Republicans, The Lottery, and Apps

Without attempting to be too political, I have always been a touch confused at the working class folk who are strong supporters of the current Republican ideology. It seems pretty clear that the fiscal policy favors the rich, as is evidenced by the current discussion on income inequality (although you can argue that the democrats don’t also shoulder the blame!).

A simple view could be one of:

a) “I hate taxes. The government wastes that money so I shouldn’t have to give them anything to waste!”

b) “One day the American Dream ™ will come my way, and then it will be in my favor!”

I won’t bother to discuss a), although I am a fan of the fact that we have shared infrastructure. The attitude shared in b) is the one that relates to the rest of this discussion.

It also ties into the lottery system, and how we manage to fund programs by using the law of large numbers. If you get a lot of people to pay a couple bucks that adds up big with enough of a population but in theory doesn’t have a large effect on them. Huh, that isn’t all bad. What if we took the change from every purchase and also donated it. That scale could do so much good! However, isn’t that what taxes is for? Isn’t that what people seem to hate so much? What have taxes ever done for me!!!! (Other than pave society?)

The lottery sells hope. It is actually the lack of the american dream that paradoxically calls to many. Deep down you know that you are fighting an uphill battle to earn these riches, so you reach for luck instead. It is easy to poke fun and say that the lottery is a tax for those who are bad at Math, but it isn’t our place to judge. When you plan a vacation, you often get more joy from the build up and anticipation, so maybe some of this helps here.

Bring in the Apps

Building an app, getting it into the app store, and hoping for the customers to come raining in sure feels like a lottery these days doesn’t it? When a new platform comes along there is the rush to the gold. You can often create something new and get lucky, or you can copy history and make money selling tools and infrastructure to the miners.

At this point there is already an app for that, and if there isn’t you need to fight for mindshare in a store with masses of choices.

When creating your lovely application it sits proudly on your homescreen. This is where you envision it on a large number of users phones. This is the pride of place for the applications that need repeat engagement and access. Does your application really warrant that?

I was working with a friend who has a fantastic new group event service. It was a great example of something that it useful, but an app may not be needed. The event organizer may want the access and the rich functionality. The group they run may be an important part of their lives. But for the other members of the group? It may not be as important.

That doesn’t mean that they wouldn’t want to get notified when something important changed for their group. It doesn’t mean that if they enter the experience it should only be able to tell them basic info if they have a good internet connection.

This is why I am excited for progressive web apps. I picture a world where this application can get a broad reach and also get the engagement capabilities it needs.

You always need some luck when you come up with a new business or service. To give yourself a chance for it to grow and flourish it may be wise to not have to hit the homerun of the homescreen. Allow your business to work through frictionless links, A/B test without large delays, and don’t waste time and resource porting an experience multiple times.