After months of tireless work, the launch of a new app can be one of the most exciting or devastating days for the team behind it. The design, development, and marketing efforts are all immediately tested by thousands of people who have no idea what it actually took to produce the app in-front of them. This event – the launch – gets a lot of consideration during every phase of development.
This is great/fun/exciting/whatever, but it places the focus on short-term success, which results in the following revenue curve:
To me, this seems counter-intuitive. Every business plan I’ve ever seen has a graph that goes up, not down. So why is the app-store ecosystem so different? It seems like everyone is trying to make “the next big thing,” which implies that there will soon be a next next big thing to render their next big thing obsolete. It’s fun to try and chase the next wave of technology, but if you’re focused on long-term success, you need to rethink your strategy.
Jeff Bezos, the billionaire founder of Amazon.com, encourages companies to position themselves in front of the wave and wait on it to crash. Here’s a video of Jeff talking about big-data in the late 90’s. This was before people even used the term “Big Data,” but if you fast-forward to the 9-minute mark, you’ll hear Jeff casually explain what they were doing and how it would help grow their business.
Amazon.com lost over $120 million that year, but eventually, the wave crashed. Thanks to this report from the IBTimes, we can see what Amazon’s revenue curve has looked like:
Amazon wasn’t chasing after the current trends and trying to launch a flashy product that was immediately successful. Instead, they built a business that grew over time. The same thing can be done in the app store, but on a much smaller scale.
I’ve found success applying this approach to niche markets in the app store. The old-fashioned technique of recognizing a need, making a product that fulfills it, and gradually expanding that product has worked well. Here’s a look at the growth of my Pool Doctor app, which helps people chemically treat their swimming pools:
It may not be as exciting or flashy, but long-term success should be the ultimate goal of any business endeavor.