Advice: Just Finish It!
Apple Insider has a great story today about 22-year old programmer named High Gloss (which is an awesome name if it’s real). Gloss, who has worked on more than 20 iPhone applications, recently struck gold with a free application for the phone called “Sound Grenade,” which Gloss himself concedes is “crap.”
The application, which took about twenty minutes to make and consists of less than ten lines of code, according to Gloss, is just a single button that emits an annoying, high pitched noise when pressed. A few days later, the app has received over 200,000 downloads and greater than 500 reviews. At first Gloss was giving it away for free, but after the application hit the iPhone App Store’s Top 50, he started putting ads on it. He processed a million ad requests in 24 hours and is making the equivalent of $200/hour in click-through revenue.
It’s unlikely that Gloss will be able to keep up either the high download rate or the click-through rate for very long given the simple nature of the app. But that’s not really the story here. Neither is the state of the Apple App store, which Gloss says rewards “crap” applications. The best part of the Apple Insider interview comes at the end, when Gloss, perhaps inadvertently, gives some excellent advice to all app developers.
“I’ve got to make apps to be in the game,” he told Apple Insider. “Every idea that I don’t do, for being too rubbish or stupid, could have been in the top 100.”
Or, in other words: follow through with your ideas or you might just be leaving cash on the table. That’s a theme I’ve been seeing repeated a lot recently. A couple of days ago, a post by 18-year-old entrepreneur Jessica Mah on her blog theorized that the reason most entrepreneurs fail is a lack of follow through.
“Pick one idea that you’re passionate about, and whole-heartedley follow through with your implementation,” she counseled. “If you don’t put in the effort to build your company, you’ll see nothing but a self-hating outcome.”
This sentiment is echoed by screenwriter Joss Whedon (of Dr. Horrible fame, see our coverage), as well. Whedon recently shared his top ten tips for aspiring screen writers in an issue of 4Talent Magazine, but many of the tips could be applicable to entrepreneurship as well. His number one tip: just finish it.
“Actually finishing it is what I’m gonna put in as step one. You may laugh at this, but it’s true. I have so many friends who have written two-thirds of a screenplay, and then re-written it for about three years,” he wrote. “Finishing a screenplay is first of all truly difficult, and secondly really liberating. Even if it’s not perfect, even if you know you’re gonna have to go back into it, type to the end. You have to have a little closure.”
The advice from Gloss, Mah, and Whedon is all sound, and should be taken to heart. You don’t have anything until you finish it. Yes, it’s a good idea to think about what your target market might want in an application, but obsessing about perfection to the point where you don’t actually finish anything is obviously not going to make you successful.
So get out there and finish something. It won’t be perfect on the first go around — in fact, it will probably never be perfect — but that’s okay. Get it done, get it out there, and then worry about making it better.