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Does Your App
Really Solve a
Problem?!
@ArtfulGeek | FITC SCREENS | Oct 2013
Hello!!
I’m @ArtfulGeek!
@ArtfulGeek | FITC SCREENS | Oct 2013
Apps in Perspective!
•  June 29, 2007 – iPhone release.!
•  July 10, 2008 -App Store launched by
Apple.!
•  January 22, 20...
Big Sea of Change!
• 147% increase in
smartphone owners from
2008.!
• Today, almost a billion
people own smartphones.!
@Ar...
The Future…!
• IDC forecasts 1.5 billion
smartphones by 2017.!
• Expected steady 10% annual
growth rate.!
• Estimated 260%...
Problems. Ideas.

Apps.!
@Ar$ulGeek	
  |	
  FITC	
  SCREENS	
  |	
  Oct	
  2013	
  
Idea  Mockup  Prototype !
!
à Program  Product  Business!
@Ar$ulGeek	
  |	
  FITC	
  SCREENS	
  |	
  Oct	
  2013	
  
Idea  Mockup  Prototype !
!
à Program  Product  Business!
@Ar$ulGeek	
  |	
  FITC	
  SCREENS	
  |	
  Oct	
  2013	
  
The Old!
@Ar$ulGeek	
  |	
  FITC	
  SCREENS	
  |	
  Oct	
  2013	
  
 	
  The New!
@Ar$ulGeek	
  |	
  FITC	
  SCREENS	
  |	
  Oct	
  2013	
  
“I found spam intolerable ... And it turns out
that was all you needed to solve the problem.
The algorithm I used was ridi...
What Makes an App Successful?
"The equation for success is pretty simple...
find a problem to solve (or a solution to
impro...
Ideas: The Good!
Credit:	
  	
  Grilled	
  Cheese	
  Social	
   @Ar$ulGeek	
  |	
  FITC	
  SCREENS	
  |	
  Oct	
  2013	
  
Credit:	
  Discovery	
  Health	
  
Ideas: The Good!
@Ar$ulGeek	
  |	
  FITC	
  SCREENS	
  |	
  Oct	
  2013	
  
Cheetos lip balm!
Credit:	
  BookOfJoe	
  
Ideas: The Bad!
@Ar$ulGeek	
  |	
  FITC	
  SCREENS	
  |	
  Oct	
  2013	
  
Whole chicken in a can!
Credit:	
  FlickR	
  
Ideas: The Ugly!
@Ar$ulGeek	
  |	
  FITC	
  SCREENS	
  |	
  Oct	
  2013	
  
• Inadequate market
estimation and research.!
• Swallowed by competition or
entry by giants.!
• Ineffective distribution
m...
Spoiler Alert: It’s Competitive.!
@Ar$ulGeek	
  |	
  FITC	
  SCREENS	
  |	
  Oct	
  2013	
  
Evaluating Your
Ideas.!
@Ar$ulGeek	
  |	
  FITC	
  SCREENS	
  |	
  Oct	
  2013	
  
• What problem does it solve?!
• Is there a market? What is its
size?!
• Is there sufficient demand?!
• Is there a secret w...
• Is there an economy of scale?!
• Do you have sufficient time to
market advantage? Will you
get eaten by a giant?!
• Distr...
“It suddenly occurred to me that the
hottest tech start-ups are solving all the
problems of being twenty years old, with
c...
 	
  Value vs Problem!
@Ar$ulGeek	
  |	
  FITC	
  SCREENS	
  |	
  Oct	
  2013	
  
!
Problem solving is
important, but so is
opportunity and value.!
Is It Always About
Solving

A Problem?

!
@Ar$ulGeek	
  ...
!
Wrong problems and
right problems.!
Is It Always About
Solving

A Problem?

!
@Ar$ulGeek	
  |	
  FITC	
  SCREENS	
  |	
 ...
Wander App!
@Ar$ulGeek	
  |	
  FITC	
  SCREENS	
  |	
  Oct	
  2013	
  
Is There a Market?!
Credit:	
  MarkeDng	
  Technology	
  Landscape,	
  via	
  ChiefMartec.com	
  @Ar$ulGeek	
  |	
  FITC	
...
Simple equation!
Market Size =!
Price Point x !
Number of Buyers!
What Is The Market Size?!
@Ar$ulGeek	
  |	
  FITC	
  SCR...
Angry Birds!
2 billion downloads x $0.99!
!
Minecraft!
10 million downloads x $6.99!
Market Size Estimation!
@Ar$ulGeek	
 ...
Market Size!
Adapted	
  from	
  B.	
  Srinivasan	
  and	
  V.	
  Pande	
  
@Ar$ulGeek	
  |	
  FITC	
  SCREENS	
  |	
  Oct	...
• Fermi estimates (top-down
market sizing)!
!“How many piano tuners are there in
!Chicago?”

!
• Sum up empirical revenue
...
Facebook Advertiser Tools!
Real time census for
demographical estimates.!
Market Research!
@Ar$ulGeek	
  |	
  FITC	
  SCRE...
Google Adwords Keyword
Planner!
Search volumes for keywords.!
Market Research!
@Ar$ulGeek	
  |	
  FITC	
  SCREENS	
  |	
  ...
Is There Demand?!
@Ar$ulGeek	
  |	
  FITC	
  SCREENS	
  |	
  Oct	
  2013	
  
“A game-changer
in the world of
social networking”!
!
AppAdvice, NYT,!
Mashable.!
Foreca.st!
@Ar$ulGeek	
  |	
  FITC	
  SC...
If the concept is novel, can
demand be created and
fostered?!
Demand!
@Ar$ulGeek	
  |	
  FITC	
  SCREENS	
  |	
  Oct	
  20...
Illusions of Demand!
@Ar$ulGeek	
  |	
  FITC	
  SCREENS	
  |	
  Oct	
  2013	
  
Is There Room For Your Idea?!
@Ar$ulGeek	
  |	
  FITC	
  SCREENS	
  |	
  Oct	
  2013	
  
Is There Room For Your Idea?!
Spork!
@Ar$ulGeek	
  |	
  FITC	
  SCREENS	
  |	
  Oct	
  2013	
  
Do you have sufficient time
to market advantage?!
Spork!
@Ar$ulGeek	
  |	
  FITC	
  SCREENS	
  |	
  Oct	
  2013	
  
Could It Get !
Eaten By !
A Giant?!
@Ar$ulGeek	
  |	
  FITC	
  SCREENS	
  |	
  Oct	
  2013	
  
• How do you get your app in
the hands of The Market?!
• Can you leverage virality?!
• Can your marketing budget
help achi...
@Ar$ulGeek	
  |	
  FITC	
  SCREENS	
  |	
  Oct	
  2013	
  
Credit:	
  h"p://www.viralblog.com/research-­‐cases/how-­‐hotma...
•  In the 90s, people paid for Internet +
one ISP based e-mail address. !
•  Enter Hotmail. People could now
access their ...
Hotmail spent only $500,000 to
gain 12 million users in 2 years,
while its early competitors spent
$20 million to attract ...
The Virality Equation	
  
U(t) = (Np)t/τ
	
  
N = Number of people shared with
p = probability that people decide to share...
Potential Economy of Scale?!
@Ar$ulGeek	
  |	
  FITC	
  SCREENS	
  |	
  Oct	
  2013	
  
An Idea Evaluation Model!
@Ar$ulGeek	
  |	
  FITC	
  SCREENS	
  |	
  Oct	
  2013	
  
“The way to get good ideas is to get lots of
ideas and throw the bad ones away.”
– Linus Pauling
@Ar$ulGeek	
  |	
  FITC	
...
Questions?!
@Ar$ulGeek	
  |	
  FITC	
  SCREENS	
  |	
  Oct	
  2013	
  
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Does Your App Really Solve a Problem?

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Does Your App Really Solve a Problem?
with Anthony Ilukwe

So you have an app idea. Or several of them, for that matter. How do you decide on which one to pursue? A lot of innovators and developers spend time working on ideas, but are we fully considering whether the idea is worth hours of our time? Does it check all the right boxes? Is it enough to establish that it merely “solves a problem”?
This presentation challenges the conventional wisdom, and offers a logical model to help decide what app to build (first), to ensure that our limited time and energy are spent on the very best ideas that we have; plus how to design your app to maximize its chance of success. There will be real life examples, case studies, and anecdotes from some of the top minds in the web and mobile space.

Published in: Technology, Business
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Does Your App Really Solve a Problem?

  1. 1. Does Your App Really Solve a Problem?! @ArtfulGeek | FITC SCREENS | Oct 2013
  2. 2. Hello!! I’m @ArtfulGeek! @ArtfulGeek | FITC SCREENS | Oct 2013
  3. 3. Apps in Perspective! •  June 29, 2007 – iPhone release.! •  July 10, 2008 -App Store launched by Apple.! •  January 22, 2011 – 10 billionth app download.! •  May 2013 – 50 billion apps downloaded*! * Wired.com: “Someone out there just won a $10,000 iTunes gift card, Apple’s way of saying “Thanks” for downloading its 50 billionth iOS app.” @Ar$ulGeek  |  FITC  SCREENS  |  Oct  2013  
  4. 4. Big Sea of Change! • 147% increase in smartphone owners from 2008.! • Today, almost a billion people own smartphones.! @Ar$ulGeek  |  FITC  SCREENS  |  Oct  2013  
  5. 5. The Future…! • IDC forecasts 1.5 billion smartphones by 2017.! • Expected steady 10% annual growth rate.! • Estimated 260% growth in application store revenues.! http://www.fiercemobileit.com/story/global-smartphone-market-growth-estimates-vary-among- research-firms/2013-06-03! @Ar$ulGeek  |  FITC  SCREENS  |  Oct  2013  
  6. 6. Problems. Ideas.
 Apps.! @Ar$ulGeek  |  FITC  SCREENS  |  Oct  2013  
  7. 7. Idea  Mockup  Prototype ! ! à Program  Product  Business! @Ar$ulGeek  |  FITC  SCREENS  |  Oct  2013  
  8. 8. Idea  Mockup  Prototype ! ! à Program  Product  Business! @Ar$ulGeek  |  FITC  SCREENS  |  Oct  2013  
  9. 9. The Old! @Ar$ulGeek  |  FITC  SCREENS  |  Oct  2013  
  10. 10.    The New! @Ar$ulGeek  |  FITC  SCREENS  |  Oct  2013  
  11. 11. “I found spam intolerable ... And it turns out that was all you needed to solve the problem. The algorithm I used was ridiculously simple. Anyone who'd really tried to solve the problem would have found it. It was just that no one had really tried to solve the problem.” - Paul Graham h"p://paulgraham.com/ideas.html   @Ar$ulGeek  |  FITC  SCREENS  |  Oct  2013  
  12. 12. What Makes an App Successful? "The equation for success is pretty simple... find a problem to solve (or a solution to improve) that's relevant to a massive amount of people. Then remember that the problem your solving is for these people and make it easy for them to use." http://www.quora.com/How-did-Mint-acquire-1-0m+-users-without-a-high-viral-coefficient- scalable-SEO-strategy-or-paid-customer-acquisition-channel @Ar$ulGeek  |  FITC  SCREENS  |  Oct  2013  
  13. 13. Ideas: The Good! Credit:    Grilled  Cheese  Social   @Ar$ulGeek  |  FITC  SCREENS  |  Oct  2013  
  14. 14. Credit:  Discovery  Health   Ideas: The Good! @Ar$ulGeek  |  FITC  SCREENS  |  Oct  2013  
  15. 15. Cheetos lip balm! Credit:  BookOfJoe   Ideas: The Bad! @Ar$ulGeek  |  FITC  SCREENS  |  Oct  2013  
  16. 16. Whole chicken in a can! Credit:  FlickR   Ideas: The Ugly! @Ar$ulGeek  |  FITC  SCREENS  |  Oct  2013  
  17. 17. • Inadequate market estimation and research.! • Swallowed by competition or entry by giants.! • Ineffective distribution model.! • Inability to scale.! Why Do Good App Ideas Fail?! @Ar$ulGeek  |  FITC  SCREENS  |  Oct  2013  
  18. 18. Spoiler Alert: It’s Competitive.! @Ar$ulGeek  |  FITC  SCREENS  |  Oct  2013  
  19. 19. Evaluating Your Ideas.! @Ar$ulGeek  |  FITC  SCREENS  |  Oct  2013  
  20. 20. • What problem does it solve?! • Is there a market? What is its size?! • Is there sufficient demand?! • Is there a secret weapon against the competition?! Is My Idea Worth Pursuing?! @Ar$ulGeek  |  FITC  SCREENS  |  Oct  2013  
  21. 21. • Is there an economy of scale?! • Do you have sufficient time to market advantage? Will you get eaten by a giant?! • Distribution model and marketing strategy.! Is My Idea Worth Pursuing?! @Ar$ulGeek  |  FITC  SCREENS  |  Oct  2013  
  22. 22. “It suddenly occurred to me that the hottest tech start-ups are solving all the problems of being twenty years old, with cash on hand, because that's who thinks them up.” -  George Packer, The New Yorker, May 2013. @Ar$ulGeek  |  FITC  SCREENS  |  Oct  2013  
  23. 23.    Value vs Problem! @Ar$ulGeek  |  FITC  SCREENS  |  Oct  2013  
  24. 24. ! Problem solving is important, but so is opportunity and value.! Is It Always About Solving
 A Problem?
 ! @Ar$ulGeek  |  FITC  SCREENS  |  Oct  2013  
  25. 25. ! Wrong problems and right problems.! Is It Always About Solving
 A Problem?
 ! @Ar$ulGeek  |  FITC  SCREENS  |  Oct  2013  
  26. 26. Wander App! @Ar$ulGeek  |  FITC  SCREENS  |  Oct  2013  
  27. 27. Is There a Market?! Credit:  MarkeDng  Technology  Landscape,  via  ChiefMartec.com  @Ar$ulGeek  |  FITC  SCREENS  |  Oct  2013  
  28. 28. Simple equation! Market Size =! Price Point x ! Number of Buyers! What Is The Market Size?! @Ar$ulGeek  |  FITC  SCREENS  |  Oct  2013  
  29. 29. Angry Birds! 2 billion downloads x $0.99! ! Minecraft! 10 million downloads x $6.99! Market Size Estimation! @Ar$ulGeek  |  FITC  SCREENS  |  Oct  2013  
  30. 30. Market Size! Adapted  from  B.  Srinivasan  and  V.  Pande   @Ar$ulGeek  |  FITC  SCREENS  |  Oct  2013  
  31. 31. • Fermi estimates (top-down market sizing)! !“How many piano tuners are there in !Chicago?”
 ! • Sum up empirical revenue figures for competitors ! !(SEC filings)! Market Size Estimation! @Ar$ulGeek  |  FITC  SCREENS  |  Oct  2013  
  32. 32. Facebook Advertiser Tools! Real time census for demographical estimates.! Market Research! @Ar$ulGeek  |  FITC  SCREENS  |  Oct  2013  
  33. 33. Google Adwords Keyword Planner! Search volumes for keywords.! Market Research! @Ar$ulGeek  |  FITC  SCREENS  |  Oct  2013  
  34. 34. Is There Demand?! @Ar$ulGeek  |  FITC  SCREENS  |  Oct  2013  
  35. 35. “A game-changer in the world of social networking”! ! AppAdvice, NYT,! Mashable.! Foreca.st! @Ar$ulGeek  |  FITC  SCREENS  |  Oct  2013  
  36. 36. If the concept is novel, can demand be created and fostered?! Demand! @Ar$ulGeek  |  FITC  SCREENS  |  Oct  2013  
  37. 37. Illusions of Demand! @Ar$ulGeek  |  FITC  SCREENS  |  Oct  2013  
  38. 38. Is There Room For Your Idea?! @Ar$ulGeek  |  FITC  SCREENS  |  Oct  2013  
  39. 39. Is There Room For Your Idea?! Spork! @Ar$ulGeek  |  FITC  SCREENS  |  Oct  2013  
  40. 40. Do you have sufficient time to market advantage?! Spork! @Ar$ulGeek  |  FITC  SCREENS  |  Oct  2013  
  41. 41. Could It Get ! Eaten By ! A Giant?! @Ar$ulGeek  |  FITC  SCREENS  |  Oct  2013  
  42. 42. • How do you get your app in the hands of The Market?! • Can you leverage virality?! • Can your marketing budget help achieve this?! Distribution Model.! Marketing Strategy.! @Ar$ulGeek  |  FITC  SCREENS  |  Oct  2013  
  43. 43. @Ar$ulGeek  |  FITC  SCREENS  |  Oct  2013   Credit:  h"p://www.viralblog.com/research-­‐cases/how-­‐hotmail-­‐became-­‐a-­‐viral-­‐hit-­‐once/  
  44. 44. •  In the 90s, people paid for Internet + one ISP based e-mail address. ! •  Enter Hotmail. People could now access their account from any computer in the world.! •  With no extra cost per email address!
 ! = Thousands of sign-ups every day.! The Hotmail Model! Virality + Shrewd Marketing!
  45. 45. Hotmail spent only $500,000 to gain 12 million users in 2 years, while its early competitors spent $20 million to attract less than half of that.! ! The Hotmail Model! Virality + Shrewd Marketing! @Ar$ulGeek  |  FITC  SCREENS  |  Oct  2013  
  46. 46. The Virality Equation   U(t) = (Np)t/τ   N = Number of people shared with p = probability that people decide to share τ= Time interval between shares •  Np must be > 1! •  It’s a lot easier to increase N than p! •  Decreasing τresults in non-linear growth, due to exponential factor.! @Ar$ulGeek  |  FITC  SCREENS  |  Oct  2013  
  47. 47. Potential Economy of Scale?! @Ar$ulGeek  |  FITC  SCREENS  |  Oct  2013  
  48. 48. An Idea Evaluation Model! @Ar$ulGeek  |  FITC  SCREENS  |  Oct  2013  
  49. 49. “The way to get good ideas is to get lots of ideas and throw the bad ones away.” – Linus Pauling @Ar$ulGeek  |  FITC  SCREENS  |  Oct  2013  
  50. 50. Questions?! @Ar$ulGeek  |  FITC  SCREENS  |  Oct  2013  

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