeah or you might have a real
problem of maybe an app isn’t the best solution for it mm-hmm
we play Super Smash Brothers every day I don’t know if we’ve mentioned that or
not but we had trouble remembering which level in which characters we are facing
so we concept addthis app where we built a server and a front end that we’re
doing it and then we realized a better solution was just writing it down on a
whiteboard in your office yeah it was a lot easier than the like 80 hours of
coding that we did to try to make that work right I’ll bet that 80 hours was
fun she hasn’t necessary you know it’s a good lesson learned exactly so yeah it’s
it’s thinking through whether or not what you’re putting out in the world is
valuable to somebody if you’re not being a jerk and exploiting people to make
money and if you’re actually like really committed to making this app idea work
and build the business around it those are really the three metrics that we use
to determine whether or not an idea for an app is good or bad yeah and like we
said this is our opinion but hopefully that helps you as you’re trying to think
of your own idea absolutely so our final thoughts revolving around that so we are
probably the worst people validating an idea and saying that after we just
talked about all of our thoughts about validating ideas but you would be amazed
at how many ideas we hear that we think are terrible and then you check back two
years later and they built it and they’re really successful it’s really a
conversely to you you hear a lot of ideas where like man then is a slam dunk
that’s a great idea and it just is a total flop when it makes it out to
market that being said we have a pretty good
handle on what could be successful and that’s really what you want to do when
you’re validating an idea if anyone comes up to you and tells you that’s a
great idea it’s a slam dunk you’re gonna absolutely make millions they’re a
charlatan or they’re just completely fooling themselves
no one knows for sure whether an idea is gonna work it’s as much of a coin toss
as my opinion yeah all we can do is take a look at what has worked in the past
and what not just in the past six years that the AppStore has been around but
there ten years or whatever but looking back at like hundreds of years of
Commerce in general and seeing what principles behind ideas have been
successful in the past and applying those to this modern approach of mobile
app development so that we can help set you up for success
the only other final thought that I had with this is we talked one of our big
points is um if you’re committed to the idea or not and I think that regardless
of what anybody else says mihrab or talking to your spouse or whoever else
about your idea at the end of the day the most successful apps and and all the
successful apps we’ve seen have been driven by people who are super committed
to the idea and they’re um they say strong opinions loosely held where
you’re not completely rigid that you’re not going to change your opinions but
once you’ve made an opinion and once you have a the belief that this app idea is
going to succeed then that should be the best metric for you to determine whether
or not this app is a good idea or not yeah go and make it succeed if you
really believe in it don’t let anyone get in your way that’s right well that’s
it for today’s show then show notes for this episode can be found at ConstantVariables.co You can get in touch with us by emailing [email protected] I’m @TimBornholdt on Twitter and Rob is @ScottMahonis
Today’s episode was edited by the bodacious Jordan Daoust. This episode is
brought to you by The Jed Mahonis Group who builds mobile software
solutions for the on-demand economy. Learn more at JMG.mn

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