Your Next Great App Idea Starts Here

 In Software Development

Part of our job at SOLTECH is to listen to the ideas of others, and help make them better.  The variety and uniqueness of our clients’ custom software projects certainly helps keep our job fun and exciting, but are there any similarities in how they came about their idea?  Do they have anything in common that you can replicate if you are interested in inventing your own mobile app or web software product?

The answer is yes.

Although their software ideas have nothing in common, the way that they arrived at them is actually the same. To illustrate the origin of their good ideas, it is best that I tell you a short story.  I don’t know where I first heard this, so I cannot give credit, but this story resonated with me so much, that I constantly retell it.

The Story

There is a farmer sitting on a porch with his dog.  A man walks by and notices that the dog is whining.  He stops and asks the farmer, “What’s wrong with your dog?”  The farmer replies, quite unconcerned, “He is laying on a nail.”  The man finds this most odd and can’t help but ask the obvious question, “Why doesn’t he move?”  To this the farmer replies, “Because it doesn’t hurt enough yet.”

Because it doesn’t hurt enough yet.  That is a powerful realization.  How many things in your life are uncomfortable or irritating that you tolerate or put up with because you think you have to, or because it isn’t a pressing priority?  Maybe it is deleting 20 emails a day, every day, from the same companies because it is easier to delete in the moment than to unsubscribe.  Maybe it is dealing with a slow computer, a continually dropping network connection, a nagging injury, knowing what to have for dinner, or an uncomfortable chair.  Wouldn’t it be great if someone could come along and make these things go away?  Sure.  Why can’t that be you?

A great idea comes from noticing the everyday small irritations and the everyday joys, then finding a way to respectively remove or multiply them to make the world a little better and brighter.  In speaking with hundreds of clients, each one of them has first noticed something about their everyday life, wondered if it could be better or different, and then decided to do something about it, using technology.

Here are a few examples on what others have done to eliminate a frustration or further a joy by creating a new mobile app or Software as a Service (Saas) web application.  See if you can spot the “dog on the nail” for each of these.

Email overload

If you too have trouble managing your inbox, Unroll.me and Google’s beta Inbox both offer a unique service to help those of us who still struggle with email overload. Each service approaches the problem differently.  Unroll.me allows you to mass unsubscribe or roll-up less-important emails into a daily digest.  Google Inbox auto-categorizes your email allowing you to mark entire categories like “Social” as read, as well as pin emails, set reminders and mark emails as done.  I personally use both.

Send your friends money

If you are looking for an easier way to send money to your friends for free, whom you love to chat with using Facebook, then you are in luck as Facebook just announced a free Friend-to-Friend payment capability through messages.  When convenience is king, why leave the app you are in to send money when you can do it right where you are at?

Moving to a car dependent city

My hairdresser was explaining to me yesterday that when she moved from Boston to Atlanta, she was surprised that she would have to own a car to get around.  She thought that all cities were equal when it comes to public transportation and taxis.  Her move to Atlanta was a frustrating one but now with Uber, she can go out, have reliable transportation, and not have to worry about having cash on hand.  

Summary

If the idea of creating your own mobile app or software business is appealing, but you don’t know where to start, take a moment to notice how you interact with your everyday life.  What are your “dog on a nail” tendencies?  What do you put up with that annoys you?  What do your friends, family and colleagues express frustration about?  What are the little things that bring you pleasure and joy?  How can you eliminate the frustration, or multiply the joy, or both?

When you are able to notice, and see beyond what most of us overlook because of our busyness or an acceptance for how things “are”, you will find plenty of ideas.

Photo credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/14141796@N05/5521501965

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