Yo, Maybe Your App Isn’t Stupid Enough?

yo

Maybe you’ve busted your ass, hour after hour, day after day, week after week, imaging, creating, honing and developing your product or service, painstakingly developing user stories, creating beautiful user interfaces, making sure that the flow is intuitive, developing rock solid back ends, then launching your product, only to see it downloaded a few times. No users, no investors, you hang your head while the “sad Charlie Brown” theme plays, and go back to a day job you hate.

Or maybe you spent 8 hours coding up something incredibly stupid, launching it, then getting a cool million dollars in funding. And now a lot of press. And extended diatribes from tech bloggers, like the one below, forcing out 1000+ words on the meaning of your product:

If you haven’t been following along on Twitter, Yo is the hottest new app that will leave you scratching your head. The entire premise of the app is to send other users a single word: Yo.

Yo currently has over 50,000 active users, after launching as a joke on April Fools’ Day. Users have sent over 4 million Yo’s to each other. Without ever having officially launched, co-founder and CEO Or Arbel managed to secure $1.2 million in funding from a list of unnamed investors, except for co-founder, angel, and Mobli CEO Moshe Hogeg, who participated in the round.

via Yo | TechCrunch.

As a friend of mine stated on Facebook after hearing of Yo!s “success” “I can up with 5 different ideas in 5 minutes that are better than that.” Which is true. I feel the same.

For every one of these stories I hear of a “stupid” app being successful, there are thousands of “smart” apps which don’t get anywhere. The web and the app store is full of well designed, well thought out, useful & entertaining apps which don’t get a penny or a mention, but stuff like Yo, Flappy Bird, ViralNova, Distractify, UpWorthy and the like get millions upon millions of downloads and page views.

Of course, success is, as I’ve said before, a black swan. It has to be the right combination of product, timing, people and most importantly luck.  But lately I’ve been hearing more and more stories like this, where for example sites like PlayBuzz, a BuzzFeed knockoff without any of the smart stories, went from 0 to 54 million users in 30 days. I have to shake my head. I have to think – is my app too smart to win in this new world? Do I have to make my app or website more stupid?

I look at all the smart apps and websites which had a ton of thought put into them which have failed, and all the slapdash crap stuff which has been a raging success and I think – were we wrong all this time? Do people really want the well honed wonderful experience, or do they want some stupid app? In fact, the stupider the better?

Let’s hope that we are just in the middle of a stupid bubble which will soon pop. But just in case we aren’t, i’ll send you over to download my own attempt at a “stupid” app – Birdhouse Mania.

Maybe I can get $2m for this one ;)

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