The Shortcomings of the App-Mentality

By ‘Obidiah’

elizabeth-holmes

With 1645 billionaires in the world today and an increasing number of them joining the Three Comma Club through applications such as WhatsApp, Snapchat and so on, one can see the appeal of making the next big app.

The formula is simple. Make an Application. People use it. You (and your team) get rich.

Easy. Except that it is not.

It takes roughly 18 weeks or 432 hours or 25,920 minutes (Crispycodes) to make one. Assuming you’re not the guy coding all of it and have to pay for it, from what I have gathered from a few entrepreneurs who did just that (I think they reduced the price) it’s over ₦1 million.

As with the title and just about everything on our fair earth, there are shortcomings with trying to be the next billion dollar application or device chief amongst them is:

Who does it serve?

If you ask yourself today, what the function of Snapchat is outside time-constrained photo messaging, you might find your list coming up short. The same goes for Instagram and many other social media applications I am unaware of. They have a limited functionality that help a selective few who do not really have a lot of day-to-day worries when compared to the larger community. In Nigeria for example, internet penetration is at 32.9%. That’s 55,930,000 individuals with internet access. They will be the ones using these apps to….enrich their lives? Not really.

A friend of mine told me about this wonderful facial recognition device to be used in a specific industry. When I asked him the ‘Who does it serve’ question, he quickly said ‘Everyone!’ would benefit from it. Three minutes into his business plan, it was clear he was planning to go hands off when the consumers paid for and used it. He would serve himself. He had already made his projections for profit and was still unaware of how it would serve the others.

That’s where the shortcoming lies for me. Helping the wider community should be a goal when looking to improve the way people do things. Bill Gates, Jobs and so on. While their inventions are rather expensive today, they changed the way we do things. Most remarkably, Elizabeth Holmes who is making blood test cheaper for everyone and at the same time, making a few extra bucks.

theranos

So why not create new ways to do things better, cheaper, more sustainable. As our attention span reduces, has our ability to think long-term done so as well? I am sure there are many who would say that’s not the case and cite many companies like Elizabeth Holmes’ but then why do they not get the attention they deserve? In the world of Insta-this and Insta-that, Insta-Rich seems to be the new thing. Being a millionaire now seems boring as portrayed by the media. As is a $500,000 would not get you a house a car and then some.

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