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The entrepreneurs guide to creating a successful mobile APP

Hey buddy, do you want to know the secret to creating the next big successful mobile app? Well come on over here where nobody can listen in and I will tell you. That’s right, I have found the formula that can take an idea and transform it into an instant hit complete with massive downloads, accolades from the tech sector and all the cash that investors throw at developers who have had top hits.

The secret you don’t want to hear

This is one of those scenarios where after you understand something, you can’t go back in time to that point when you were blissfully ignorant. What I mean by this is after you understand the secret, you can’t imagine you don’t know it; and there will be ramifications to this knowledge.

Are you ready?

The secret is that there is no secret. Creating the next big thing is a complete and total crapshoot and nobody out there knows what will be the next big mobile app to be downloaded millions of times in a week will be.

I know…that puts a bit of a damper on that great idea you have. Unfortunately it is true and we need to look no further than “Yo” to see that.

What the hell is Yo?

One of the best examples of the ‘crapshoot theory’ is the one-hit wonder “Yo”. This simple one-tap app sends a word, “Yo”, to other users. That’s it. Yo is simple, straightforward notification system that can only do one thing.

It took 8 hours to create the Yo app and the founder has admitted that it was a stupid concept. Yet, the app took off earning millions of users in a matter of weeks. It was such a hot topic that the Colbert Report and USA Today reported on it and it was soon the top social networking app.

Talk about dumb luck…

Popularity at the App Store is a fickle thing that can burn brightly for a brief period before burning out. Now Yo is very low on the totem pole although the creator of Yo is working hard to launch more features to keep his app relevant although historically it is hard to catch lightning in a bottle twice.

Does anything work?

Let’s look at a few concepts:

  • Clone existing apps – An interesting concept but is that really a sustainable idea for a business?
  • New ideas – New ideas are always great, but being first to bring them to the table isn’t typically the path to success. Being first often works from a creation standpoint but fails as an investment. Think of the first personal computer, web browser or mobile phone; they all worked but were quickly improved upon and forgotten.
  • Improve on an idea – Now we are getting somewhere. Why not take a failed idea or even a good idea with failed execution and look to improve upon it?

From these concepts let’s add in what we have learned about creating the best app. Most importantly is that the best is always a moving target and subjective based on the audience and audience response.

So what that means is that you should focus on the audience to make the most attractive and coveted product. Look at Facebook as a good example. They arrived after Friendster and Myspace but what set them apart was the focus on their audience to give users features they want. Conversely after getting popular the quest to become the biggest thing out there has distanced themselves from what made them great allowing for the rise of other social networks.

Do you need a great idea?

A great idea is not a guarantee of success. Google Play and the App Store is a littered graveyard full of great ideas. Execution, however, is a big key because if you can’t execute the idea then what is the point? You can’t download a good idea; you need a well executed product.

Consider what smart people invest in!

People who make money investing in products understand that you need a desirable product that can make money, it can be improved upon to make more money and will get them paid in a relatively short timeframe (as in years versus decades).

Are there any keys to building the next big thing?

Yes there are a few things you can do to position yourself for success:

  • Work with skilled people who can not only help build the app but execute the process. Great execution is a key to success in the app world.
  • Focus on quality because users want something reliable (that doesn’t crash) that can complete the desired task.
  • Know the target users and create something that appeals to them.
  • Ensure the app is easy to use and accessible by as many people as possible.
  • Throw a penny in the fountain, kiss the Blarney Stone, or make a wish on a falling star because even with everything else done properly you will still need some luck.

There you have it; the secret to creating the next big mobile app idea is to follow good business practices and get lucky.


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