A quick update from my end: turns out, chances of releasing a successful smart phone app, are statistically almost zero.
I’m not talking about the writing project we’re doing, chances on that are even worse. I’m talking about the forecasting application for wave surfers: Swell Navigator.
The product is great, but according to research I’m finding online, the odds are stacked against us.
First of all, everybody and their mom has been building an app. According to Quora, in 2017 roughly 100 new apps were accepted to the Google Play Store every day. That’s a lot.
Secondly, I read most successful entrepreneurs aren’t the young hip guys and girls you would expect. Turns out not a lot changed, mom. A big chunk of successful entrepreneurs are 40 years old, male (I know, but let’s not get into that thing here), and come from corporate backgrounds. And even if they are young, they get a CEO who meets those criteria to run the business. So in short, people who have a lot of experience have a better chance of becoming successful. That’s probably not a shocker to you. It is to us young urbanites.
I think the reason why there are so many new products coming out, is because it feels like building a successful business has been democratized in the digital mobile age. Everyone has acces to tools that help them create a product or service from their house. And everyone has acces to platforms to publish the thing.
But in reality, because those tools are easily accessible, they create an enormous amount of clutter for you to cut through. So you’ll need to invest a lot in an enormous marketing campaign. Good thing you made me read Catch-22, mom.
If you do succeed in wriggling yourself out of that loophole, you need experience on board, to build a sustainable business. Experience that has nothing to do with coding and UX-design.
At the moment we don’t have 40 year old corporate males on board, and we don’t have the financial means to buy attention.
But I’m not quitting, because there’s at least three things these articles don’t include. First of all, not all is equal amongst those many new apps. A product needs to have an apparent and simple added value to stand any chance, independent of marketing. Secondly, not all big effective marketing costs money. And finally, a young individual might not have a lot of experience, but a diverse team of young individuals at least ads up to quite a lot more.
The guys worked long and hard on developing this thing, and today we released a product with an added value that is significant, simple and different from the main competition:
‘Set the weather conditions you prefer, at the exact spots you go to, and get alerts when it’s time to head out.’
We got there because Valentijn, who came up with all of this, is a surfer himself. And while he tried to score waves in Australia he was in need of this product, but it wasn’t there. That’s the right kind of motivation. A motivation that brought us to a simple pitch, which explains the added value in under thirty seconds. It will make sense to every hardcore surfer out there, and they can’t find it in any product right now. That felt like good start.
And it turned out to be, so far. Before the final version was released, and before launching any marketing, there already were some surfers who started using the beta version daily. And turns out, among them are some of Europe's best pro's. People who surf for a living. That's a real good indication our product is already adding value. They can help us get the word out to a huge audience.
If we succeed in gaining traction because of this, we need to turn that opportunity into a healthy business.
A lot of the other companies included in the statistics, consist of only developers, who’s specialty is building the product. We have a developer, a UX designer, a marketing strategist, a bunch of hardcore surfers and a business consultant. We have more mouths to feed but also more perspectives, resulting in ideas for the future wat beyond the product itself.
I’m getting ahead of myself. What do you think, mom? I’m feeling good about it.
You can download the app to your phone to check it out if you want. Just go the App Store. It’s the blue button with the ‘A’ logo. Type in: Swell Navigator.
I’ll keep you posted on our progress and we’ll see if we can beat the statistics.
PS I’ll be hard to reach for a while. I’m on a bike right now, cycling from Amsterdam to Lisbon. We're almost half way there.
PPS Yes, I am wearing a helmet.