One of the most common questions I get from readers is how I come up with ideas for apps? So today I am starting a series of posts that will discuss many different ways you can come up with KILLER app ideas! I’m not sure how many posts it will take to complete the series, but pay close attention because you may just think of the next million dollar app idea using some of these strategies!
One of the most basic principles of business is that you should help the consumer solve a problem or make his or her life easier. This holds true in the vast majority of businesses, so why wouldn’t it hold true when it comes to app development? People in general are naturally lazy, but that is not necessarily a bad thing! Where would we be if people never wanted to make life easier for themselves? We wouldn’t have the lightbulb – why do we need it when we could just use candles? We wouldn’t have the airplane – why fly when we could just walk somewhere? I don’t think I have to go on – you get the point. Without people being naturally lazy and wanting things to be easier, we would still be living in caves!
So the first thing I would suggest you do if you want to come up with a killer app idea is to brainstorm what your problems are. Whether they are big problems that you experience every day or just little annoying things that you have to deal with once in a while, make a list of them. I know that it can be really hard to think of your own problems when you are sitting down and brainstorming. However, just by being observant as you go throughout your day, you will find that you can come up with lots of little problems you have or things that make you frustrated.
You also shouldn’t limit yourself to solving just your problems though! As you go throughout your day, I’m sure you hear people complaining about their problems as well – you just don’t realize it. When engaging in everyday conversation, listen for “problem keywords” such as:
- I hate…
- This sucks!
- I wish…
If you keep your ears open for these keywords, you will likely find that people you talk to everyday are literally spoon-feeding you problems that you could solve with an app! It honestly couldn’t be easier!
After about a week or so of being really observant as you go about your daily routine, I’m sure you can come up with a decent sized list of problems that need solutions. However, why limit your list to just problems that the people you talk to are experiencing? What if there was an easy way to find out what every one else in the world’s problems are as well? Well, luckily there is – and you probably use it every day!
The best tool by far for finding out what problems people all over the world are having is Twitter! At least once a week I head over to search.twitter.com and search for the “problem keywords” we discussed before. Yes, there are a lot of junk tweets of people complaining about how their life sucks, their boyfriend dumped them, etc. but there are also tons of people complaining about legitimate problems that you could solve with an app! I literally just took 5 minutes to take a quick look at Twitter and here are a few problems I found:
Personally, I’ve never had the need to delete lots of emails fast since I never delete any emails (just in case I ever need them again). However, I’m sure lots of other people have this problem as well. It’s just a matter of doing a little research now to see if there is enough of a demand and what your competition looks like in the App Store (is there any?).
Ok, at first glance this seems like a really stupid idea however after giving it a bit more thought it sounds like it has at least a little bit of potential. Really popular singers and bands’ shows get sold out pretty much no matter what, but a lot of the time ticket scalpers (people who buy tickets and then resell them for a profit) get a good percentage of the tickets and make real fans pay a hefty price for them. Wouldn’t the top singers and bands want to do what’s best for their real fans? So maybe they would consider signing up to sell their tickets (or at least a portion of them) through an app that gives people a short test (on song titles, lyrics, etc.) to make sure that real fans are the ones buying the tickets, not scalpers. This idea would be tough to execute, but has some potential if done right.
So this isn’t a legitimate problem, but when I saw this tweet I immediately thought that this has a potential to be some sort of game/gag app. The app would let you “build a boyfriend” for you piece by piece. Maybe you want The Situation’s abs, Ashton Kutcher’s hair, and Justin Beiber’s face? The app would let you pick different body parts from different celebrities and combine them to form your dream boyfriend! There might be something like this out there already, but it sounds like an app that has a lot of potential to me!
Genius! What teenager wouldn’t want advanced warning when their parents were about to come in the door? Maybe the app would send the user a text message when a new wireless device connects to the Wi-Fi, so when their parents pull up in the driveway their phone would auto-connect to the Wi-Fi and alert the teen that their parents are about to walk in. Would also be great for surprise parties so that everyone is hidden when the birthday boy or girl walks in the house!
So after only 5 minutes of searching Twitter, I came up with 4 pretty decent app ideas! The best part is that since so many people complain on Twitter, you will NEVER run out of new problems to solve!
Hopefully, by now you realize that problems are everywhere and a large majority of them can be solved (or at least help to be solved) with an app. At first, don’t even think about how you can solve people’s problems with an app – just write the problems down. Later, you can come back and try to solve them.
I hope that this post gets you motivated to go out and find some great problems to solve with an app! And the best part about making an app that solves problems is that you are literally changing the world for the better. You are making someone else’s life (maybe even yours) easier and that is something to be proud of!
So, what do you think? Do any of the app ideas I mentioned in this post have potential? Have you found any problems to solve yet? Let me know in the comments section below!