Mr. Rameet Chawla is the founder of Fueled, an app design and development company based in New York and London, and the founder of the Fueled Collective, a co-working space comprised of over 35 startups in downtown Manhattan.
So you’ve got a new app idea. It’s not just a knockoff of the latest surprise hit. It’s something entirely new that addresses a real problem or fills a void with an elegant solution that no one else has brought to market.
It just might make you a billion dollars and let you fund that manned mission to Titan you’ve been dreaming about.
But to really hit it big with an app, you’ve got to develop it for the right demographic. Who are you going to build it for?
The Audience Your App Depends On
You could build an app for your mom, but you aren’t going to get rich designing innovative apps for her and her friends. The majority of Gen X — and previous generations — has already developed loyalty to the apps that have served them well, and they’re not likely to change.
Design for Millennials instead — a user base that comes to you without all the baggage of the way things used to be done. Millennials have a passion for the progressive and new, and they have values, ideas, and needs that existing apps have not yet addressed.
So, what do Millennials want?
1. Hyper-Focused Specialty Apps
I often wonder whether Facebook — the whole tortured, acquired, labyrinthine monstrosity of it — would succeed if it were released today. Older generations are used to the Swiss Army Knife-style apps with unwieldy feature sets and corkscrews, magnifying glasses, toothpicks, flash drives, compasses, and IFTTT integrations all in one fat package. Everything is included and convenient for nearly any need a user could have.
When you wanted to build a successful app for an older generation, the inclusion of several successful features was a good idea. A proprietary social network like Facebook appeals to the needs of that audience. Just don’t expect Millennials to have anything to do with it. Millennials want hyper-focused apps that do one thing — and only one thing — really well.[caption id="attachment_87694" align="alignleft" width="200"] Source: Yo[/caption]
Look at Yo, a recent hit among Millennials. If you haven’t tried it, here’s how you use Yo. Open the app. Tap a friend’s name. That friend receives a push notification: “Yo.” That’s it. And it was a huge hit.
Or consider Timehop. Its creators took a modestly successful app (which had formerly just been an email-based service) and made it more successful by removing features.
Timehop collects photos from your social media history and shows you what you were doing on this day one, two, and three years ago. You used to also be able to look at what you were doing one year and a day ago, but then they stripped out the “and a day” feature. If you don’t look at it today, that information is gone until next year.
The experience became fleeting. What happened? Timehop’s share rates increased, and its creators found themselves on a solid growth curve.
The bottom line: Take whatever idea you have, and whittle it down to one key function.