iOS products are a local optimum

This morning, I was sitting in the booming heart of Seville, sipping my café con leche and reading The State of the Art is Terrible by Zack Morris. A great read indeed.

It then finally dawned on me: most apps are a local optimum. This includes most of the apps I’ve worked on, including the most successful ones. Another fine example is the gorgeous Thermo app. Even though I love using it, it is just another way to view the weather forecast. It hardly adds any value to the world.

I disagree with Zack about whether the iPad is changing computing. I think it does, because it opens up computing to a much bigger audience. It makes it more accessible for big groups of people (very young people, old people and people who aren’t technically minded). This is a big step forward.

However, most of the things you can do on an iPad were possible on desktop computers as well. We are advancing, but the applications don’t necessarily get smarter. Most of the applications that get released are just a beautiful skin with basic functionality.

Now, I don’t think all hope is lost. Even though we aren’t creating smarter applications yet, we at least have improved one massively important factor: usability. Now is the time to put our CS degrees to good use and make the applications more intelligent. I think Siri is a great example of this. It’s very advanced, but they hid everything behind the most simple user interface possible.

As for me, I’m sticking to making relatively simple applications, for now. I don’t mind the local optimum. I’ll try to set up a passive income so I can work on bigger things. Hopefully, it won’t be very long before I get there. Also, I have so much to learn regarding the building of products, designing and marketing, which will be very useful once I will build bigger things.

I don’t think the MVP strategy will take us to huge innovations. It is great for the products I want to build now, but for really big things, we probably need a different strategy. This is also expressed in the article The Man Who Inspired Jobs. I especially liked the quote:

Market research is what you do when your product isn’t any good.

However, you have to have the right background to say this. For an entrepreneur like me, with hardly any experience, this is not true. I’ll make sure to get my experience in building products, and then I’ll try to build bigger things.

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