In 2022, I bet almost every one you know has a phone attached to their hip. What’s on those phones? Apps. With close to 5 million applications out there ready for download (buildfire, 2022), it’s an industry you want to invest in and grow with. It’s a smart move. But to build a smart app you need to know what is expected of you and what expectations you need to have. Time to take off those rose-coloured glasses and get clear on what those expectations are.
Deciding to develop an app starts with an idea, your idea. Call me bias but say you have the most brilliant idea for an app. Great! Now take a seat because I’m about to burst your bubble. You’re not the only one with this idea. Fact is, there are probably 50, if not hundreds of other people with the same idea.
But don’t be discouraged that your idea is not unique or original. Truth is, there’s no point thinking about how many people have the same idea. Instead, focus on the person who has decided to convert an idea into something real… you. It’s not about the idea behind the software, it’s about the person behind the idea.
Ever heard of Mark Zuckerberg? Of course you have. He’s the creator, the person, behind the idea of Facebook. Odds are, he (and his fellow peers at Harvard) was not the only one with an idea to build Facebook. The only difference between him and the others is that he had the ambition, drive and perseverance to build it. Your idea may not be original but if you have the ambition to build it, the majority of people will think it is.
So you have the idea and want to do something about it. But I hear you asking, what are the expectations that come with building the thing? To start with, be prepared that not everything you want is going to be in the first release. Learn to let go. Trust me, it’s a good thing. Ever heard of the saying “keep it simple stupid”? It’s a saying for a reason.
The first release of your application needs to be seamless, junk free with no extra bloat. Here’s why. Your application is a living, breathing thing that wants to grow. Think of it as a tree. A tree starts small with its roots growing deep to ensure its stability as the tree gets bigger. This is how you need to approach software development. Focus on building a solid foundation with a strong story, a clear scope, fluid user-flows and wireframes. These are your roots. From here, your software can grow upwards knowing it has a strong foundation beneath it.
Your upward growth is allowing your app to adapt and change. Take Facebook for example. In February 2004, Facebook was released so Harvard students could rate each other’s school photos (Carlson, N. 2010). Compared to what Facebook is now, we can see its immense growth over time with posts, comments, sharing features, profiles, notifications, messenger, stories, marketplace, events, reels, gaming, etc. So what do you need to take away from this?
Zuckerberg didn’t try to release everything the first time around. He allowed his product to adapt to the demand of its ever-changing surroundings. This led to Facebook being one of the most recognised and usable applications in the world. Take this approach for your own software development because your game should also be the long game. Care for it, water it, feed it, be patient and watch your product grow.
It takes a lot of grit and hard work to develop a successful mobile application. But in the end, it all comes down to you. Hold yourself accountable for the success or failure of your product, learn from mistakes and be open to challenges. Focus your attention on what is needed right now and don’t get caught up in the “what if’s”. Prepare to put the work in because the more you put in, the more you get out.
It starts with an idea and it’s up to you to execute. Trust in yourself and trust in the process. Allow your software to grow along with the expectations you have of yourself and of the app. Be the next Mark Zuckerberg.
Carlson, Nicholas. March, 2010. “At last - the full story of how Facebook was founded”. Insider.com <https://www.businessinsider.com/how-facebook-was-founded-2010-3#the-65-million-question-5>
buildfire. 2022. “Mobile App Download Statistics & Usage Statistics (2022). Buildfire.com <https://buildfire.com/app-statistics/#:~:text=The%20Apple%20App%20Store%20has,on%20the%20Google%20Play%20Store.>
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