2 things your app can focus on to be successful

Apps that do really well on the App Store focus on PASSIONS & PRODUCTIVITY. The higher you rank in the scale on these two categories, the better chances you have of making a kick-arse app concept that resonate with its users.


People are passionate about all kinds of crazy things. What's important is that passions makes us very emotional. And everybody knows emotional hooks are the best way to sell something to a consumer. Your job becomes exponentially easier if you don't have to convince them why something will be of value.

The effectiveness of the 'passion-hook' increases as the reach and the prestige of the passion gets higher. For example, fitness is a great category to be in. Everyone's emotionally invested in it, so your market size is large. More importantly, people are willing to pay to get fit.


Productivity is why IT exist in the world. Instead of figuring out what 28912 x 92891 is in your head or on paper, you have a calculator. If you can save time, make life easier, and return the human back its lazy couch potato stage as quickly as possible from real work, you are doing a great service. This service can worth a lot of money.

People pay to make things go away all the time. So if you are designing an app to help people be more productive, you have a great chance to make it. The bigger the problem you are solving, the higher you can charge for it. If it targets companies instead of individuals, then there is even bigger bucks to be made.


Then there are really good apps that combine the two. Food apps like Posse or Urban Spoon are great examples. People are very passionate about what they eat, and what says about them to the people around them. They take pride in finding little gems around the city and recommending to friends. At the same time, they are extremely productive. It saves me from having to Google for places to get lunch from when I'm hungry and irrational.


Of course there are other angles to succeed by making an app. You can look at improving communications and social interaction. But these are markets that may not follow the general pay for a download model that well. They are also very hard to succeed in.

If you want to keep it simple, make something that target passions and productivity. Analyse where you stand in the two scales when you are at the concept stage. Bring features in to add value in both categories as you go on. Find your own little edge in these scales that make your idea better.

As long as you are helping lazy humans be extra lazy, and help enjoying what they rather be doing, there's a chance of success.

Why make an iOS app first?

This is a regular discussion that happens under every article on The Verge about some new iOS app. So far they are all flames thrown at each camp. This poster had a really good answer with good supporting facts. I thought it was worth sharing:


It’s not “gibberish” – it’s fact:

1. Android users spend less time with apps. http://www.businessinsider.com/android-users-use-apps-less-2013-6
2. Android users are less likely to pay for apps: http://phandroid.com/2013/07/19/free-apps-android-users/
3. Android users don’t buy stuff with their mobile devices as much: http://bgr.com/2013/12/02/ios-android-black-friday-online-shopping/

There is a meaningful difference, and if you’re trying to make money in the mobile world, you start with iOS.

Taken from the http://www.theverge.com/2013/12/5/5178432/best-new-apps-level

The only thing I'll add to this is the ease of building and maintaining apps due to a more consistent group of devices with users who upgrade to new versions of the OS regularly.

Don't mistake this for developers not succeeding on Android. That is not true -- plenty of developers make a good living out of Android.

Important Considerations Before Naming Your App

If you’re a small time developer, you generally tend to skip steps when it comes to following a proper process on naming your apps / products. Here’s a list of things you shouldn’t be skipping...

Say you decide to make an app to educate people about how bad donuts are. Let’s call this app “Evil Donuts”. Excellent name!

Step 1: Google it.

This is so easy to forget sometimes. Always Google and see what comes up. Then switch over to the “Image” search tab and see what comes up there. If you only manage to get one to three bikini women, it is a good sign! These are the things that would compete for SEO and the things people associate your name with.

Screen Shot 2013-07-07 at 10.32.46 AM.png

Damn it, Facebook Group is taken. Might have to name it “Evil Donuts App”.

Step 2: Domain Search

Domains are important. We need to look for www.evildonuts.com and www.evildonutsapp.com. These are good domains for our app, unless your aim is to introduce a submain on your own site like: www.m2d2apps.com/evildonuts.

Screen Shot 2013-07-07 at 10.34.41 AM.png

Bummer, someone parked it.

Screen Shot 2013-07-07 at 10.35.13 AM.png

I recommend you use https://iwantmyname.com/ to look for names. It checks pretty much every domain possible.

Step 3: iTunes / Play Store

Ok let’s say this is going to be an iPhone app. We have to fire up iTunes and see if an app with that name exist. If it doesn’t great. If it does, you have to decide whether to stick with it. If you do, you can simply extend your name to: “Evil Donuts - Junk Food Eating Tips”. When the user installs the app, you can still name it “Evil Donuts” without Apple freaking out.

Screen Shot 2013-07-07 at 10.36.35 AM.png

Score! No Apps! Just like our 60Hz App!

Step 4: Easy to type?

We never thought about this when we launched “Notes + U”. Terrible name. Worst of all, it was hard to type on the iPhone. iOS keyboard hides the “+” button under 2 levels in the keyboard -- BAD idea. Make sure it is hard to misspell and easy to type out.

Step 5: Trademarks

Disclaimer: This is not in any way legal advice. Get a real lawyer for that. I am not qualified. This is merely personal experience.

CHECK TRADEMARKS! If your app only ever sells 10 copies this is less of an issue. However, if it makes its way up the ranks and you start gaining some love from Google, then you are in for it! “Evil Donuts Inc” is not going to be nice and empathise with your situation. Trademark law, I believe, specifies that once you have a trademark, you have to actively defend it or risk losing it altogether. So chances of you getting a Cease & Desist letter is quite high. Unless you have a strong legal team you will be forced to pull your app from the store when this happens.

Generally you will be forced to take down everything you have related to your beautiful app once you get a letter. Game over.

Interesting things I found out:

  • If you made friends with a law grad, good for you. Love them, buy them dinner, and keep in contact.
  • There's less likelihood on infringing trademarks if the name is descriptive. For instance, if we had named our app “Donut Nutrition Tutorials”, it is quite hard to get a C&D due to its descriptive tone. However, if we called it “DonutNutritionTutes”, then it is still under threat!
  • Generally trademark disputes resolve in the favor of the trademark owner. So you are very likely to lose even if you contest it.

Check the following countries at least:

Screen Shot 2013-07-07 at 10.38.26 AM.png

Cool! Abandoned in 2005!!

Once you are happy, go ahead and create an app in iTunes to stop anyone from taking that name.

Happy building apps. Evil Donuts app never did get made.


Getting The Story Right

Products are only as good as the story they tell. Whether it is an app or an electric toothbrush, the creators have to think about how it is going to be a captivating story. If the product cannot form a relationship with another person at an emotional level, then they have no reason to buy it. If no one can find anything interesting to say about what you’ve made, chances are, word will never get around...

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