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Finding a mobile app idea - How to do it?

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Anonymous User at Taro Communitya year ago

Hi guys to me the most difficult part of building an android apps is coming up with an idea of what to build. To me it feels like there are almost no android apps that I can build that are unique since it feels like almost any android app idea I come up with, someone else has already built it or used my idea. What is your guys advice on this situation especially when I'm trying to build an app with the goal of attracting a lot of users?

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(5 comments)
  • 20
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    Android Engineer @ Robinhood
    a year ago

    Well aren't most popular products like that? Even though they're dominant in their product domain, they weren't really first. Maybe you can look to take an existing app someone else built, see where the issues are, and just built your own version that fixes them?

  • 48
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    Tech Lead @ Robinhood, Meta, Course Hero
    a year ago

    Jonathan more or less nailed it - Making better versions of existing apps was exactly my bread-and-butter strategy behind getting 3,000,000+ users on my Android side projects.

    Here are the 2 most popular apps I have ever built:

    • Random Name Picker (1,000,000+ users) - I built this back in 2015. This was a long time ago, but there were easily 25+ apps already that did something similar when I launched it. I improved on those apps by having no paywall or ads, making the UI cleaner (this was when Material Design was fairly new), and expanding the feature set (e.g. allowing users to maintain multiple lists).
    • Random Number Generator (650,000+ users) - I built this back in 2016. Again, a long time ago, but there were easily 50+ apps that did something similar back when I released the v1 of this. And again, I conquered this app space by making the app free/ad-free, making the UI very clean/intuitive, and expanding the feature set.

    Another thing you might have noticed: These aren't super complicated apps. You don't need to build something mega-genius to get users: Just build an experience that fulfills a basic need and is pleasant to use:

    • For Random Name Picker, I built it for one of my best friends who was a math teacher at the time and needed a simple tool to call on his students at random. I eventually ended up using it myself to choose the restaurant to go to when I had friends over (we're all overly nice, indecisive people 🤣).
    • For Random Number Generator, I wanted something to flip coins and roll dice in board games efficiently. I love board games!

    These weren't 200 IQ ideas (trust me, I'm not that smart): I just saw some small problems here and there and worked hard to deliver elegant solutions for them. I truly believe anybody can replicate my success - You just need to be diligent and care. And trust me, when you do it right, hiring companies will come banging at your door, even FAANG. I have a separate email for my side projects to handle customer support and whatnot, and I have had recruiters from Google, Block, Uber, Instacart, and many more reach out there for interview opportunities. Uber offered to jump me straight to the onsite twice.

    I actually gave an entire masterclass about how to come up with effective side project ideas here: [Masterclass] How To Come Up With 100k+ Users App Ideas You Can Build For Free

    If you still can't come up with an idea and want to follow someone else's, I made a repo of my ideas here (some are outdated though): [GitHub] Software Project Ideas

  • 25
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    Tech Lead/Manager at Meta, Pinterest, Kosei
    a year ago

    There are tons of ideas!!

    Don't aim for originality; aim to build something people will use. These 2 are different, and often in tension with one another.

    A simple algorithm to follow:

    1. Take an existing app with 10K+ downloads
    2. Remove some features
    3. Remove all ads

    Now you've found something which is simple to build and has provable value to at least 10K people. Congratulations :)

    (don't pick a marketplace and don't pick anything with a cold-start problem)

  • 6
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    Mid-Level Software Engineer at Walmart
    4 months ago

    Take a book and whenever something annoys you write it down then brainstorm and see if you could do something about it through a mobile app. I'm sure you would find something meaningful to build. Although searching or asking for an idea to someone else would provide you a lot of options but I don't think these are the ideas that you are truly passionate about. So try to search for something that you are passionate about and want to solve the problem deep down. That's the way to succeed!

  • 5
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    Entry-Level Software Engineer [SDE 1] at Amazon
    4 months ago

    You don't have to build something original. You just need to find something that exists and do it better.

    Also, it helps to have a product-focused mind. Ask yourself with products that you use every day "How can we improve this product?". You would be surprised how many products today can be vastly improved.

    Fun fact, big companies oftentimes cannot deliver the "best" experience for customers because they are saddled with a heavy payroll. For example, Google cannot even consider building something unless it makes $100m+ because their payroll is $50m (these are arbitrary numbers btw). This is where startups shine in customer obsession.