I’m building a new mobile product, what could go wrong?

Here are some common reasons.

Lack of platform expertise

  • Attempting to compete in a marketplace of tight well-crafted native apps without investing in platform expertise. Outcome: low adoption, critical reviews
  • Relying on a business model that depends on tracking users across apps and devices. Outcome: app store rejection
  • Attempting to market products in your app that you don’t sell through in-app purchase. Outcome: app store rejection

Lack of product focus or design thinking

  • Failing to build your product around a clear value proposition that addresses a specific user type and user scenario. Outcome: scattered feature set, low adoption
  • Substituting a wide feature set for a lack of clear value proposition that addresses a specific user type and user scenario. Outcome: low adoption, high cost
  • Substituting glamorous visual design for a lack of clear value proposition that addresses a specific user type and user scenario. Outcome: low adoption, high cost

Lack of software engineering expertise

  • Failing to recognize that early product development is a rare skill that most software professionals never get the chance to acquire. Most programming careers are spent enhancing and maintaining existing products. Very few engineers spend significant time starting from zero on a new product. Outcome: late market entry, poor team morale, buggy app
  • Failing to optimize content and content delivery to mobile screens and mobile network connections. Outcomes: poor responsiveness, critical reviews, low engagement
  • Failing to recognize the wide set of skills necessary to bring a new product to market. Asking developers to build without clear design, designing without reference to technical feasibility, ignoring the necessity of expert quality assurance, expecting developers to exhibit emergent behavior like a school of fish or flock of birds with no hand on the helm. Outcome: a product that never reaches market readiness
  • Failing to adequately instrument the application with runtime feedback loops for usage, critical bugs and user opinions. (Flurry, MixPanel, GA, Crashlytics, etc.) Outcome: reliance on guesswork to inform next steps.
  • Assembling a team of people who have never before worked together and expecting them to deliver on technology they have never before built. Outcome: failure to launch

Lack of business maturity

  • Failure to provide a user acquisition strategy. Ignoring the need for some mechanism beyond word of mouth to fuel discovery and growth. Outcome: low adoption
  • Failure to provide an engagement strategy. Addressing one user scenario that brings a user to your app initially but never brings them back. Outcome: high download/open ratio
  • Build your customer-facing product before nailing down your core invention. Outcome: high cost, failure to launch
  • Failure to recognize that new technologies, new target devices, unknown teams and nascent product-market fit already reduce the odds of success too far to add language barriers, time zone synchronization and lack of shared incentives. Outcome: failure to launch

Blue Rocket is a mobile product development company based in San Francisco. Through strategy, design, and engineering, we help great companies built powerful digital experiences—the right way. Email us at inquiries@bluerocket.us.