Applits' Joshua Tucker on what it takes to create the next big mobile app
By Joshua Tucker
Your million-dollar app idea is worthless.
Come again? How can a million-dollar idea be worthless? Angry Birds was a great idea, and that's not worthless!
There is a false notion that coming up with a great idea will lead to success, particularly in the mobile app industry. The thought is that all someone needs to do is come up with the next Instagram or Twitter, and next thing they know, they'll be sipping mojitos on their newly purchased tropical island.
Unfortunately, that train of thought is misguided. Think about it. Does an app idea where you throw little birds and pigs seem like a winning idea? Not really, but Rovio's execution on Angry Birds was so solid, they made that silly idea worth billions.
The point is that execution trumps everything. Something that may seem silly-take Snapchat for example-can be executed well and hit a nerve of popularity to become a billion-dollar company.
So how do you take an idea from the sketch on a napkin to an app that's actually popular? Good question, but it has something to do with hard work and having a sense for what people want.
There are a few things that can be done to help ensure a successful product:
Idea Validation - Bounce your idea off of people to see what they think about it, and highly consider their advice. People tend to be biased toward their ideas, so getting as many opinions as possible is a good start. Make sure to let them know that they can be brutally honest without hurting your feelings.
Quality Design and User Experience - Skimping on design is one thing that can absolutely not happen. With quite literally a million apps on the App Store, an app is going to need all the help it can get to stick out. User experience falls under both design and the coding realm, and that's what will ultimately keep your user engaged.
Frequent Feedback - Don't pretend to know everything. Get as much feedback as possible when ideating, designing, and developing an app. Employ methods such as Scrum (iterative software development) when designing and developing so you can easily implement your test group's feedback into the app.
In the end, the idea matters, but it's really all about the work put into the product. Steve Jobs is quoted as saying, "One of the things that really hurt Apple was after I left, John Scully got a very serious disease. And that disease-I've seen other people get it, too-it's the disease of thinking that a really great idea is 90% of the work."
Jobs knew the importance of an idea, and that the idea of a smartphone isn't what mattered; it was the execution of what eventually became the iPhone. Apps built for Jobs' products are no exception.
Joshua Tucker is co-founder of Applits.com, a platform that allows people to submit app ideas for a chance to be developed. Revenue of winning ideas is then shared with submitters. Applits recently won Inc.'s Coolest College Startup of 2014 competition. Tucker and co-founder Keith Shields are both mechanical engineering students at the Ohio State University.Joshua@applits.com (315) 396-4337
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