How 'App-preneurs' Turn Ideas into Business
What do successful apps have in common? Their creators have what's called a "growth mindset." Here's how to cultivate your own.
Even with two million-plus apps on Apple’s App Store and Google’s Play Store, app development is still attracting a lot of ambitious mobile-app developers hoping to strike gold in that extremely competitive market.
While run-of the mill apps will continue to flood the market and be quickly forgotten after the initial euphoria -- if ever -- some apps gradually show their worth, owing to the uniqueness of the ideas behind them.
The journey of an app toward success starts with an idea. If you build something you are truly passionate about, that passion shows itself in every aspect of the design process as well as the launch. The positive energy you bring to the venture helps drive the app through the initial phase after the launch, as well.
It is worthwhile, then, to critically examine your idea for shortcomings and faults. Researching your competition and the market will offer you valuable insights into how well your idea will be received.
An example of how a simple idea can result in massive success is Word Lens, the augmented-reality translation app. It translates any text that you see through your phone’s camera and displays the translated text in the original context on the phone’s screen.
The company behind the app, Quest Visual, was founded by Otavio Good, a former video game developer. The company was acquired by Google in 2014, and the app’s capabilities were incorporated into the Google Translate app.
Here are a few more apps that started out as a great idea and have either gone on to achieve stupendous success or are on their way to it.
Using AI algorithms and neural networks, Prisma creates artistic renditions of photos, which look as though they've been painted by a master of Impressionism. The app was developed by entrepreneur Alexey Moiseenkov through his startup Prisma Labs. It debuted on the App Store in the first week of June 2016 and has seen over 43 million downloads till now. According to sources, Prisma may soon be acquired by a major U.S. or Chinese tech company and has already started getting funding.
Askers takes social networking to a whole new level. Using this app, users can ask questions directly of celebrities, novelists, politicians, businesspeople and other experts and influential people around the world. The best part? They get answers back in the expert’s own voice! That is like asking a question to someone you admire and getting a personalized voice message back.
Askers pays users money if their question (and its answer) receives lot of traction. If you are a specialist in a particular field, you can also register yourself as an "expert" and share your knowledge with the world.
3. Brew Guru
Brew Guru is sure to bring a smile to the faces of homebrewers and beer lovers. The app provides expert brewing advice, recipes, resources and news of nearby deals at local taprooms and supply shops.
Addicted as we are to our smart devices, we can't keep them away even at bedtime, and many of us are still glued to the screens well past when we should be asleep. Research tells us that exposure to the blue light that those screens radiate may disturb our circadian cycles -- our biological clocks that control, among other activities, our sleep patterns.
The Twilight app addresses this problem by filtering the blue light emitted by smartphone screens after sunset and protecting users' eyes from its harmful effects. The intensity of the filter can be seamlessly adjusted according to local sunset timings.
The 'growth mindset' for success
What’s common among all these apps? It’s that each is aimed at the masses and solves one little problem. With a bit of “growth-hacking,” anyone and everyone can be a potential user for these apps. That is where entrepreneurs have to lead.
How? you ask. What is the recipe for app success? Entrepreneurs need what experts refer to as “growth mindset.” The amount of agonizing competition in the current app market notwithstanding, a positive growth mentality can go a long way in determining the success (or failure) of a venture.
Stanford University psychologist Carol Dweck, in her book, Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, elaborates on the difference between a fixed mindset and a growth mindset. While “fixed-mindset” people believe that their talents, abilities and intelligence are fixed and that they cannot achieve more, a “growth mindset” person believes these traits can be developed and enhanced further through training and learning.
It is this latter growth mindset that helps keep an entrepreneur from being hampered by his or her current limitations and enables continued movement through hard work and focused efforts.
The 'idea' behind success
The distinguishing factor that can prompt an app's success is the novelty of its central idea and how that idea is executed. We humans oppose uncertainty, and this opposition, many times, is the biggest hurdle we encounter on our path to creativity.
This bias, detailed in research from Cornell University, interferes with our abilities to recognize a creative idea.
This bias, the researchers also pointed out, comes from the uncertainty that can exist as to whether an idea is practical, useful or error-free. The fear of failure and perception of risk may stifle a path-breaking idea as early as its gestational stage.
To counter this bias against creativity, an entrepreneur needs a positive growth mentality to surmount his or her reservations and bring the idea to fruition, albeit after proper research and market studies, of course. A strong belief in one’s idea is required for it to work.
App development remains a highly competitive and financially rewarding business opportunity. You may have an idea and the requisite technical skills. You can hire or team up with technical talent. You can believe in the idea, do your research and follow up on your inner instincts. But what's really crucial is that you believe that your abilities can continue to grow.
This last characteristic will help you transcend your current limitations and propel you forward on the path to success.