Joel Comm realized the App Store is too boring for anyone other than an Apple fanboy or a geek. Thinking that would be the case with everyone, he created the most useless app ever—an app that does nothing but produces different sounds of fart. Unexpectedly, Apple approved the app. Of course, nobody was willing to pay for a fart-producing app, even when it costs a buck. At least, this what the developers thought.
iFart went on to top the App Store charts around the time Christmas and remained in top ten most of the January. During the time, the $0.99 app was downloaded over 350, 000 times, grossing more than $10, 000 every day, $40, 000 on Christmas, and 2 million in total.
Welcome to the world of apprenuership where miracles happen more often than not, rags to riches is an everyday tale, and the American dream is a sideway on a cakewalk. But don’t get your hopes very high already.
Is the story same every time?
The year is no more ‘08 and apps’ number are approaching 2.5-million figure. The competition is now two-way now. After a long, dry initial phase, Android developers have also started to make money. The figures may not be as inspiring as that of Apple’s platform, rags-to-riches may only be few, but Android has the quantity (Android powers 80% of smartphones.)
The good news is software development, which at a time was confined to people with computer science degree, with so many app success stories surfacing, is inspiring even non-professionals to learn app coding.
An … app is all you need to make a difference
Newer entrepreneurs are centering all their products and services efforts around apps. Startups are refraining from making any sort of investment in marketing and are still receiving better RoI by investing in iOS and Android app development.
Appreneurs form a new breed in the town and they are coming for every industry, not just tech. They build innovative apps, make money out of them, sell the app at overinflated price, make even more money, get back to developing another one and so forth.
Kevin Systrom created a photo sharing app for iPhone with $500, 000 in seed funding, made it available on the App Store in Oct 2010, and raised another $7 million in Feb 2011. By March 2012, Instagram was topping Play Store charts and had a $500 million valuation after another round of funding. The same month, Facebook bought Instagram for $1 billion in cash and stock. The deal was closed in Sept 2012. After Facebook stocks exploded in 2016, Kevin Systrom net worth was $1.1 billion and he was important enough to be invited by Pope Francais at the Vatican.
A company that was worth less than 10 million a year ago was acquired for whopping $1 billion a year after, twice its valuation at that time. Industry pundits believe Instagram today is worth $50billion.
What can be a better ‘rags to riches’ story. Isn’t this what American dream all about?
The Innovator’s Dilemma
According to Quartz, Systrom instigated a management system to avoid paralysis and pointless bureaucracy, which he himself is responsible for, by setting up meetings in which only decisions are taken. This approach was learnt by Systrom’s interest in academic business theories, to be specific Clayton M. Christensen’s notion of the “The Innovator’s Dilemma”.
But the dilemma doesn’t rest only in the court of start-ups alone. Even large-scale enterprises like Amazon are prone to it and are wants to learn a lesson or two from fast-paced startup-culture.
Jeff Bezos, in order to validate he acts quickly, he follows a set of rules called “high-velocity decision-making”, in which he urges his employees to try to act with minimum information and make changes if required as more information becomes available.
His point is correcting you as the more information becomes available is less costly than not acting at all until entire information becomes available.
“Most decisions should be made with only about 70% of the information you need; if you wait for 90% or more, you’re moving too slowly,” Bezos said.