How to Succeed in Today’s App Store

How to Succeed in Today’s App Store

The App Store changes at a rapid pace. Even though Apple's mobile marketplace is generating more revenue than ever, many indie developers are struggling to make a living in the App Store. The App Store continues to be a viable marketplace for developers, but it takes hard work, persistence, and grit. I would like to share two tips with you that have helped me succeed in today's crowded App Store.

The Idea That Changes Everything

Many developers and entrepreneurs spend weeks or months looking for the idea that is going to change everything. Ideas are worth nothing. Execution is everything. Take Bear as an example. It directly competes with a slew of other applications that manage your notes, including Evernote, the behemoth in the space.

Ideas are worth nothing. Execution is everything.

And yet, Bear is quickly becoming a success. It was even among the best applications of 2016. The idea of Bear isn't unique, but the execution is amazingly well done. Shiny Frog focused on the essence and poured their ideas into a fresh user interface. The result is a beautifully crafted application for iOS and macOS.

Don't waste your time looking for the perfect idea. Pick a problem that resonates with your interests and that people are willing to pay for. Once you have your idea, it is time to execute.

Start Small

Execution is the name of the game. But that doesn't mean you need to spend a year building the first version of your product. Start with a minimal feature set. I usually advise clients and developers to focus on a single feature and craft it into perfection.

Few applications win the hearts of customers because of a long list of features. Most successful mobile applications are focused. They stand out because they do one thing very, very well. Marco Arment's Overcast is a fine example. Marco knows how to build software and it shows. Overcast is an opinionated podcast player that does one thing very well, playing podcasts.

The current version has an impressive list of features, but the application started its life with a minimal feature set. Streaming, for example, didn't make it into the first version even though it was a must-have feature for many podcast enthusiasts. Overcast started its life with a small set of features and evolved into what it is today.

Not everyone is going to like your application and that is fine. In fact, if nobody dislikes your application, you may have a problem. You can't afford to create a product that drowns in mediocracy. Applications that stand out are opinionated. They do something their way and that is why they have a loyal user base. Samsara, for example, is a minimalist meditation and yoga timer. It isn't the most popular application in the App Store, but the people that use Samsara love it. It is opinionated.

What Is Stopping You

Most of us take a short break to spend time with friends and family during the holidays. But this time of year is also great to kickstart a new project. Why don't you take the free time to execute on the idea that has been in the back of your mind for the past year. What is stopping you?