Should You Build Your App Idea?

Why we’re investing in our audio diary app?

Oct 14, 2020 · Unlisted
Photo by Ken Cheung

I hear about lots of ideas for apps and app-based startups. I’ve been to lots of startup conferences and demo days. I’ve watched every single episode of Dragon’s Den. And about once a year, an old acquaintance finds out I studied computer science at uni, and gets back in touch to tell me about their revolutionary app idea that’s going to change the world — and would I mind helping them build it?

I’m sure you have an app idea too. There are hundreds of ideas for apps out there.

But the sad truth is that most of these app ideas aren’t worth building.

It takes a huge investment of time and money to create something — and then, a load more effort to fix bugs, market and grow a user base, and turn it into a sustainable business.

So is your app idea worth building? Is it worth taking the plunge, taking a leap of faith?

It’s simple: it’s worth it if you’re solving a real problem.

So long as you’re answering a need that real people have, your app will be worthwhile. That can be by inventing something brand new, or by making something difficult slightly easier.

And remember — your idea doesn’t need to be unique! Google wasn’t the first search engine. You could book a private cab before Uber. ‘Couchsurfing’ was a thing before Airbnb monetised it and created a community around it.

How do you know if you’re solving a problem?

A good way to think about this is like so: instead of thinking about the specifics of your app or product, think about the change it will bring about in the world. That is to say, don’t solutionise. Don’t worry too much about what the solution is. Instead, focus on the problem. Focus on how the world is now, and how the world will be after you’ve built what you’re building. This is where your drive will come from.

Simon Sinek calls this “starting with why.” As he says:

And by “why” I don’t mean “to make a profit.” That’s a result. It’s always a result. By “why,” I mean what is your purpose? What’s your cause? What’s your belief? Why does your organization exist? Why do you get out of bed in the morning? And why should anyone care?

A few months ago, Rory asked me to start a startup with him. The lockdown in the UK led him to start a voice journal; we want to bring the benefits of voice journaling to everyone.

Lots of friends have asked me why I’ve chosen to start a company now. I previously had a stable job at a great company — and to some, giving that up in the middle of a global pandemic seems crazy.

But the answer is simple.

I think Sound Off solves a real problem.

And I think it’s worthwhile investing time in that.

Do you have a great app idea? What’s stopping you from building it

Let me know in the comments.

We’re building a voice journal app, follow us: co-founders Elly, Paavan, & Rory post on the Sound Off publication every week.

Sound Off

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