Back to the drawing board?

16 replies
I had this idea for an app but I had never built an app before and had very limited programming knowledge. Long story short, I was about a week into development when I found it that the app already existed!

My mistake, I should have done more research.

However, I really enjoyed the learning process on how to code and build an app (this was for android).

I'm stumped on what to do now. Should I completely abandon the idea or still go for it?

The biggest problem is that the company that built the currently existing app did a PHENOMENAL job. They did almost everything as I would have.

When I first started building this app I was excited at the idea of building something new and more importantly, VALUABLE. Now it just feels like I'm a copy cat which I don't want to be.

The only thing I could do better than them is probably in marketing since it took me a while to find their app but I know why and because of that I could probably make more revenue off it. In terms of quality, to be honest, I probably couldn't make an app better than them since I'm a one man army making my first app and going back to school soon.

What would you do?
#back #board #drawing
  • Profile picture of the author writeaway
    As long as your app OFFERS more value than the existing app, you should go for it. If anything, this is a challenge for you to learn how to produce a DISTINCTIVE enough product. Plus, the whole experience of coding your own product and pushing through is its own reward.
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  • Profile picture of the author lotsofsnow
    For most things you will find multiple products.

    If there is a market for your type of app then go ahead and build it. Just because somebody else did already build it does not mean they cover the whole market.

    After 1 week you think their app is pretty good. Once you really start to dig in and then release the app and get some feedback you will see that theirs is not perfect.

    And who knows, maybe they lose interest in their app and abandon it after a few months. If their marketing sucks, their sales will suck and they will go elsewhere in a hurry to pay their bills.

    Then you can take over the whole market or at least a big chunk of it.

    And worse case scenario: You have created an app from start to finish, launched it and marketed it and got some sales. Now you have material for a case study and you can turn around and create a product from it.

    Well, that would only be second worse. The real worst case would be if you now just give up. So, go for it and push that thing through!
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  • Profile picture of the author dean20653
    If you look in the marketplace, you will see a ton of Flappy Bird "type" games. And a lot of text editors. You will find a lot of the same programs or apps produced by different people. No need to fear of being a copycat..just learn and get the experience then do more research and dominate with another app. At least you will feel rewarded that you saw the project from start to finish.

    Rewards of a job well done come in more forms than just money :-) .. Use this to your advantage. Learn, grow, and prosper!

    Best of luck to you!
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  • Profile picture of the author baldandwrinkly
    Like everyone else has already said, don't giver up, carry on developing the app and bring it to market!
    As long as it fulfills an existing need, and it's marketed right, then you will get sales.
    have you bought the other app? If not, I would suggest you do, and then you can make sure that yours exceeds theirs in some way, or maybe all ways.
    My first product was an ebook on traffic strategies. There were already LOTS of others on the market, but I thought mine brought something new to the table.
    It sold some copies, and I learnt a lot from the process.
    Like Nike say - just do it!
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  • Profile picture of the author wolfe655
    I play around with some programming too. If I were you I would keep working on it. Think of how much more you will learn between now and when you finish. Maybe yours will blow theirs away. You said you know the marketing so really good product and out market them. What langage are you using to program it?
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  • Profile picture of the author john5Jhx
    Originally Posted by shahbaby View Post

    I had this idea for an app but I had never built an app before and had very limited programming knowledge. Long story short, I was about a week into development when I found it that the app already existed!
    Well, there are no unique ideas right?

    I spent a year developing my first iPhone app. I have over twenty years in professional software development across a range of platforms so the CS wasn't a problem at all.

    Was there competition?

    Tons.

    My concept had a twist I thought would add value. It was a game for kids and I wanted to create it for my own kids anyhow. I also wanted to understand how to create apps for iOS. These two things justified the effort.

    I released the app at $0.99 and probably sold 50 copies. I didn't really put much effort into marketing it.

    About six months later I made it free.

    5,000 downloads.

    No marketing.

    Now I am busy expanding the app to re-release it with an in-app purchase strategy for monetization. I am almost certain it will make money. Will it pay for over a year in development? Hard to say. It did however, lay the foundation for doing more apps and that was important.

    I would suggest you think of this as your training app. Learn. Get it out there. Experiment. Don't quite think of it as a throw away app or you will not give it the requisite effort. At the same time, don't be emotionally invested in it. The failure rate in the app store is massive.

    This app will take you from knowing nothing to having a published app. That's a big deal. Do it.

    Oh, yes, make it free or you risk having it get lost in the black hole the app store can be within one to three days. Figure out a way to monetize in-app, either through advertising or through in-app purchases that add value.

    If your competitors have lots of comments, read them all. Pay attention to comments from people having problems or wishing the app did something it can't do. Use that info to mold what decisions you make with your app.

    If the application can have international appeal consider having it available in a number of languages from the very start. Perhaps your competitors are not doing this which means it could be valuable differentiation. Facebook just paid billions for an app that's got huge usage outside the US.


    Hope this helps.
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    • Profile picture of the author Bright-Eyed
      Oops, John

      So sorry, I am just now seeing your post in its entirety.

      Originally Posted by john5Jhx View Post

      If your competitors have lots of comments, read them all. Pay attention to comments from people having problems or wishing the app did something it can't do. Use that info to mold what decisions you make with your app.
      Yes, that's what I was saying also! :-)


      Originally Posted by john5Jhx View Post

      If the application can have international appeal consider having it available in a number of languages from the very start. Perhaps your competitors are not doing this which means it could be valuable differentiation..

      Also another beautiful tip. You'd be surprised at the success you can get from getting your stuff translated into other languages.

      A good way to start this is by checking your logs to see what other countries are viewing and/or downloading your app. Then you'll know which languages to start with re: translations.

      ShahBaby, Good luck with your project!
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  • Profile picture of the author annie800
    I would keep on developing the app even though there is an app out there already. Having more than one app available will give people a choice in which app they would like to downloand.
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  • Profile picture of the author benzwm02
    You don't have to give up just yet. See if you can pivot or make your app a bit different or stand out from your competition.
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  • Profile picture of the author Bright-Eyed
    Agree with the others. Look at McDonald's/Burger King/Carl's Jr/etc -- they all sell burgers --


    So on to differentiating yourself/your app:

    Does that competitor app have any/some/a lot of customer/buyer reviews?

    See all the negative posts and see what they're not liking about it, and make sure yours DOESN'T do what they hate

    See the lukewarm reviews and see what they thought the app would be like, their mild disappointments, yet what they have specifically praised about it. Do that/those part(s) BETTER.


    So:

    1. See what others hate about it - THEN improve/get rid of/etc
    2. See what others wish the app was / or wished it 'also did this' - THEN add that (if it's not ridiculous of course and others are saying/wishing for the same thing..)
    3. See the specific parts that the reviewers REALLY seem to love about the app - THEN make those areas even better or make them stand out more...

    Hope this also adds to the ideas...
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  • Never give up!!! Our whole lives is about reverse engineering. Its an old world we live in and history just repeats itself. Its like saying I will never be a chef because someone is using this ingredient that wont make me unique. How many ways can you cook with the same ingredients? Who is to say that that app will be enjoyed by all target market? Each product has different reach potential. If this werent true then everyone will only use iphone. Everyone will only use macs. Etc. just focus on doing your idea and dont even look at the comeptitions. Copying exist everywhere but putting your own flavour into the app makes it your own.
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  • Profile picture of the author shahbaby
    Even though the competitor seems to have a superior app and I'm still in the early stages so I won't lose much by giving up now, I've decided to stick with it.

    As others have said, the joy of taking something from concept to final product is worth it in of itself and I'll learn a ton of information along the way which could be useful for future plans.

    The competitor charges for their app which actually isn't a bad idea because the people that will be downloading this app will have money to spend.

    One way to differentiate myself is that I'll make it free to download and monetize a different way. I have a hunch that this method will work out better.
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    • Profile picture of the author john5Jhx
      Originally Posted by shahbaby View Post

      Even though the competitor seems to have a superior app and I'm still in the early stages so I won't lose much by giving up now, I've decided to stick with it.
      I'm glad you decided to keep going. However, I'll advise you should consider really changing the way you think about business and competition.

      Chess: Most Grand Masters lost more games than they won during their trip to become a Grand Master. It takes loosing a lot of games to learn how to play chess well. It's easy to give up.

      Olympic athletes: Same things. Lots of work, effort, winning, losing.

      Imagine a cyclist going into a race saying "even though the competitor is superior". No. Go into the race as pumped-up as you can and truly believing you have a shot. Work hard to make sure you do have a shot. There are no government handouts or programs here that will make you a winner, only you, the effort you are willing to put into it and how much pain and failure you are willing to accept on the way to the top.

      "Your Focus Determines Your Reality" -Qui-Gon Jinn

      Focus on defeat and you will lose.

      Focus on victory and you will get better and better until you make it, whatever that measure might be.


      Yes, Qui-Gon Jinn, as in the Jedi master from Star Wars.
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      • Profile picture of the author ClickDale
        I say GO FOR IT, especially if you are not far from completion. Do not let competition stop you from jumping into the pool. If everyone felt that way, this forum would not exist.

        Sometimes it is good to offer a different feel or a few little changes. Sometimes all that really matters comes down to the slightest difference. And if there is only ONE other individual that has a similar product, then that is even more of a reason to upload your app.

        Best of luck to you. Let us know how it turns out!
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  • Profile picture of the author Moneymaker2012
    Try to make some more options in your app and start market and also check your competitor market status that they are marketing there app or not and what is the sales rate if they are not marketing or there marketing style is not good then this a clean way to market and get sales on you app.
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  • Profile picture of the author hustlinsmoke
    You mean you stopped building the app cause one was already out there.
    So if want to put a hot dog stand up in my town and there is already a hot dog stand I shouldn't do it.

    There is always room for competition. You know prices are bad enough for everything around the world but can you imagine prices without competition.
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