How to Build an App Empire: Can You Create The Next Instagram?

Chad Mureta runs his seven-figure app business from his iPhone. (Photo: Jorge Quinteros).

I first met Chad Mureta in Napa Valley in 2011.

Two years prior, he had been in a horrible car accident. He’d lost control of his truck in at attempt to avoid a deer, hit a median, and flipped four times, nearly destroying his dominant arm in the wreckage.

While in the hospital for a lengthy recovery, a friend gave him an article about the app market. Shortly thereafter, Chad began designing and developing apps. His results?

“In just over two years, I’ve created and sold three app companies that have generated millions in revenue. Two months after launching my first company, one of my apps averaged $30,000 a month in profit. In December of 2010, the company’s monthly income had reached $120,000. In all, I’ve developed more than 40 apps and have had more than 35 million app downloads across the globe. Over 90 percent of my apps were successful and made money.”

After finishing rehab, Chad was able to leave his real estate company, where he’d been working 70 hours a week, to run his app business from his iPhone… in less than 5 hours per week.

“Apps” are the new, new thing, thanks to major successes like Draw Something (bought by Zynga for $210 million) and Instagram (bought by Facebook for $1 billion), among others. But for all the hype and promise, few people actually know how to create something that gets traction.

In this post, Chad will discuss his step-by-step formula for rapid app development and sales optimization. It covers real-world case studies and the details you usually don’t see: early prototype sketches, screenshots, how to code if you don’t know how to code, and much more.

Last but not least, don’t miss the competition at the end. If you’ve ever thought “I should make an app that…,” this one is for you…

Enter Chad Mureta

When you are on your deathbed, will you be able to say you lived a fulfilled life?

I nearly couldn’t.

I started my app business from a hospital bed, wondering if I even wanted to live. I had barely survived a terrible car accident that shattered my left arm. I had gone through two groundbreaking operations, and spent 18 months in painful rehabilitation.

With limited insurance, I had racked up $100,000 in medical bills. Even though I survived, I had no clue how to get out of the deep hole I felt trapped in. I was moved to a physical rehabilitation center and worked on reconstructing my body, my mind, and ultimately my life. While I was there, I read two books that made a huge impact: Unlimited Power strengthened my thought processes, and The 4-Hour Workweek inspired me to pursue lifestyle freedom.

During that time, a good friend gave me an article about “appreneurs” and told me I should consider getting into the business. I learned that most appreneurs were one- or two-person teams with low costs, and the successful ones were bringing in millions in profits. Still in my hospital bed, in a state of semi-coherence from the pain medication, I began drawing up ideas for apps.

Three weeks after my final surgery, desperate, broke, and grasping at straws, I borrowed $1,800 from my stepdad and jumped into the app business. Fortunately, taking that leap was the best decision I’ve ever made…

These days, my life is about doing what I love while earning easy income. I run my business from my iPhone, working in a virtual world while earning real dollars. I am part of a growing community of “appreneurs,” entrepreneurs who make money from applications that are used on iPhones, iPads, iPods, Droids, and Blackberries. As of this writing, the world’s youngest appreneur is nine years old, and the oldest is 80!

Appreneurs earn money while creating lifestyles of great freedom. Two of my appreneur friends spend several months of the year doing nonprofit work in Vietnam, while their businesses are generating seven-figure incomes. Another is taking his kids to see the Seven Wonders of the World, creating priceless memories with his family. Still another friend goes backpacking throughout Europe with his wife for most of the year. As for me, I’ve hiked in the Australian Outback, trekked with Aborigines across the desert, climbed in the Rocky Mountains, got certified in solo skydiving, heli-skied in Canada, walked on fire, and most important of all, learned not to take life so seriously.

No matter what your dream lifestyle is, you can have it as an appreneur.

The Opportunity for Appreneurs

There are currently more than 4.6 billion cell phones being used worldwide, enough for two-thirds of the people on Earth. The app market is literally the fastest growing industry in history, with no signs of slowing down. Now is the perfect time to jump into the mobile game.

What happened during the early days of the Internet, with the creation of websites like Google and eBay, is exactly what’s happening today with apps and mobile technology. The only difference is that we have experienced the rise of the Internet and are conditioned to react more quickly to the app revolution. This means that the app world is running light years ahead of the Internet, when it was at the same development stage. Developing apps is your chance to jump ahead of the masses and not be left behind, saying years from now, “I wish I had…”

Common Objections

“I’m not a tech person. I have no experience in this market.”

I was in the same spot, and I still don’t know how to write code. But I found successful people to learn from, emulated their models, and hired programmers and designers who could execute my ideas. If you can draw your idea on a piece of paper, you can successfully build an app.

“The app market has too much competition. I don’t stand a chance.”

This industry is just getting started– it’s less than four years old! What makes the app business unique is that the big players are on the same playing field as everyone else. They have the same questions and challenges as you and I will have.

“I don’t have the money.”

You don’t need a lot of money to start. It costs anywhere from $500 to $5,000 to develop simple apps. As soon as you launch your app (depending on your sales), you could see money hit your bank account within two months.

“It’s difficult… I don’t understand it… I’m not smart enough.”

Just like everything you’ve learned in life, you have to start somewhere. Fortunately, running an app business is far easier than almost every other type of business. Apple and Google handle all of the distribution, so you can spend your time creating apps and marketing them. And you don’t have to come up with new, innovative ideas. If you can improve on existing app ideas, you can make money.

Many people are joining the app gold rush with a get-rich-quick mentality and unrealistic expectations. Maintaining an optimistic perspective is important, but so is understanding that you will have to put in work. My goal in this post is to help you think like a business owner, and show you the map I’ve used to find “the gold.” This is not a one-time app lottery, and you can’t treat it as such. If you think of this endeavor as a long-term business, it will grow and become a sustainable source of income.

Still interested? Then let’s get started!

Step 1: Get a Feel for the Market

As with any business, your success will be directly related to your understanding of the marketplace. The App Store is the marketplace of the app business, so in order to understand the market, we have to study the App Store. This seems rather obvious, but you wouldn’t believe how many developers I meet that don’t understand this concept. They don’t watch the market, follow the most successful apps, or try to figure out why those apps are successful.

In order to become a great app supplier, you must first become an app addict. That means spending at least 2-4 weeks researching the market while downloading and playing with tons of apps (give yourself an app budget of $100 to start). This training period is an investment in your expertise, which will become the lifeblood of your success. The more hours you rack up playing around and studying successful apps, the better you’ll be able to understand their common traits and what users desire.

So, how do you keep pace with the market? The best way is to study Apple’s cheat sheet constantly. The App Store displays the top paid, top free, and top-grossing apps (the apps that make the most money, including free apps), almost in real-time. Apple provides the same lists in the individual app categories.

These charts are golden because they tell us volumes about the market. The best part is this information is freely accessible to anyone, at any moment (unlike the market info for basically every other industry).

Review these charts frequently, and keep a notebook of potential trends you spot. Doing this repeatedly will educate you on successful app design, marketing, and various pricing models. The research you’re doing is simple, costs nothing, and it’s actually fun!

Here are some questions to ask while you’re researching successful apps in the market:

  1. Why is this app successful?
  2. What is its rank and has it been consistent?
  3. Why do people want this app? (Look at the reviews.)
  4. Has this app made the customer a raving fan?
  5. Does this app provoke an impulse buy?
  6. Does this app meet any of my needs?
  7. Did I become a raving fan after trying it?
  8. Will the customer use it again?
  9. How are they marketing to their customers? (Check out the screen shots, icon design, and descriptions.)
  10. What is the competitive advantage of this app?
  11. What does this app cost? Are there in-app purchases? Advertisements?

Most developers will build an app and expect tons of people to find and download it right away. That rarely happens. You have to figure out what people are interested in and the kinds of apps they’re downloading first, then you build your app based on that insight.

Once you’ve put in the necessary 2-4 weeks of research and feel you have a decent grasp on the market, it will be time to look back on the trends you discovered and explore some ideas for potential apps you can develop.

Step 2: Align Your Ideas with Successful Apps

How do you know if the market wants your app? Again, you’ll need to look at the Top Apps chart. Are apps like the one you want to create listed there? If yes, you’ve got a potential winner. If not, keep looking. It’s that simple.

Don’t hate; Emulate! When you follow in the footsteps of successful apps, you will have a better chance of succeeding because these apps have proven demand and an existing user base. This takes the guesswork out of creating great app ideas.

I can’t stress the importance of emulating existing apps enough. It’s easy for people to fall in love with their own idea, even if the market doesn’t show an appetite for it. But this is one of the costliest errors you can make.

Unfortunately, developers make this mistake all the time. They focus on generating original ideas and spend a lot of time and effort creating those apps. When it doesn’t work out, they go to the next untested idea, instead of learning from the market. Often times, they repeat this cycle until they run out of money and dismiss the app game. This doesn’t have to be your experience.

A personal example of how to successfully emulate competitors is my Emoji app. First, I took a close look at what the market offered and downloaded all the major emoticon apps. I liked what I saw, but noticed that there was a lack of variety and limited functionality.

Screenshots from a competing Emoji app. The app (left) is opened once to provide the user with instructions on how to enable the Emoji keyboard (right).

I wondered how I could improve upon these existing apps, given that the Emoji keyboard had a limited number of emoticons that couldn’t be increased. I was also curious how profitable these apps could be if they were only being used once.

I kept brainstorming until it hit me. I couldn’t add more emoticons to the Emoji keyboard, but I could include unlimited emoticons within my app that people could send as images via text message or email.

I created an app that not only enabled the Emoji keyboard, but also contained an additional 450 emoticons within the app itself, which could be shared via SMS, e-mail, Facebook, and so on. The app was used constantly since users had to return to the app to send an emoticon.

Screenshots of my Emoji app.

The Emoji app was developed in two weeks. It followed the freemium model, meaning free with an in-app purchase option. The app hit the number one spot in the App Store’s productivity category and the number 12 spot in the top free overall category within six days, raking in nearly $500 per day. Bingo.

Whenever you decide to look into emulating an app, ask yourself these six questions:

  1. Why are people purchasing this?
  2. Can I do something to emulate this idea and take it to another level?
  3. What other ideas would this app’s demographic like?
  4. How many other similar apps are in the market? (Visit to find out.)
  5. How successful and consistent have they been?
  6. How does their marketing and pricing model work?

Step 3: Design Your App’s Experience

You’ve studied the market, you see an opportunity, and you have an idea that could be profitable. Great! Now it’s time to turn those thoughts into something tangible.

To convey your idea properly, you can simply draw it on a piece of paper. Maybe it will look like a 3-year old’s artwork, but it will still convey what you’re trying to do. Some people like putting this together in digital form, using Photoshop or Draft. Whatever you’re most comfortable with, and whatever will give the programmers the details they need, is the way to go.

For your viewing pleasure, here are the rudimentary drawings (a.k.a. wireframes) for my first app, Finger Print Security Pro. As you can see, it doesn’t have to be pretty!

And here’s how the app’s final design turned out:

To make the design process easier, I look at certain apps in the App Store and reference them to show my programmers what I’m looking for. For example, I’ll say, “Download the XYZ app. I want the ABC functionality to work like theirs. Take a look at the screenshots from this other app, and change this.” I take certain components of apps that I’d like to emulate, and give them to the programmer so that we are as clear as possible.

Highlight menu vs. Facebook menu

Notice any similarities? Highlight’s menu (left) emulated the style of Facebook’s menu (right).

The clearer you are, the fewer misunderstandings and problems you will have once it’s time to hand off your drawings to a programmer. The idea is to convey what the app will look like, where everything will be placed, and what happens if certain buttons are selected. This helps the programmer know what you want and will be a useful blueprint when designing your app. Do not be vague or ambiguous. You should know what every part of your app will do. If you don’t, you need to develop your idea more thoroughly.

You have to consider your design to be final before you can begin the coding phase. Inevitably, you will have ideas for additional features once you start testing the initial versions of your app. But if you decide to make major changes after a substantial amount of work has been done, it can frustrate your programmer. It’s like telling the builder who just installed your fireplace that you want it on the other side of the living room. The news will not go over well. Most people don’t realize this is what they are demanding of their programmer when they ask for big changes. That’s why it’s important for you to take your time and carefully plan every aspect of the app before you submit it for coding.

Step 4: Register as a Developer

You now have your idea drawn out. Before you go any further, you need to sign up as a developer with the platform for which you’re looking to create apps.

Don’t be intimidated by the word “developer.” It doesn’t mean you have to be the programmer. It’s simply the name used for somebody who publishes apps. All you have to do is set up a “developer account” so you can offer your apps for sale in one of the app stores.

Here are the links for each platform and a brief overview of their requirements.

Apple iOS *— Registration requirements include a fee of $99 per year and accepting the terms of service.

Android— Registration requirements include a fee of $25 per year and accepting the terms of service.

BlackBerry— Registration requirements include a $200 fee for every 10 apps you publish. You must have a BlackBerry World App Vendor Agreement in place with RIM (the creator of BlackBerry) to distribute apps.

* For your first app, I strongly suggest developing for Apple iOS, rather than Android or Blackberry. Simply put, Apple users are much more likely to spend money on apps. You will increase your odds of making a profit simply by developing for the iOS platform.

Also, don’t forget to go over the App Store review guidelines. Apple enforces these rules during the review process, and if you don’t follow them, your app will be rejected. For instance, you might remember seeing a plethora of fart or flashlight apps on the App Store awhile back. As a result, Apple has decided to no longer accept those types of apps. Knowing these rules can save you a lot of time and effort. If you see any of your ideas conflicting with the guidelines, reject them and move on to the next one.

Step 5: Find Prospective Programmers

Coding your own app, especially if you’re teaching yourself at the same time, will take too long. The likelihood of you getting stuck and giving up is very high. It will also be unsustainable over the long run when you want to create several apps at the same time and consistently update your existing apps. After all, the goal is to get your time back and escape the long hours of the rat race. Therefore, programmers will be the foundation of your business. They will allow you to create apps quickly and scale your efforts.

Hiring your first programmer will be a lengthy process. You’ll need to: post the job, filter applicants, interview qualified candidates, have them sign your NDA, explain your idea, then give them a micro-test… all before coding begins! But while this process takes time, it is time well spent. Making great hires will help you avoid unnecessary delays, costs, and frustration in the future. You’ll always be looking to add new talent to your team, so learning how to quickly and effectively assess programmers is an important skill to develop.

Let’s get started. The first part of this step is to post your job to a hiring site.

Top Hiring Resources

These websites allow programmers to bid on jobs that you post. As you can imagine, the competition creates a bidding frenzy that gives you a good chance of getting quality work at a low price.

Here are a few of my favorite outsourcing sites:

oDesk— Its work diary feature tracks the hours your programmer is working for you and takes screenshots of the programmer’s desktop at certain time intervals.

Freelancer— This site has the most programmers listed. They claim that twice as many programmers will respond to your ad, and I found this to be mostly true.

Guru and Elance. Both of these sites have huge lists of programmers.


Below is a template of a job posting, followed by an explanation for each of its components:

Click the image to enlarge.

Enter the skill requirements—What programming languages do they know? For iPhone apps, the skills I list are: iPhone, Objective C, Cocoa, and C Programming.

Give a basic description of your project—Keep it simple and skill-specific. Tell the applicants that you will discuss details during the selection process. Do NOT reveal the specifics of your idea or marketing plan. Use general descriptions, and request info on how many revisions (a.k.a. iterations) their quote includes.

Post your ad only for a few days—This way programmers have a sense of urgency to quickly bid on your job.

Filter applicants—I always filter applicants using these criteria:

– They have a rating of four or five stars.

– They have at least 100 hours of work logged.

– Their English is good.

Compose individual messages to all suitable applicants, inviting them to a Skype call for further screening. Most of these programmers will overseas, which can present issues with communication and time zone differences. Therefore, a Skype interview is an absolute must before you can continue. Disqualify anyone who is not willing to jump on a Skype call.

The Interview: Essential Questions to Ask Programmers

Don’t give away any of your ideas during this initial conversation. Whenever the topic comes up, say you’ll be more than happy to discuss everything after they sign the NDA (if you want a copy of the NDA template I use, see the bottom of this post). Here are the questions you should ask each applicant before committing to anything:

– How long have you been developing apps?

– How many apps have you worked on? Can I see them?

– Do you have a website? What is it?

– Do you have references I can talk to?

– What’s your schedule like? How soon can you start?

– What time zone do you work in? What are your hours?

– What’s frustrating for you when working with clients?

– Are you working with a team? What are their skills?

– Can you create graphics, or do you have somebody who can?

– Can I see examples of the graphics work?

– What happens if you become sick during a project?

– What if you hit a technical hurdle during the project? Do you have other team members or a network of programmers who can help you?

– How do you ensure that you don’t compete with your clients?

– Can you provide flat-fee quotes?

– What’s your payment schedule? How do you prefer payment?

– Can you create milestones tied to payments?

– Do you publish your own apps on the App Store?

– How do you submit an app to the App Store? (Can they verbally walk you through the process, or do they make you feel brain challenged?)

Finally, mention that you like to start things off with a few simple tests (creating/delivering your app’s icon and a “Hello, World!” app) before coding begins. You need to tell them this upfront so they aren’t surprised after they have provided their quote. Most programmers are happy to get these tests done without a charge, but some will want a small fee. In either case, be clear with this requirement and have them include it in the quote.

During the interview, pay attention to how well they are able to explain themselves. Are they articulate? Do they use too much techno babble? Do they speak your native language fluently? Do they seem confident with their answers? How is their tone and demeanor? If you have any issues or worries, you may want to move on to somebody else. But if you can communicate with them easily and your gut is telling you “Yes,” you’ll want to proceed to the next step.

In either case, thank them for their time and mention that you will follow up with an NDA agreement if you decide to move forward.

Step 6: Sign NDA, Share your Idea, and Hire Your Programmer

You must protect your ideas, source code, and any other intellectual property. These are the assets that will build your business, so you need to have each potential programmer sign an NDA before you hire them. Yes, it’s rare to have an idea stolen, but it does happen (read the bottom of this post if you want a copy of the NDA that I use).

As you’re going through this process, you will be getting feedback on your programmers’ responsiveness. For instance, if it’s taking too long for them to sign the NDA, it might indicate how slowly the development process will move. Buyer beware!

Once the NDA has been signed by both parties, you can share your idea and designs with your programmer. At this stage, it’s critical to ensure they have the skills to complete your app. You do not have any wiggle room here, especially on your first app. Either they know how to make it or they don’t. You want to hear things like, “I know exactly how to do that” or “I’ve done similar apps, so it will not be a problem.” You don’t want to hear things like, “I should be able to do that, but I have to research a few things” or “I’m not sure but I can probably figure it out.” If you hear those words, switch to an app idea they are confident about or run for the hills.

After you’ve found the best programmer for the job, you can commit to hiring them. Establish milestones and timelines during the quoting process (break up the app into several parts), and decide on a schedule for check-ins that you’re both comfortable with (ask them directly how they like to be managed). You will need to periodically review their work, from start to finish. Most applications go through multiple iterations during design and development, and I won’t release partial payments until I’m fully satisfied with each milestone.

Step 7: Begin Coding

Rather than jumping haphazardly into a full-fledged project, I prefer to gradually ramp up my programmer’s workload by starting with a couple smaller tasks. You need to assess their graphics capabilities, implementation speed, and overall work dynamic (e.g. communication, time zone, etc.). If you’re underwhelmed with their skills, you need to get out quickly. Remember: Hire slow, fire fast. It will pay off over the long run.

Here’s my three-step process during the coding phase:

1. Icon—Ask the programmer to create and deliver the icon of your app. You will probably have several ideas for icons, so pass them on and ask for a finished 512 x 512 iTunes Artwork version of the icon.

2. Hello, World!—Ask the programmer for a “Hello, World!” app. It’s a simple app that opens up and shows a page that displays “Hello, World!”, and it will take them 10 minutes to create. The idea here is not to test their programming skills, but to determine how they will deliver apps to you for testing. This app should include the icon they created, so you can see how it will look on your phone.

3. App Delivery—When the programmers are ready to show you a test version of your app, they have to create something called an “ad hoc” (a version of your app that can be delivered to and run on your iPhone, without the use of the App Store). This ad hoc version of your app needs to be installed on your phone before you can test it. The initial installation was a bit cumbersome in the past, but a new service called TestFlight has simplified the process. I ask all programmers to use this service even if they have not used it before. They will be able to figure it out, and you’ll be able to install your test apps with a few touches on your phone.

The first version of your app is finished and delivered, and you’re now staring at it on your phone/tablet. Give yourself a pat on the back — you’ve made serious progress! But don’t get too caught up with yourself, because now it’s time to begin the testing phase.

Step 8: Test Your App

If you were having a house built, you’d want to make sure everything was in working order before you signed off. You would check major things like the roof and plumbing, all the way down to minor things, like crown molding and paint. You need to do the same thing with your app.

To start, your app must perform as expected. Pull out your initial design document and go through every feature. Never assume that something works because it worked last time you tested the app. Test each feature every time, especially before the final release.

Most importantly, don’t be the only tester. Your app makes sense to you, but it might not to others. You need to get everyone you know, from your 12-year-old nephew to your 75-year-old grandmother, to test your app.

The time you spend on testing is crucial because you will see how consumers use your product, what features are intuitive, what they don’t understand, and their patterns. They will have questions that won’t occur to you because you designed the app and everything about it is obvious to you.

Hand the app to them and say, “Hey check this out.” Don’t mention that it’s your app, what it’s supposed to do, or how it works. Give as little information as possible and watch as they try to understand and navigate through your app. This experience will be similar to the one your real user will have, because you won’t be there to explain things to them either.

Watch them testing your app and ask yourself these questions:

– Are they confused?

– Are they stuck?

– Are they complaining?

– Are they using the app the way you intended?

– Did they find a mistake or a bug?

– Are they having fun?

– Are they making suggestions for improvements? If yes, which ones?

Get them to talk about their experience with your app. They will be more honest if they don’t know the app is yours. Don’t get offended if you hear something you don’t like; their feedback is priceless. Assess each response to see if there’s a problem with your app, then ask yourself these questions:

– Would other users have the same issues? If yes, how can I fix them?

– Should I move things around?

– Should I change colors to improve visibility?

– Would adding some instructions help?

– Should I improve navigation?

Testing and debugging will take several iterations, like the design and development stages. This is all part of the process. Don’t forget to use TestFlight to save lots of time with the mechanics of installing test versions of your app.

Just remember: If you keep tweaking things and adding features, you might unnecessarily increase costs and production time. You need to get the app on the market quickly and in a basic form to test the concept. Only redesign during this phase if you feel you have a good justification for it. Otherwise, add the idea to your update list and move forward with development (I keep an update list for each app and refer back to it when the time is right).

Step 9: Post your App to the Market

At this point, you’ve had all of your friends and family test your app, taken the best feedback into account, and wrapped up any final changes with your programmer. Congratulations – it’s time for you to send the app to the App Store for review!

It’s a good idea to have your programmers show you how to submit your first few apps. Do not give out your developer account login information to your programmer or anybody else. The best way to have them show you how to submit your app, without having to giveaway your login, is to do a screen-share over Skype or GoToMeeting and have them walk you through the process. As your business grows, you might want to delegate this task to someone on your team.

Below is a screencast on how to upload an app to the App Store. As you’ll see, it’s a fairly confusing and tedious process. Best to leave this task to your programmers:

The amount of time Apple will take to review and approve/reject your app will depend on whether you’re submitting on behalf of yourself or a company. If you’re an individual, it will usually take 3-7 days. If you’re a company, it will likely take 7-10 days.

The real fun begins once your app is approved and available for download…

Step 10: Marketing Your App

The App Store is filled with thousands of great apps, but most developers are not skilled when it comes to marketing. Meanwhile, many poorly designed apps rank highly because their developers have figured out the marketing game. How do they do it?

You really need to focus on a few key areas to effectively market your apps, which will allow customers to discover and download them. Understanding how an app’s basic elements are marketing opportunities is essential to being successful in the app business. Your job is to create a seamless flow from the icon all the way to the download button. Let’s take a closer look at these components, which you can adjust at any time from your developer account:


The first thing users will see when they are checking out your app is the icon — the small square image with the rounded corners to the left of the app title. It’s also the image that users will see on their phone after they install your app.

The icon is important because it’s how the users will identify your app. It needs to look sharp, capture the app’s essence, attract the users’ attention, and compel them to investigate your app further.

Great app icons are clear, beautiful, and memorable.

Many developers create icons as an afterthought and focus all of their effort on the app itself, but the icon is the first impression you will make on the users. The old expression “You don’t get a second chance to make a first impression” applies here. Make sure you have a quality icon that represents your app and makes the users believe it has value.


Over 80 percent of searches in the App Store are related to an app’s functionality, rather than an app’s name. Therefore, it is critical that you help users find your app when they perform relevant keyword searches in the app store.


Each word in your app’s title serves as a keyword, much like keywords in search engines. You can think of the title as your URL. For instance, if you type “angry” into the App Store search field, the Angry Birds apps will return as a search result.


Having a compelling description for your app is like having a great opening line — people are more willing to learn about you once you’ve piqued their interest. The first chunk of your app’s description needs to be packed with the most relevant information customers should know.

If applicable, use statements like “Top App 2012” or “One of the Most Addictive Games in the App Store.” Follow it up with a call-to-action, such as, “Check out the screenshots and see for yourself.”


Screenshots are great marketing tools because they give users a visual of what they will experience. Think of them as the trailer for your app. Here are a couple examples of effective screenshots:

Nike+ GPS screenshots.

Free Music Download Pro screenshots. Note the use of captions to explain the app’s features.

Many people shopping for apps won’t read the description, but will instead scroll down to the screenshots. The screenshots need to convey the main functionality of the app without showing too many details that may confuse users. If your screenshots are cluttered, it will be as ineffective as a realtor trying to sell a house with messy rooms. The brain gets overwhelmed and buyers have more trouble seeing the product’s true value. Therefore, the screenshots you include should be clean, appealing, and informative.


Unlike your icon and title, keywords are not something the users get to see. When you submit your app to the App Store, you’re allowed to provide keywords relevant to your app. When users search for one of the terms you entered, your app appears in the search results.

For example, if you type in the word “kids” or “game” on the App Store, you will find that Angry Birds is one of the search results. The terms “kids” and “game” are not in the app title. The makers of Angry Birds most likely chose those keywords to associate with their app.

A good example of effective keyword usage is an app I created called Flashlight. Since the name is Flashlight, we came up with keywords, such as “bright,” “help,” “light,” and “camping.”

One time, I added the term “phone” to the keywords of my free prank fingerprint app. This seemingly minor change propelled the app to the number one top overall free category, which moved the company’s income from $1,000 per day to $3,000 per day. This is the power of refining the marketing components for your app. Simple changes can dramatically increase your revenue.


The App Store organizes apps into specific categories to help users find them more easily. In addition to the top overall rankings of all apps, each category has its own top rankings and, therefore, generates a certain amount of visibility based on these charts. Users looking for certain apps often browse through these category charts without looking at the top overall charts. For instance, an app that doesn’t show up in the top 200 overall might still be in the top 10 of a particular category.

When you’re submitting your app for review, make sure to select the most relevant category for your app. On the other hand, many apps can be classified into more than one category. You have to choose one, but you can always change the category during an update.

One of my apps, Alarm Security, wasn’t performing well, and I was trying to bring it back up in the rankings. I initially tried changing the name and keywords, but it didn’t move much. The one thing I hadn’t tried was switching it out of the Entertainment category. The app contained various alarm sounds (like loud screams and gunshots), so I assumed users would use it more as a goof than as a tool. I was wrong.

Once I moved the app into the Utilities category, the number of downloads skyrocketed. After five days, the paid downloads had tripled, and it was only because of a category change.

Just as your app will always need certain refinements due to consumer demand and competition, so will your marketing. For most of my apps, I have changed the icon and screenshots three to five times and the title and description between 5 and 10 times. I change keywords almost every time I update apps. I always switch the categories when it makes sense. Keep an open mind and continue to be inspired by your observations during your market research.

Finally, there’s a simple rule of thumb I follow for making changes: Tweak once per week, then measure. You have to allow ample time to see the effect of any changes you make. Measure your results, then make adjustments based on your data in the following week. Your goal is to increase traffic and revenue, all while improving your users’ experience with the app.

Bonus Marketing Tactics


After you’ve taken care of the basics, your best marketing tool will be offering a free version of your app. It will generate traffic and visibility that you otherwise wouldn’t get.

Free apps create the most traffic because they have the smallest barrier to entry. It takes five seconds to download, and it’s free. Why wouldn’t you push the button? Once the free version of your app gains some traction, you can use it to advertise the paid version of the same app. This is like getting those free food samples at the supermarket. If you like the sample you tasted, you might buy the whole bag and become a long-term customer.


Nag screens (pop-ups that remind users to check out the paid version of the app) have been the most critical marketing tactic for my business. You might worry about annoying users with these ads, and that is a valid concern, but you need to think of nag screens as adding value for your users. If they downloaded your free app and they are using it, a percentage of your users will be interested in buying the paid version of your app. For those who don’t, a quick pop-up message is a small price to pay for using the free version.

You have to accept this and not shy away from this type of marketing. If you’re still on the fence, consider this: When Apple launched its iBooks app, it used a nag screen within the App Store app. If you had an iPhone at the time, you may remember seeing that pop-up inviting you to download iBooks. Well, you were nagged by the one and only Apple.

Basic nag screen (left) vs. Advanced nag screen (right). Advanced nag screens typically have three times higher click-thru rates.

When adding a nag screen, explain to your developer what you are looking for, and reference specific examples of other apps that have nag screens. Be sure you can change the nag screen without submitting a new update to the app store. To do this, tell the developer you want your nag screen to be dynamic. This will allow you to change your marketing message redirect your app’s traffic within seconds. This is an absolute must. Your nag screens will lose a huge part of their effectiveness if you cannot change them on the fly.

How do you assess the effectiveness of your nag screen? All you have to do is keep track of how many times you show a particular nag screen and how many users click “Yes” to check out the app(s) you’re promoting. This is called your click-through rate, and the higher the percentage, the better.

Final Thoughts

This is the first time in history when so many of us have the tools and access to knowledge that can quickly lift us out of the rat race. Your background, gender, race, education, and situation are irrelevant. All you need is the desire and a game plan.

You don’t have to wait till “someday” to fulfill your dreams. You can start right now…

Contest and Bonuses

We’re throwing a contest for any readers who are ready to dive into the app world. Whoever comes up with the best idea for an iPhone app (as decided by me and my team) will have 100% of their development costs covered. That’s right: You won’t need to spend anything to have your app made – all it will cost is your time and effort. This will be a great learning experience for the winner, so if money is all that’s holding you back, we want to help you get started.

Here are the details:

– You have 1-week (ending Monday, April 30, 2012 at 9am EST) to research and design your app idea. Your app should try to fill a void in the market or improve upon apps that are currently available.

– Once you’ve decided upon your idea, post a comment below with a detailed explanation of the app you want to develop. Bonus points if you can show us (with a drawing, video, etc.) how your app will function. More bonus points if you show us the research you did to prove your app’s potential for success.

– You can only submit one (1) idea (one entry per person), so make it good!

– Up to $5,000 USD of your development costs will be covered. 100% of all revenues earned will go to the winner.

– Winner gets a 1-hour phone call with me (Chad) at any point during development or marketing.

For those who are worried that someone is going to steal your idea and make a million dollars with it– you don’t have to enter the contest! Just remember: my success in the app store came from emulating successful apps. In other words, borrowing proven ideas and trying to make them better. If someone else can succeed by taking one of my ideas and improving upon it, that’s only fair game. Don’t let the fear of losing prevent you from trying to win.

Contest deadline has passed; Winner (Alex K.) has been contacted. Thanks, all!

Finally, for those who’d like a copy of my NDA template (along with the checklist I use when hiring a new coder), email a copy of your receipt for App Empire, my comprehensive book on app development and marketing, to bonus (at) The book goes into depth on advanced marketing and monetization techniques, including how to put your business on cruise control (automate).

We look forward to seeing what you guys come up with! Talk to you in the comments 🙂

The Tim Ferriss Show is one of the most popular podcasts in the world with over 400 million downloads. It has been selected for "Best of Apple Podcasts" three times, it is often the #1 interview podcast across all of Apple Podcasts, and it's been ranked #1 out of 400,000+ podcasts on many occasions. To listen to any of the past episodes for free, check out this page.

949 Replies to “How to Build an App Empire: Can You Create The Next Instagram?”

  1. Interesting read. This seems like this is right up Kevin Rose’s alley. Did you happen to consult him in creating this article Tim?

    1. Hey Chad, I have some questions.

      If I’m selling an app I created do I

      need to create a company?

      If so, how and why?

      Could It just be me alone?

      How are revenues processed?

      Where does the money go?

      How do I claim it?


      1. Hi Mike,

        You don’t need to be a company and can register with Apple as a sole proprietor/individual. Once registered as a developer you tell them your bank details, and after they take their 30% the rest is deposited in your bank account.



      2. Hey Antonio,

        how long does it take to create an app? For example, let’s say create an app like the “finger print app” of Chad. I couldn’t find any advice how much time is needed for coding. Can you help me?


  2. Tim,

    Thanks for sharing this. I have had about 3-4 different ideas that I thought would make solid apps. All based on, “things I wish I had an app for right now”. This post could not have came at a better time as I am on a mini retirement in Koh Samui and looking for new projects that are fun. I spent about an hour or two figuring out what it took to make apps and got discouraged and confused (this was 2 days ago), once again you have read my mind and swooped into save the day.

    We’ll see if any of my ideas make it through the process.


    1. Hey Jordan, I went through a similar phase. Pushed through the initial feeling of overwhelm, found a developer and got a health app developed…phew…

      Now on to marketing and monetization which is a sly beast. I haven’t the slightest clue where to start to monetize my app.

      There are 6.8 billion people on the planet. 5.1 billion of them own a cell phone, but only 4.2 billion own a toothbrush. That’s ridonculous.

      Now I’m off to find ways to effectively market apps…keywords seem to be a big factor.

      Progress = one step followed by another.

  3. Hey Chad, fantastic article. Thanks for providing so much detail. Congrats on your success.

    Quick question: once you launch an app, how do you handle customer support? How much time / effort does support cost your business? Do the customer support needs differ depending on the cost of the app or the type of app?

    Thanks if you’re able to answer this.

    1. Hi Corbett,

      Truthfully, the majority of apps won’t require much customer support. For instance, if a customer wants a refund, they need to go through Apple, not you. If a customer is confused about the functionality of the app, you can try to incorporate an explanation (through a demo or instructions) in the next update. Customers usually express their concerns, praise, or complaints in the reviews of your app, not as emails. I try to keep my apps as simple and self-explanatory as possible, and take legitimate feedback in the reviews into account. Of course, if you feel your app absolutely needs support, then you should consider hiring and training an employee to help with customer service.

      – Chad

      1. Hey Chad,

        Great post, one of the best i have ever read. Very inspiring, I bought an itunes copy of the book and a hard copy on Amazon to take notes on. Where do I email you the receipt so I can get a copy of the NDA?



      2. Would doing my reserch in the android app market be just as good or do I have to purchase an Iphone to effectively develop in the apple app market?

      3. Hi Chad

        I’m not sure if your still replying on this site but if you are i’d appreciate a little bit of advice.

        I have an app idea that i’ve just created designs for and that i’m about to get pricing for.

        I’ve just found out that you’ve released a new system.

        I have budget to do one or the other – genuinely which is best to do first?

        I only just found out about this competition so i’m really gutted…




      4. hey chad would you like to team up with me in creating an app. I’ve developed the app design just need a partner who knows what their doing.

        Im trying to create a social network on an app.

        if you are interested or would like to team up feel free to give me a call

        cheers mate!!!

      5. Hey Chad, hope all is well. I seem to be missing the NDA contract i’m not sure if i’m just late and you took it down or i’m just missing it

  4. I am very wary of comments like “No matter what your dream lifestyle is, you can have it as an appreneur.” Generalized over-promises are a stable for marketers which usually fails to benefit the consumer. (let’s face it) Anything CAN deliver your dream lifestyle. (it’s a good marketing jargon) Does it deliver your dream lifestyle? To only a few. (statistically)

    Besides that point, it is a good opportunity. What do you have to lose? Maybe a email address you have to burn, but other than that why not?

    I do have to point out because you made an app doesn’t mean it will be profitable. You still have to market it until it catches momentum. Thousands of app are out there and not all of them(only a few of them) make a profit. Just because Chad Mureta made money will apps does not mean you will. Just because you are winner of this contest doesn’t mean you will make a profit either. This needs to be said because the impression is that App development will solve all of your problems. I’m 98% sure it won’t.

    You can deal with that, you should enter. Good luck and remember to have fun if you can.

    1. Thanks for the comment, David. You are right in saying that only a small percentage of developers will succeed on a huge level in this market, but that’s the way things are in every field / industry. My goal in this post was to show people that — while the competition is abundant in the app store — now is the best time to experiment with developing apps. It’s difficult to strike the perfect balance of getting readers excited and motivated enough to take action, while still managing expectations that simply building an app does NOT guarantee success. My hope is that readers will want and try to build a sustainable lifestyle business, but still recognize that they’ll have to put in hard work.

      1. Thank you for your reply, Chad. I hope my previous comment was not too much. This blog as a habit of censoring readers’ opinions(over 6 times already) which are at the same level of criticism as my previous comment. The omitting common sense makes for great marketing(or storytelling) but doesn’t benefit the readers. That being said, I commend you for starting this competition. If a few people can achieve their 4 hour work week with creating Apps, that will be fantastic. Besides apps are really fun. 🙂

        I won’t be entering, but I wish the best of luck to you, Chad, and anyone that enters.

      2. Just to pitch in my $.02, zero businesses guarantee success and most fail. But the combination of low barriers to entry and global reach make this a business idea worth trying. I’ve been banging my head against a wall trying to get myself to take the time to learn the programming myself, and I’ve had a couple of ideas bumping around in my head for a year. I need to remember the lessons in Four Hour Workweek and get others to do the work.

        Thanks for the post Chad – very inspirational. I wish you continued success!

    2. David,

      Don’t you think think us, as the readers, should do some type of due-diligence? I don’t think we should be spoon-fed obvious facts like

      “creating an app does not guarantee a fortune”. Anyone that needs that type of disclaimer has no shot whatsoever, because they are so far removed from reality. Tim has a pretty intelligent readership and I don’t think most of us want to be babied with disclaimers.

  5. Good lord, now that’s a guide if I’ve ever seen one! Chad, you are the man. Clearly I haven’t read the whole thing since you just posted, but I still felt the need to say thank you and that I’ve bookmarked this for reading during lunch tomorrow.

  6. Such a timely post. I actually met up with a client earlier today who is having me build her new iOS app. When I got to the coffee shop I found her reading 4 Hour Work Week.

  7. Here’s an idea for an app I’ve had for a while: An audio RSS Feed Reader. Basically, the functionality would be similar to Google Reader, but users will have the option to tap on a sound icon to have an item on their feed read to them. An additional feature could be the ability to create playlist of news items to be read in order, or to read all news items in a category.

    Great for people who want to have the latest news read to them on their commute to work or while on-the-go.

  8. Hi Chad,

    I am an aspiring app developer who has started my own mobile app development company, Rare Digital Designs. I am submitting my latest app idea for this competition. QuoteBoat will be the mobile version of a social network based on sharing & discovering peresonal quotes with your friends. Currently there are a lot of websites for finding famous quotes but none for sharing personal quotes with friends. I have provided a link to a demo video I made displaying the functionality of the app. Let me know if you have any questions and thanks for putting on this competetion!

    Demo video:

    1. Great idea, Zain! I’d like to be able to read through a list of quotes from the category I like and post it directly as opposed to typing it though.

      Or the option to hit the microphone button and say it (speech to text).

      Good luck!


      1. Thanks for the feedback David. I will look into adding the ability to re-post quotes. Currently there is an option to “Anchor” which allows users to save a list of favorite quotes to their profiles.

        As for the speech to text function I decided not to add it since the iPhone 4s has this ability built in. I will definitely add it to the road map for legacy devices, but now it would take to much time to implement.


  9. Don’t hate; Emulate! Priceless 🙂 I’ve always wanted to create an app, but I didn’t know where to start since I rarely use any and the ones I wanted to use weren’t made yet, which was pointed out as a bad sign, though I guess with the right marketing you can sell anything 🙂

    My idea was to make an App called What Were You Thinking? So basically, you’d have a color coded body front view and back view for the 5 Chinese elements Fire, Earth, Metal Water, Wood (Red, Yellow, Grey, Blue, Green) All the elements correspond to a particular body part and emotion so if a person has an injury say to his left ankle you could tap that part and an analysis of what the person was thinking. With ankles it’s a major life decision in this case probably in regards to getting married since left relates to feminine said usually mother, sister, wife or gf. Pains in the butt relate to the fire element, so the person might be experiencing sadness or pathologically, depression. I kind of thought the free version would be “How Do You Really Feel?” because that would relate to the emotions of the 5 elements and “What Were You Thinking?” goes into that a bit deeper, because it relies more on the various meridians flowing through the joint.

    I would love to post a picture but an association I belong to owns the one I’d like to use. I probably could sell it back to the community in app form, as long as the administration got their cut 🙂

    As for marketing whenever I give presentations about body psychology people always ask me about the colored coded chart I have and if they can buy one, which I call Chinese Medicine for Dummies. It’s the most amazing thing on planet imo and I would just like it to be a bit more accessible to people. Once they know what the hell they were thinking and can resolve that issue they can heal much faster because they know where to place the attention.


  10. What a great post! This needs to be re-read a few times. Thanks for writing it Chad and thanks Tim for having him on here.

    Time to brainstorm for an idea.

      1. Chad, thanks for sharing all this info and Tim for putting it up.

        Here goes mine: Business Category: Send a Note: “Send a hand written thank you note you don’t have to write yourself”. In today’s text and email world hand writing and sending out an actual signed card will mean more than ever.

        Lets create an app that allows users to send handwritten notes directly via an app. Users will only have to log-in, write the message on the screen, their name, mailing address and hit SEND. Via the online page users will “load” their account with a minimum of $10 which allows them to send out 4 notes ($2.50/note). Apple has a similar app but it’s too expensive and notes are not Hand Written. I can have my assistant hand write the notes until orders are large enough at which point we can easily outsource this task. Total cost per card and postage for us is about $1.50 including my assistance time. Healthy margin!

        PS/The person writing the notes will physically also sign the note on the users behalf. *Sending an actual hand written note in today’s society means much more than ever before.

        PSS/I already have the design mock-ups ready to go!

        Thanks for listening.

      2. Hey Benny, I had multiple app companies because I didn’t want to be tied down. I wanted to stay mobile and be able to walk away when the time was right. Having apps in the store requires constant monitoring and tweaking for as long as you have them, and I chose to give them up at certain points so I could focus on other endeavors (and, of course, do some traveling!).

  11. A pretty basic idea. An app that gives you the option to delay a text message and verify who you are sending it to. It’s terrible when you send a text message to someone you didn’t want it to go to and once that text is sent there is no going back.

  12. Fantastic article, very insightful. Tim, it’s so inspiring that you have people who open up and share so much here. Thank you for keeping introducing the beautiful minds.

    1. Do you not think there’s a very good reason he’s done this?

      1) free marketing for his book – which Tim and his circle frequently plug each other as a ‘back-scratch’

      2) of course he’s going to bloody use ideas people post on here..! Don’t be so naive.. Ok, one might win.. But there’ll be another 10 ideas he can run with and create with very little Dev cost – I can’t believe people are so naive about how business works.

      If people believe in their app idea, don’t be so stupid as to give it away for free!!!

      What Chad’s covered here is by absolutely NO means comprehensive – on the contrary, it’s a drop in the ocean – creating the app’s the easy part, honestly.. The 90% of your focused effort should be on how the hell you get your app out of the arse of 400,000 others. And this is growing daily.

      Just look around you and ask ‘why is someone in this business willing to give away ‘secrets’ and tell me how to do everything?’

      There’s no such thing as a free lunch guys.

      1. Like Mr. Burns, I’m gently tapping my fingers together with an evil grin… There are many interesting ideas here, but these comments aren’t exactly my private gold mine 🙂 As I said, if you want to keep your idea to yourself, don’t share it – go out and do it! A public forum is the most transparent option for a contest, and when everyone shares, it motivates others to start taking action. The other option was to not do any contest at all.

        As with everything that seems “too good to be true,” there will be skeptics. It comes with the territory.

        (And of course I’m marketing my book! Shameless, I know, though offering $5K in development costs isn’t exactly “free.”)

  13. Contest Entry:

    I work part-time as a baseball umpire. We have a nice little clicker that helps us keep track of strikes, balls, and outs. The rest we often have to keep in our heads while making sure ALL baseball rules are being followed. It can be tricky work unless one has years of experience umpiring.

    I was out in the diamond one day and thought how cool it would be to have futuristic sunglasses that would keep the score and inning in my peripheral vision; then i saw this post.

    How about an app that helps referees of various sports? Too often, scores are not kept track of during games unless they are at the collegiate level or above. An app that would help refs keep track of various stats would be simple and useful.

    I would like to develop a simple app that helps me keep track of the innings and score in baseball. It would have to have a simple interface so that I wouldn’t spend too much time in between innings or plays entering in information. I’m sure other sports could benefit if there is no one working the scoreboard.

    Thank you for your time! Good luck to others entering the contest!

  14. Holy monster of awesome post Chad. You are the real deal. Thanks for sharing all this detailed info.

    I recently invested $5000 in a video editing app through, a crowd funding / investing platform and made a quick return of $700 in a few weeks.

    I want to learn Objective-C and build my own apps.

  15. Goodness gracious Timothy this post is terrible! How am I going to explain to my girlfriend now that I cant sleep and its not caffeine induced this time. She is going to think I am cheating on her or something. This post is awesome. I love the how to, the why, you get it.. i love it all.

    I want to retweet this but I dont want to share this with anyone. I want to hold it and caress it and keep it myself. I know your supposed to share, and the Golden Rule, blah blah blah.

    This post is awesome man. Thanks again for sharing this content. I will retweet it, i dont want to be that guy.



    1. Christoph, my thoughts exactly! Only for me, it will be my finace that will wonder “why are you still up and on your computer? don’t you work in the morning?” =)

      Thanks Tim, I’m really excited after reading this post! However, now I have to figure out how to get through the rest of my work day so I can go home and start developing!



  16. idea: some people look for airport code when they’re traveling on twitter so they can connect with other people who happens to be at the same airport. For example if I’m on a layover at San Fran then I’ll search twitter for SFO, and if I see a recent twit that includes SFO as well there’s a chance that I can connect with that person and hang out, making waiting time more fun.

    execution: an app that does above but automated. It would have the option to run in the background. Once you open it up it’ll craw and search social sites base on your GPS coordinates, then it’ll show other people that you can connect nearby, it’ll also give you the option to ping/poke/hit/call/chat/say hi/twit to them before you actually walk over.

    scale: it doesn’t have to be limited to airports or things like that. If you’re at the store then you can open it up and find other users nearby. If you’re at a park/fair/other event you can find other people on a map nearby. You can also filter nearby users base on their profile, characteristics, likes/dislikes, culture background, etc.

    1. This is weird but this is my exact idea. It is a great Idea. I read this blog on friday and thaught I would submit it. I was reading the other posts and saw this. We have a very similar vision and Idea. Contact me if you want to brain storm together. Good luck man.

    2. Hey a:

      There’s a similar app that a gay friend of mine was showing me. The idea is that it shows you (in real time) other users. So one guy might post “I’m at bar X, and I’m drinking margaritas” and then you can connect face-to-face. It’s basically a way to meet people who share similar traits as you.

      Maybe you could incorporate/emulate some functionality. Check out grindr. Some of the language is kinda NSFW though.

      I think your app is a great idea!

  17. Hi Tim/Chad,

    For the contest, can I enter an idea I had and built a website for?

    I have never made an app in my life and could use this as an opportunity to build a mobile app, if I am still eligible for the contest.



  18. Killer article Chad. I swear Tim writes this blog just for me (okay, maybe not) because I was literally JUST on odesk placing an ad for an app programmer when this article went live.

    I’ve got countless app ideas (who doesn’t), but after winning some money in a poker game figured now was the time to commit and hire a programmer. Chad your guide will be invaluable, you’ve taught me a lot of tricks to use when hiring.

    One issue I have faced is estimating how much an app will cost to create. Most workers seem to prefer an hourly rate, which I’m happy to pay, but I need to know if making my app is a 50 hour job or a 200 hour job.

    I have already sketched out a dozen pages with designs for my app (I need to fully understand my own work before asking a programmer to do the same) – I’ll scan them up and enter your contest. Thanks guys!

  19. Truly inspiring… Upon reading the title my first thought was, “Interesting, but there is no way I have enough time in my life to do that.” After reading, I am now thinking, “Holy crap this is the first thing I am doing when I wake up tomorrow!”

  20. Hey Chad,

    I want to say I admire your ability to fight through your motor vehicle injuries and rehabilitation to keep a sound mind and start a business like this. Most people would lay in bed with depression or give up on life. Takes a lot of mental toughness to pull through and accomplish what you have done.

    This is a great post which I have bookmarked and shared with others. I think you have given all of us a blueprint to run with to just get started. Thanks for sharing and much success to you with your other app endeavors!

  21. Great read!

    Here’s my idea: How about a photo diary app that bridges the gap between taking a photo and filing it. Everyone organizes their photos by date and location, so how about a new camera app that replaces the stock one (or one that pulls from the gallery) along with geotag information, and then organizes it by 3 simple buttons – date, location, or map.

    date and location are obviously traditional methods, but map view integrates the two. It will pin regions on a map where you’ve taken photos and then you can use gestures to zoom in and out of. Upon zooming into a particular location you’ve been to, you can then flip through dates you were there. ie. flipping through your history at one location, be it a mall or a school, an annual vacation, etc. and see you as you age!

    Key to this is the automation in the sync and filing. The less the user has to do the better. Friends can “follow you” and see their pictures, or tag them to share albums into their photo diary. This app will replace stock galleries and make photo management fun!

    Another possible layer of of social networking can adopt true “checkins” by amount of albums or pictures taken in an location based on timestamps.

  22. Excellent Post!

    I wish I had read this before I did my first (and only) app at the end of last year!!

    I am reasonably happy with the app, it works well but the advertising doesn’t appear on it so I have no revenue from it… but the experience of making it (using odesk) was invaluable.

  23. THANKS TIM AND CHAD FOR SHARING THIS POST!!!! This is a very very inspiring post to me. I promise both of you right here and right now that because of this inspiring post, I will develop and publish an app in the future. (Coming from no background of app development) Time to go brainstorm and sketch out some of my app ideas!

    1. Hey Dan, there is a great book on amazon that teaches you realtime how to build an app. i just finished reading it, and am on my 3rd app. You don’t need a mac or coding experience. check it out, its called How to Make apps yourself. I thought it was worth recommending,and hopefully it will help.

  24. THANKS TIM AND CHAD FOR SHARING THIS POST!!!! This post is very very inspiring to me. I promise both of you right here and right now that because of this inspiring post, I will develop and publish an app in the future. (I’m coming from no background of app development)

    Time for me to go brainstorm and sketch out some of my app ideas for this contest!

  25. Finally, an article on my realm. I’m a freelance audio contractor for some of the top grossing developers (backflip studios, etc.) which means I make original music and sounds as well as dialogue assets using my team of VO artists. Shameless plug here for any appers looking for unique audio! Check my music/sound work in Paper Toss 2.0(game), Graffiti Ball(game) and 8 Planets (edu) – All are free. For more samples visit my http://www.noisebuffet homepage

    I don’t normally put my services out there like this, but yours is THE only blog I read, and my experience with 4H people (4HP?) has been nothing short of amazing. I’m OCD passionate about getting the best sounds out of a mobile device and have been doing so since pre-iphone (worked on over 100+ apps)

    Looking forward to more posts like this one!


  26. Excellent guide! As a developer I have admit I did cringe at the mention of NDA’s. Developers hate them. If you read websites like HackerNews you will see stories regularly complaining about them and honestly a lot of the best developers won’t sign them.

    One other point is that you mentioned testing the developer with designing the app icon. That’s a job for a designer. Most developers don’t make good designers so if it is your first time building an app I would recommend hiring both (graphics are usuall much less expensive than the programming).

    Very good guide though, especially the marketing section.

  27. This is great stuff, thanks for sharing. I got tired of working with solo freelancers so I started my own full time dev team in the Philippines. Expecting to have at least 3-4 apps in the app store within the next month or two. This gives me some great ideas for what to do next after I see how the market responds to our apps.

    I’m also having a look at HTML5 mobile web apps, which can either be distributed through the app stores via Phonegap (a library to wrap web applications in native code) or directly through the internet. There are some limitations (limited or no 3d graphics, accelerometer, GPS, etc), but many simple apps can be built that will work fine.

    1. Hi Mike

      I’m not sure of what software you use, however, for creating web-based apps I use App Cobra which is available from Knowledge Presenter

      Their software allows geolocation, accelerometer data, etc.

      Maybe of interest to you(?)



  28. Hi guys,

    Great post! I have been thinking about the app market for a long time and often wondered how to break into it. Well here it is! Amazing wealth of knowledge here!

    Thanks for this post and I will be back with my submission soon! =)


  29. ‘Mini MBA’ or ‘Daily MBA’ or ‘Daily Strategist’

    A very simple app – functionality similar to ‘MotivationalQuotes’ which is in the top 200 of Business Apps in the AppStore. Can be configured to display new quotes daily or simply as the user desires.

    Essentially would contain a database of quotes from noted entrepreneurs and business writers (Steve Jobs, Henry Ford, Napoleon Hill, Nassim Taleb, Robert Greene, Tim Ferriss, etc.). Both free and premium versions would be made available – the premium version would contain a larger database of quotes.

    The idea is not that original and easy to replicate but I am an avid reader and have compiled quite a unique and impressive collection of quotes (both old and new) over several years – so hopefully this little app would add some genuine value to people’s lives as well as make some money. See my twitter feed for a sample of my collected quotes (I’ve put this as my website link for this comment).

    Even if I don’t win, thank you Chad (and Tim) for this excellent and inspiring article.

  30. Hi Chad,

    I would like to buy your book (to get the NDAs as well) but it is only available in print in the US and as a kindle version.

    Will you add the book to the ibook store any time soon?

    I am living in the Philippines so I shipping will be expensive and take forever…



    1. Hi Oliver. I also live outside the US and have same problems than you. However, I have instaled Kindle free in my PC and my iPad and was able to buy this and several other books from Amazon. I hope this piece of advise helps you. Apps Empire has been an inspiring book for me, by the way.

  31. Thanks Chad and 4HWW for this great article. I found it extremely insightful.

    App idea:

    Ever wanted to fully follow someone to the tenth degree?

    (twitter, Facebook, instagram, blog’s rss, four square, google + YouTube, etc..)

    This app would have all the fields to enter the usernames, rss feeds, and urls of the person you want to follow (friends, celebrity, famous person, etc) and output the information beautifully on ur phone organized perfectly. Plus push notifications and now ur basically a true stalker 🙂

    Thanks again for the mind spark.



  32. I have an APp idea for ICE (In Case of Emergency). Here is the description. I haven’t encountered this kind of app in Appstore and is very much needed for everyone.


    Let’s say a person leaves during night to some place. His loved ones would like to know whether he reached the destination safely or not. The App can run in Background. Scenario 1: One thing he can do is he can call his loved person, once he reaches his destination. But at midnight, calling your people will be inconvenience, unless urgent. Also, you might have left to that place on purpose and you don’t want to waste time in calling/sending SMS. Here comes this app which is handy in sending an automated SMS (Reached destination with GPS location) to your loved ones. Scenario 2: Suppose if he is struck up in traffic or for any other reason (breakdown) and gets delayed. So his people will be worried. This idea will avoid such panicking situations. Scenario 3: When he has some emergency ( accident/ health etc) and he crosses time limit, immediately the mobile will send SMS to the preselected phone (your loved ones mobile) about the GPS location . This way night shift workers/females/Old people can make use of this feature and get attention immediately from their people (in case of emergency). One more extra feature which is the crux of the app is to protect user from Muggers, car jackers etc. Cant share it public. I have come up with detailed mockups and wire framing. If you like this app and gets selected in contest, pls let me know so that I can share all those details with you. Readers pls feel free to share your opinion on this app.

    1. I love this. ICE is a good idea that really isn’t feasible. If you find someone in distress and have their cell phone, where’s their ICE?! It’s different for practically everyone.

  33. Nice post. Seems like the app business is similar to any other business today. Validating being the major hurdle here. Bravo Tim as always you’re posts are action driven!

  34. Hey Tim,

    I just got done watching “A day in the life”; hey that lock that your using for your pistol case is supposed to properly secure your Firearm not the box its in, you could have explained that,but you didn’t .FAIL.

    As a person who has grown up around many different types of firearms ( rare and imported Firearm ) fired many thousands of rounds from (ammo size not calories) to rimfire; I can honestly say you need to do more research on the subject.

    I certainly hope your book focuses a lot more on safety than the public saw on your “A day in the life” episode. Also you might want to research a gun safe since anyone watching the episode knows where you keep your firearm and key to the said lock (that goes through the hole where the shell casing comes out and through the part where the clip goes. I thought i would use language you could understand 😉 ). So with that said i am sure your book will be a fantastic piece of Fiction.

    P.S America was built on the back of skill trades remember that when you flush a toilet,turn on the light ,and drive your car, etc .

  35. Debaze is a free, fun social debating game with your friends connected through facebook. We are aiming to be the market leader to connect friends with fun social debating.

    Debaze makes debates more easily searchable, easy to involve friends (as voters, spectators or referees) and rewards the debaters with points earned by votes as well as the number of spectators influenced. A user gets 50 credits to start with and uses his/her credits to create a debate, challenge a friend to debate and increase the visibility of his/her debate. A debate’s duration is set before the debate begins so debaters and spectators have time to review and add comments. The Twitter-sized arguments will be viewable by the debaters’ Facebook networks, which the spectators can vote “Like” or “Changed my View”. As Debaters receive more “Likes” and “Changed Views”, they receive more points, which are added to their Debate Rating at the end of the debate and compared to the opponent’s Debate Rating. Debating points help users get virtual badges, rewards, and higher rankings than their friends.


    I have some mock ups that I created! Where can I post them. I really liked your article. Very inspiring!

  36. —–>>>App Idea<<<——This will blow Draw Something out of the water.

    NAME- "15 Seconds".

    RULES- Each player is given the option of 3 words, much like "Draw Something" however, instead of drawing the word, the player must act out the word on video in under 15 seconds with only 1 attempt, and the video is automatically recorded and sent to the opposing player for guessing. The opposing player must guess the word, similar to the Draw Something screen but instead of the drawing its the video of the person acting out the word.

    Make Sense?

    The reason this will kill Draw Something is because videos are much funnier and much more viral as we will add an option to upload to facebook and friends can watch the video and start playing the app as well.

    This post serves as intellectual property.

    1. Good idea when you first think about it but I see two big drawbacks to this:

      1) Have you ever tried filming yourself with an iphone? You wuold have to get someone else ot hold the camera for you or you just have a screen with your face, how many actions can you act out with your face.

      2) How slow would loading times be if people are constantly having to wait for videos to load. I dont think peopel would have the patience to wait until internet on phones is a lot quicker.

      Just some constructive criticism.

  37. I have dabbled in the app-creation game once. I didn’t do to well, but with these tricks I am sure to try again.

    This should not be free. I can’t believe you gave us your keys to success on silver platter. Love you for that Chad. Will submit my idea ASAP!

  38. I must say creating an app has been one of the mosty enjoyable experiences and it’s a great source of “Tim Ferriss style” automated income- whenever and wherever I am I can always make money.

    … I’m very “appy” with that 🙂

  39. Great Article Tim,

    I publish children’s books for the iPad, and I found the part on how to do market research for apps especially relevant. I wonder though about your strategy of emulating other successful apps, if all the readers of this article go out an do that, won’t we be flooding the market with too many me-toos? Maybe as app developer we should be developing for real needs and if we fail to do that, so will your app?

    Another strategy in getting your app out is to partner with a developer. Hiring solo programmers can be very risky from a quality and IP perspective. I’m fortunate to be located in Bangalore, India, and I have access to a really great partners. Your technology partner can bring in the needed experience that you don’t have in tech and share you

    In the app game, marketing is proving to be the most difficult part of the process for us. We were fortunate enough to get our app up on TED, this created a momentary spike in sales, but that sales spike evened out once the initial excitement was over.

    In order to get your app out, you really need to have a very aggressive marketing plan and you should be constantly updating your app, or your customer base will move to next app that is emulating your app.

    Another interesting way of raising capital and conducting marketing at the same time is Kickstarter. Gaming companies are having amazing success with this at the moment. But be careful, don’t automatically assume that you will have the same success (as I did). They’re enjoying this success in part because they have a really strong “existing” customer base that are participating in pre sales of their app.

  40. Ok… I’ll take a stab at it:

    The last time you were at your doctor’s office, did she mention when you need to have another blood test for your cholesterol? did she mention to you how often you need to have a mammogram, colonoscopy, etc? Chances are she didn’t. Do you remember what your last cholesterol was? do you keep a copy of your EKG with you?

    The idea is an app that integrates the recommendation from leading experts in medicine to keep track of how often you need these tests (based on your own personal health profile or the recommendation of your doctor) with friendly reminders, tracking of your abnormal lab results, and a handy little place to keep track of your medical problems and prescriptions.

    It’ll give you reminders that your cholesterol is due to be checked in 6 weeks, that you need another colonoscopy soon, and that your cardiologist wants to see you again for a general checkup in a month. it’ll give you a handy little place to show your doctors all the medicines you’re taking and the current medical problems you have and those you’re no longer having. It’ll allow you to pull up a copy of your recent EKG during your unexpected ER visit out of town.

    I have a couple screenshots i just rendered but have no idea how to add them to this post.

    Market research- There’s a decent list of prescription trackers on itunes. Additionally: ask anyone who’s ever been hospitalized if their life would have been easier if they had their medical information at their fingertips. These are consumers who would benefit, and pay a small fee to get their health managed, and organized.

    Revenue models: ads from local pharmacies/health insurance plans, premium features (find lower priced prescriptions, search for specialist based on your insurance) and a few more ideas up my sleeve.

    1. Great idea. I bet some health food companies and gyms would also love some targeted ads to people with high cholesterol or high blood pressure.

      You could also include dentist visit reminders.

      The hard part would be marketing. Have you thought how you could have the “idea virus” component to this app? People might be hesitant to share their health issues.

  41. Great timing of the post for me. I’m making Android apps (since that’s the phone I took traveling with me) and have been able to get featured on Lifehacker twice in the last month.

    Still, with that great exposure the first time was just a temporary spike and the latest one just happened on Friday. I’m really hoping it will be a jump-start to a much higher install rate.

    My main interest is in the marketing side, getting publicity and it having staying power. This is what I’m focusing more on since my apps have gotten to a more mature state.

    I found an interesting new ad network called Swappit offers to trade ad space in your apps for running your own ads on other people’s apps. I just started with them last week and will give it a chance. So far the click through rate is pathetic, so I’m tweaking my ads and trying some more.

    And finally a plug for my apps, check them out in the Google Play store:

    Wave Control – Control your music playback with a wave of your hand!

    Around Sound – Don’t miss what’s going on around you while you’re rocking out to your music!

    Sound Alseep – Record what goes bump in the night… or if it’s just you snoring.

  42. WOW! that was a very insightful view of app making.

    I do have a great idea for an app, and have been looking into developers here in Australia, I’m finding it is quite expensive here to get it done.

    So thank you for posting developers details and sites for me to research.

    I will definitely enter it into the competition, just need to research some more.

    Thanks Guy… loving your work and the way you live your life.


    1. Hey Aimee, there is a great book on amazon that teaches you realtime how to build an app. i just finished reading it, and am on my 3rd app. You don’t need a mac or coding experience. check it out, its called How to Make apps yourself. I thought it was worth recommending,and hopefully it will help.

  43. Great post! I like seeing the inspirational stories of people who guest post here. I think this one, and the one about hacking job credentials are possibly the best ones, as they really seem like they are available to anyone. Whereas others (like the abs guy) seem like models that can no longer be emulated.

    Personally, my problem with this is that I don’t like smartphones! Not into them! I get too addicted to things like that, I have enough time keeping away from twitter and email when I can only get to it from my computer, let alone my pocket.

    I get the impression from sites like 4HWW that it’s a mistake to pursue a muse that you don’t have some passion or interest in, or else it will become a chore. But on the other hand, this article makes it seem like this is a growing industry, with plenty of room for other stuff. Unlike, say, content sites, which seem to be crowded. Maybe it’s best to go where the growth is and try to squeeze your muse into it?

  44. Wow this article gave me a couple of good ideas, thank you so much!

    Whenever I get an idea, I always get so disappointed when I realize that someone already thought of it, but I’ve started to look at it from a different perspective.

    So what if the basics of an idea you have has already been thought of? That doesn’t mean that the result of your competitor, is better, or even close to the end result of your own vision.

    You can always take something that already exists, and just make it better, more effective, efficient, user friendly, and visually appealing (There are so many buttons to push).

    Again, take what works, discard the rest, and put your own unique twist on it.

    Also, one thing is to create a great app, another thing is to know how to market it in the right way, and if you know how to do that, you’re several steps ahead of the competition.

    I’m going to read this article a couple of times more, and then I’m going to research some more for my projects.

    Oh, and I will start reading The Four Hour Work Week again, there’s so much I forget as time passes 😉

    Thanks again!

  45. I have dabbled in the app-creation game once. I didn’t do too well, but with these tricks I am sure to try again.

    This should not be free. I can’t believe you gave us your keys to success on a silver platter. Love you for that Chad. Will submit my idea ASAP!

  46. There is that fear that someone will flog my idea but stuff it, no risk no gain!

    The app that I would make is…HIDE MY APPS

    I’d like to create an app to hide apps you’ve downloaded that you don’t want others to see. At the moment, if a friend is going through your phone, they can see every app you’ve downloaded and there is no way to keep them private (not that I’ve figured out anyway). I suggest an app (similar to hide My Secret Apps or such) where you can move apps you’re too embarrassed for others to see into a decoy folder and the only way they can be accessed is via password/pin. The current apps for hiding stuff only lets you hide photos/documents/private browsing etc, they don’t let you move apps into them. I’m sure most people have at least one skeleton app theyd prefer stayed in the closet!

    Awesome article too, thanks for the inspiration!

    1. Tanzy:

      I actually came up with that exact idea a while ago and am in the process of developing it. Have a bunch of other ideas related to it as well.

      Cool to see someone else come up with it organically.

    2. I like this. One potential challenge is that Apple might add this functionality at some point.. It just seems like they should have it already.

      So, you should add some extra security functionality too.


  47. Great article.

    As for the app I would like to develop, it is a flip on the traditional period tracker for women. This one is for men and it helps them know when they should tread lightly around their female counter part. Because any app that overtly told a woman that their boyfriend/spouse was worried that they had their period might get them in hotter water (what do you mean I’m hormonal?) it would be designed in a way to look like a very “male” app and the warnings would be subtle color coded alerts similar to the terror warnings post 9/11.

  48. Something that has always held me back from my app ideas is questions about copyright,patents,etc. Is there any guide you can suggest for what the line is between improving and copying apps you are emulating (of if there is one)?

    1. Hey Chris, I think it depends what ideas you’re “copying”. If you’re emulating an app that exists, then it should be clear what improvements, or differences, you made. Then it shouldn’t be an issue. However, if you’re using names, logos, or anything that could be legally protected, then yes, you will definitely need to look into the terms of use before pursuing that concept.

  49. Chad,

    This guide is awesome – it not only contains a ton of great, useful information but it’s also very motivating. I’m a high school teacher of 98 students ages 13-18. My students constantly inspire a ton of product and service ideas, one of which I’d like to share here and hopefully get your feedback on.

    As a teacher, I find that very few high school students use e-mail for communication purposes. Teens prefer texting to emailing at this stage in their lives. In fact, very few of them even have registered email addresses – and those that do, rarely check their inbox. In response, many teachers text their students vital class information and allow students to respond with any related questions. I feel a little reluctant to go this route as it compromises my privacy and professional relationship with students.

    This inspired “teacher text”: Quick, easy SMS communication with your teachers. Teachers can register a unique username and students can text them with questions about homework, quizzes, tests, or class projects. Students can also register to receive texts containing project or assignment details, due dates, quiz & text reminders, resources, class announcements , etc. No personal phone numbers would be displayed within the app, just usernames. Teachers can add and group students based on their class period, allowing for easy group texts of vital class-related information. Parents can also register to receive a copy of all texts sent and received, or also to stay in the loop on what’s going on with their child at school.

    As mobile technology becomes more widespread, this form of communication between teachers and students will become dominant and perhaps make e-mail obsolete. Thank-you again for all the great information; I look forward to your feedback!

    1. Dina,

      My girlfriend is a high school teacher and I helped her create a dummy Facebook profile so that the kids could add her, send her messages, and she could send out important info. It connects with the students where they hang out the most and she said it has made a huge improvement to her voice being heard.

      I know its technically against Facebook TOS but it has been super effective so far!

    2. I love this idea. I’m a HS teacher as well and my kids would greatly benefit from greater communication. As a teacher it would drive me crazy to stay in touch with kids outside of school. Although I’m sure there are folks willing to do it. I believe social networks for teachers, schools and classrooms will be huge in the future too!! I have read that a lot of VC’s love the idea of changing society and your idea would definitely have an impact.

  50. First of all congrats on the massive success on the App Store, and thanks for sharing in such great detail what you learned.

    Though as an app designer with three of my own apps on the store, I can’t help but feel frustrated that your apps that you mention don’t really deliver unique value. The title mentions Instagram, but Instagram delivers a quality experience not matched by anyone else.

    Now your apps (Fingerprint Scanner, Emoji, Music Download, etc) have nothing unique about them, and in many cases are just gimmicks. Can’t you make money creating apps that actually deliver value?

    Unfortunately this is what sells on the app store…

    It would be wrong to get hung up on the quality of the applications and miss the excellent marketing advice throughout the article. This article should be read by everyone developing apps. I just wish quality was more of a focus.

    If you want help designing great iOS apps you can checkout my weekly newsletter:

    1. I completely agree with you, Nathan. A lot of popular apps don’t provide much value. Simple games, tricks, and tools (mirror apps, flashlight apps) do very well, which is why I made a lot of simple apps. You need to cater to the market and earn revenue, which can mean putting some of your favorite ideas on hold until there’s substantial market interest or you have the financial freedom to take bigger risks on those ideas. That being said, I’m now focused on developing more value-based apps, and readily admit that several of the ideas I developed in the past are not apps that I’m particularly fond or proud of anymore! Best of luck 🙂

      1. Who cares. You’re there to make money. If people are buying it, why stop?

        You say that they do not provide value, but they clearly do otherwise people would not be buying them. Be proud of what you do Chad and don’t feel the need to justify yourself to technology snobs, I would be.

        It is clear that you’re idea of “value” is quite different from the typical app store users idea of “value”. Unfortunately, you are only going to become succesful by catering to one of them…

        Why create products that people aren’t going to buy?

    2. I find it interesting that you think Chad’s apps don’t “deliver unique value,” while in the next *breath* you say “Unfortunately this is what sells in the app store.”

      For the last flipping time:

      If it sells, IT DELIVERS VALUE.

      It does not have to be “unique” to be valuable. People don’t work for free (or if they do, they’re certifiable). To keep making things, they have to sell. If they sell, they have value to the buyer AND seller. Proven salability reduces risk (for both parties).

      Why do Wedgewood dishes or Mikasa dishes sell for so much more than the white, round, medium-weight Wal-Mart ones if they add no “unique” value? They’re just dishes, for crying out loud. For that matter, let’s use paper plates, they have an added value–no clean up!

      My point here is, theoretically, it MAY be more useful to write about something else than what has already been done, but if that were the way the world worked, Shakespeare would not have written Romeo and Juliet, which had already been done to death before he was born. Most would agree the English-speaking world would be a poorer place if Shakespeare had not been a copycat, and to date, his version is the “winning app” for that story.

      And yet, still people keep futzing around with it.

      Have you seen “West Side Story”?

    3. And just to add, a cadillac that can not be found is worthless. I’ll pay for the donkey ride that gets me there until someone markets a Yugo that I can find. By this I mean, marketing is worth *A LOT* to the consumer (and by extension, the producer)

  51. Thanks Tim, another cracking post! I published a successful crowdfunding project here for my app idea Alakazam. I had the idea whilst working as a surf instructor in Morocco and had lots of spare time to kill! I’ve done extensive research and I believe there is a gap in the market for a last-minute, throw a dart at a map type flight search app. There is a video and some screenshots attached. Check it out here:

    The £1000 I raised was enough to cover graphic design costs (which I now have finished), buying the domain name and have a basic prototype of the app working which uses an affiliation with skyscanner to find flights. I have many many more ideas to develop the concept once the beta is functional. Eg. for gamification spontaneous flyer miles, facebook integration, Groupon style last minute flight-deals, integration with Rome2rio, weather map overlays and perhaps even Airbnb affiliation!

    Here is my description of Alakazam – The world’s first SPONTANEOUS travel flight search.

    “Where would you like to wake up tomorrow?”

    Have you ever felt like SPINNING A GLOBE and catching a flight to the first place your finger lands on? Alakazam is the world’s first flight search app designed for SPONTANEOUS travellers!

    Imagine you have a free weekend and a bit of spare cash…

    Alakazam uses Skyscanner’s supurb search engine to find your flights and displays them in the form of darts on a map! If you don’t fancy going where the dart has landed, just SHAKE the iphone and another will be thrown to a different location!

    Or view all of the possible countries in the collection of crowdsourced polaroid photos beautiful enough to inspire a spontaneous ADVENTURE! You can even post the flight details to facebook and recruit your friends…

    The aim is to recreate the MAGICAL feeling of possibility by allowing you to explore all destinations within your budget. It’s easy to forget how incredible it is that for the price of a new t-shirt we can walk onto a giant metal cylinder and FLY ACROSS AN OCEAN! We believe that if everything is pre-planned, the art of DISCOVERY can be lost under itineraries and checklists. With its gorgeous elegant retro design, Alakazam aims to encourage and INSPIRE spontaneous travel around the world!

    “Try Travelling With A One Way Ticket…Being on an adventure is all about embracing spontaneity.”

    – Al Humphries

    1. I use a fairly simple dividing line when explaining to clients (I build sites for mobile). The capabilities of the mobile web browsers are quite stunning nowadays – the only things you really can’t do is 3D and advanced 2D (say, what games would require), Camera access, image and video processing, push notification, and things like the address book or other phone data. All the rest (geolocation, small data storage – HTML5 features) are pretty much there.

      Most ‘utility’ apps would be fine as web. Check out Mobile Roadie for a good insight into what you can do on their hybrid platform (app shell around HTML5 guts).

  52. Hey Tim,

    Great article, very useful for me as a Snowboarder turned App Developer, without developing skills 😉

    I wonder what your ideas are about apps in Action Sports – it’s that market that has so much fun, love and inspiration and so much pull to the mainstream market now – trick thing is that it does not have the same reach as Instagram or FB for example.

    Anyway, very useful read, and if you are interested in a location based video battle platform for action sports, have a look at our crowdfunding website, my name is clickable!

    Thanks for all the inspiration so far,


  53. Meeting Facilitation App

    The world of facilitators and facilitation is a large and complex one. Leading meetings as a facilitator covers everyone from professional facilitators, to in house facilitators to managers trying to run productive meetings…and the challenges they face are common ones.

    From handling dysfunction in a group, to preparing an agenda, facilitators have to have lots of tools and strategies at their fingertips.

    My freemium app would have the basic tools and tips/tricks for their toolbox for free, with an option to pay in app for specific facilitation guides, in depth solutions to facilitation challenges, etc.

    I sure hope I win so can begin development ASAP to start helping them!

    Thanks guys! Now I’m off to buy the app book on Amazon….

  54. Hey Tim and Chad,

    As an addition to my previous post, here are more details about OWNR for the contest!

    OWNR is an app for skateboarders, snowboarders, BMX riders.. action sports! It helps you to find spots directly around you using GPS, link your trick videos to them to show your skills, and then battle with each other: who does the best trick and OWNS the spot?

    Are you a rider that wants to get noticed? OWNR is your tool to do this! The amount of spots you OWN forms the base of a ranking: who OWNS the most spots in the area and is the local killer? OWNR helps you to put yourself in the spotlights!

    OWNR is a great tool for riders, and will turn into a great marketing platform for action sports related brands.

    How about a simple spotbattle? The one who does the best trick on the Nike stair, wins a new pair of shoes. How about creating a brand territory? Or your favorite pro rider showing you how to do a trick in Augmented Reality?

    The global reach and coverage of many action sports can really make OWNR the new media platform for action sports. It gives you that feeling of being in a real life videogame, with a high benefit for both users and marketeers.

    Right now, i am crowdfunding and talking with some industry leading brands for investment in the development. Myself i’m a snowboarder, found a developer and a graphic designer, but need to extent our team to make it happen!

    Want to see more?

    Check out the VIDEO, full explanation and screens on our crowdfunding page:

    Thank you so much for creating this contest.

    Your support would be amazing, and besides that it is great to be able to share my work here with you and your readers. Even though our targeted budget is a bit higher than 5000, anything could be useful, and other ways to get involved are always available

    Just very excited to hear your ideas, opinion and feedback!

    Thanks again,


    1. @Michiel – this is a killer idea! Social by design and has a shot of going viral. We are putting a social site together called (we also own and I would love to promote your app on our sites when we go live.

    2. I have a similar idea for an app that would be location based so that people could post spots that they skate/snowboard/bmx etc. such as rails or stairsets in cities or backcountry mountain areas. Your idea seems similar just with a different functionality.

  55. I’m so inspired by this App since after my last “mini-retirement” I was finding myself riding ferries in Indonesia and wishing for some travel apps, I can’t wait to refine and submit my App Idea. What a fantastic opportunity!!

    Lots of love to the whole team and good luck everyone, I feel some fantastic ideas coming on!

  56. Wow! I love step-by-step guides that give real life examples of how a “Muse” is created. ! I love the idea that a person could create passive income off an idea that is 90% outsourced to others from the beginning.

    Additionally, creating Apps is a great business model that a person can take themselves out and it could continue to run after it is complete.

    Thanks for posting this!

  57. If you examine the Productivity charts you’ll see that there are hundreds of ‘Organiser’ apps but the most successful – and those consistently found at the top of the Paid and Grossing charts – are apps that leverage an existing user base such as those of Evernote or Toodledo.

    Evernote has all the qualities of the perfect personal organiser except for two glaring omissions: To Do reminders and handwritten/drawn/ink notes.

    To get a sense for the demand for these two additions please visit EN’s noteworthy blog and read the comments under any of the product update posts. Handwritten notes alone would allow millions of users to fully replace paper with their iPad.

    Therefore, third-party apps have emerged to meet the demand and build successful businesses without ever requiring expensive advertising. Their apps are advertised directly to Evernote’s enormous userbase inside the EN client and online in the ‘Trunk’. Evernote’s popularity amongst the tech-crowd also means many third-party tools get coverage on top-100 blogs like LifeHacker.

    The best apps in this category are also able to charge a premium price because they appeal to SME/business users who can either write-off the app as an expense or see apps that help them get work done more quickly as worthy investments.

    The best of the existing apps, ‘Awesome Note’, is a great looking notes app that syncs with Evernote notebooks and allows the inclusion of handwritten/drawn items.

    However, by trying to also offer sync with “Google Docs” the developers of Awesome Note have undermined the core functionality needed to fully sync with Evernote. Formatting from EN’s excellent web-clipper is completely lost in AN and when synced back to EN the formatting doesn’t return. To-do items from Evernote are also lost in favour of a clunky proprietary system in AN. Worst of all, the app doesn’t automatically sync with EN so running it on an iPhone and iPad simultaneously is haphazard at best and outright treacherous at worst (I’ve lost hours of research in a botched sync).

    Other apps which handle ink/handwritten notes superbly (e.g. Penultimate) aren’t able to pull information in from Evernote and therefore the USP of EN – being able to find anything from any device – is lost in these apps.

    Therefore my app suggestion isn’t to reinvent the wheel – it’s to build an iPad and iPhone Evernote client that adds handwritten/ink notes and automatic two-way syncing to the existing functionality. If it looks half as good as Awesome Note (or the equally good looking CalDAV/Toodledo client app 2Do) then it will take pride of place on many iPads.

    So Chad, whether you pinch this idea and build it or award this idea the prize and give it a huge kickstart, there’s already thousands of customers desperate to download the app that gets this right.

    Alternatively, Tim if you speak to the EN guys directly; get ink notes pushed up the priority list! You’ll really help a lot of people who you’ve helped to work remotely, work even more effectively.

  58. Thanks for such a detailed look into the App development process! I’m an eCommerce guy, and was always skeptical of the App market, just assuming there were thousands of failed apps for every success. Good to know it’s possible to do well consistently. Congratulations on your success!

  59. Great Post! I was having conversations over the weekend with my partner and together we searched for an app that we could use and came up empty. I work part-time in the fitness industry as a personal trainer and Yoga instructor. I NEED an app that allows clients and attendees of our 3x per week yoga class “check-in” much like the airlines use 24 hours before a scheduled flight. Simple confirmations and reminders aren’t enough to ensure I’ll have enough people for class. An additional function would allow people to “request a check-in time” on days where a traditional class isn’t on the schedule but they would l like me to hold an impromptu class. I’d gladly do this if the demand was there via “check-ins” from interested students. There are many apps that can show locations of classes but there was nothing similar to the new “Great Clips” check-in app for the fitness industry. I spent $31.99 downloading Personal Trainer Pro and while it is a very complete app for managing my client information, it lacks that one component I need to accurately forecast so that I can reduce wasting time (The T Ferriss way). Thank you!

  60. Great information, this is very encouraging. I love music apps and thought of this idea a few weeks ago; it might be fun:

    ShowerMC or Shower Mic: Not everyone is blessed with Mariah Carey’s 5 Octave Vocal Range, but in the shower it may seem that way. Everyone (or most people) sound great when they sing in the shower. Shower Mic would be an app that transforms singing voices, emitting “shower quality sound”. Users can sing into their phone and record the audio. When files are played back by the user, Shower Mic will make them sound like they do in the shower.

    The app’s main page could feature a running shower background and traditional shower head as the mic – and maybe there can be fun bubbles that float around in the shape of musical notes.

    Shower Mic is for everyone or anyone who loves to sing in the shower!

  61. Chad- thanks for this. I recently downloaded your book and am already engrossed in it so this post is great timing for me. As a mobile User Experience designer, I have no shortage of ideas but am lacking in the execution area. So, I have three questions:

    1. How does your NDA hold up internationally? Have you ever had any issues with foreign developers?

    2. What do you include in the terms of your hiring contract? It sounds like your payment schedule is deliverable based, and not calendar based (meaning there is a deadline but payment is only made when the deliverable is met, even if it is late). Other tips?

    3. How do you handle updates with your developers? Do you typically go back to the original developer for the update, or have you had reason to onboard a new developer and deal with the setback in schedule?

    Lastly, if anyone here is in need of help with the ux/storyboards/wireframes of their app ideas…

  62. App Title: Bloodstone: An Epic Dwarven Tale Reboot

    Void goal: To re-release an old cult game in a new format.

    Explanation: I want to build an app that is based on one of the biggest game series of the 90s. Bloodstone is a prequel to The Magic Candle series, made by the now defunct Mindcraft Software Inc. Bloodstone is a DOS game that is now considered abandonware, but I am in contact with the owner of the copyright and in negotiations to buy the name. If I don’t get the rights, then it will become the ‘spiritual remake’ of the original.

    You can try it out here:

    Many game companies are taking off these days. The Kickstarter campaign for Shadowrun ( hit their goal in 28 hours and blew past 3 times the goal with still a few days to go. People are looking for some nostalgia, and dusting off an old game and giving it a reboot is a great way to capitalize on this trend, not to mention make a lot of old geeks very happy, while at the same time introducing some new players to a very cool game.

    Created 20 years ago, The Magic Candle series is still fondly remembered in gaming circles. One of the first DOS games that people ran on their Pentium 100 machines. It introduced many new concepts, like in game notes.

    Game play: Many games get this wrong, but I am thinking of an innovative way to include turn based play with real time fighting. It is based on the Cyberlords – Arcology ( method of adding in a way to stop fighting and give specific orders to each member of the party. It also closely models the original turn based game play.


    Races, classes, and skills: Taken directly from the original and streamlined.

    Development: I have a clear idea of what needs to be done. Very little thrashing. Seth Godin rammed that idea into my head a long time ago with one of his talks ( I am going for a 16 bit look. They fit a huge game on two floppies. This game can be done the same way. Epic scale with a small footprint.

    Monetization methods: Free game (Level 1-5) and a paid game (Level 6 to 20). Microtransactions are also an idea. 25 cents for top of the line armor, weapons, or spells are an idea. The exact same model that Cyberlords uses is also an option.

    Marketing: I am far better at marketing than game design. I used my own marketing to beat out 2000 people to get on a Japanese reality show. America’s Got Talent contacted me last month about a video I made 4 years ago. My press releases helped books hit the #1 spot on Amazon.


    Bloodstone Wiki:

    Mindcraft Wiki:

  63. App: Tap Tap Country

    Category: Education

    Players will learn countries/capitals/shapes/geographic locations of all Earth’s countries.

    Beginning with individual continents, players will work their way up to tapping the correct country (out of 2 or 3 visible choices) from all the 193 countries. Players can unlock badges, hit streaks, and activate ‘capital bonus’ mode.

    In capital bonus mode players, after tapping the correct country, will have to tap the correct name of that country’s capital.

    Reason for success: There is a top-rated 50 states game in the Education Category. Searches containing “country” yield a few results, but only one is based on visually selecting countries on a map (the best way to learn geography) and it’s terribly ugly. With slick visuals and a “game-ified” reward system this app will be a great learning tool.

    Click here for more info and a sample visual:

  64. Great Post – maybe enough to get me moving on an app idea or two I’ve had.

    Here’s my submission:

    We’ve all been there before: You are at work, a fancy dinner, maybe even the movies, and you get a text / email / phone call that disrupts everyone around you. Glares are sent your way as you struggle to get your phone out and turn it to silent.

    Well, AutoHush can help.

    AutoHush is an app that manages your phone’s notification audio based on your location. Adding a new location would use a Maps-like interface where you can enter in a specific address, or use your current location. The next step is to select the desired notification audio(Text message: Silent, Calls: Vibrate, Etc.). Then finish adding, and from that point on when you approach that new location, your phone will change to that profile.

    You could have different profiles: Home, Work, Church, etc. All managing your phone’s audio without any interaction from you.

  65. here is my idea, generally for teenagers and college students.

    let suppose there are 3 guys (gaurav, vikas, shyam) living together in a dorm room and they bought some kitchen products.

    there individual spending, which they will either share or not with each other.

    gaurav- biscuits, rice, wheat, milk, a light bulb (of which he will share every thing except of biscuits with other two guys).

    vikas- beer, liquid handwash. (beer for himself, liquid hand wash will be used by all three)

    shyam- vegetable (shared by all three).

    now we need to decide who pays to how much money to who, so that money is shared between all, according to there usage.

    price(in rupees):

    biscuits – 12

    rice – 99

    wheat – 120

    milk – 42

    light bulb – 15

    beer – 66

    liquid handwash – 81

    vegetables – 120

    now money is balance as:-

    Gaurav – he spend total 288 (his share is 171) so he payed 117 extra. of which he will get 39 from shyam(spent 120 but his share is 159) and 78 from vikas(who spend 147 but his share is 225)….

    so the application would be to create a profile of individuals and divide there shared money they spend.

    I am a college student and really it takes too much time and effort to divide money daily like this and believe that so many students around the globe do the same….

    great article, Thank you 🙂

  66. Eyes On The Road app.

    Gives user the ability to STOP TEXTING and DRIVING.

    For diagram, see:

    Nobody likes to stop texting and driving, especially when that’s the POINT of a MOBILE PHONE.

    But everyone likes Google’s beer goggles, and in essence, that’s what this is. Beer goggles for texting and driving. Text Goggles is an alternate name.

    Hope this app wins!

    Brooks Hanes

  67. Everyone needs to stop Texting while Driving, but nobody can.

    EyesOnTheRoad or Text Goggles detects your movement, in a motor vehicle, and applies a frustration (determent) technique to slow the desire to text.

    Click on my name for the URL to my Visual Chart _with pictures_:


  68. Okay, here’s my idea.

    Nike+ GPS is an app for tracking your runs and providing the motivation you need by allowing friends to comment and tag which inserts a cheer into the audio stream. THis is a top selling app! This is great but what is lacking is the ability to include your own feedback based on location from previous runs.

    I’m a single-track biker (read: mountain biking through woods). With single-track it’s tough to remember where the obstacles are and you can end up losing valuable time with false prediction of obstacles. Or worse you can end up wrapped around a tree because you forgot one. The same is true with other sports (running, off-road, skiing, snowmobiling, rally road racing, or any track or trail sport).

    The app I’m dreaming of provides the ability to record obstacles or self-advice that will be played back in future laps. The app would need to allow the audio to be offset as a warning that plays *before* the obstacle. Example: “Oh #*&%! Tree!” would play one second before it was recorded on the previous lap or for runners “mean dog” or “tough incline” 10 seconds before the event.

    All the other features of Nike+ would be cool too.

    Let’s get cracking on this 😉



  69. —–>>>> APP CONCEPT <<<“Proximity Dating”

    With Geo-location enabled, users are able to make their “profile” public. When they wonder around on their daily routine, taking the bus to work, shopping for groceries, eating out or just taking a walk, the app will alert you when another user is in close proximity – or if their profile matches yours. It’s real-time live dating. The app offers ice-breakers, and if it is good to go meeting up would only be a few minutes away.

    This idea comes from a more general concept whereby users are able to create public personal preference profiles on their device and as they journey through the world if they happen to pass something which matches the profile – they are alerted.

    If I like Stabucks, and I am in the area (like on any street, I could be alerted to the location and they could even send me a coupon as I walk past the door. The overriding concept is having a public profile on your device which is activated when passing through geo-locations which match your likings/preferences.

    All the best and good luck to everyone in this competition!

  70. Wow, this post came at a great time for me. I had an idea for a KILLER and incredibly useful app just this weekend, in fact I had just bought Stephen Key’s “One Simple Idea” at the bookstore to flesh it out in greater detail and develop it.

    I’m a bit hesitant to post the idea publicly, but once I follow your steps and draw out how it will work and some research behind, who knows, might decide to enter this contest..

  71. Hi Chad,

    AMAZING post! I’ve been considering apps for a while now, but I’m a marketer, not a programmer, and was quoted $14K+. Please see my entry below! 🙂

    According to The Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network, “as many as 15 million Americans have food allergies, including approximately 6 million children.” The amount of people affected by food allergies continues to grow each year. The following eight foods are responsible for 90% of all food-allergic reactions in the U.S.: milk, eggs, wheat, soy, peanuts, tree nuts, shellfish, and fish. The app I’m looking to create would serve those struggling with food allergies, as well as those with specific food preferences (specifically vegetarians and vegans).

    I’d like users to be able to select their food preferences (dairy-free, meat-free, nut-free, gluten-free, soy-free, GMO-free, etc.) and find places to eat or shop nearby using the GPS feature on their phone. This would work almost like Google Maps, because the results would be based on where the user was located at that moment. In addition, users would be able to type in an address or zip code to find options by (as this is unavailable in similar apps, but necessary–as expressed by the app reviewers). The grocery stores, restaurants, etc. would have user-generated ratings and be tagged with food options (dairy-free, gluten-free, etc.).

    There are several apps that have similar concepts, but fall short. One of the most popular ones seems to be HappyCow, which is a vegan & vegetarian world restaurant finder. The application is $2.99, which seems high to me. The biggest issue users have is that they cannot “plan ahead.” If they are going to travel, they cannot see their options ahead of time. The users have to physically be in the location to search the places nearby.

    Another problem, there aren’t enough choices in the database. Imagine buying an app for $2.99 and realizing there are “no results found” in your area. Similarly, I don’t believe HappyCow allows users to extend the radius searched, so people might not get any results for where they are, but there may be an option meeting their food standards right outside of the radius being searched!

    A popular app for food allergy sufferers appears to be iCanEat OnTheGo, which allows users to select their “allergens” and then shows them what meals can be eaten at popular fast-food establishments. The app developer has the right idea, but most people struggling with allergies that I know cannot eat ANYTHING in an establishment that uses dairy, eggs, fish, gluten, peanuts, etc. The allergies are severe or aren’t, but they don’t want to take any risk.

    The market is definitely there. My app would serve not only those with food allergies or food preferences, but also the healthy-minded crowd that want to avoid specific types of ingredients, while still remaining “niche enough” to be hot!

    Balsamiq Mock-up:

    Looking forward,


  72. I am a mom to three kids and shop online for most of their clothes and shoes. I want to build an app that will allow me to measure my kids feet (width and length) on my iPad/Galaxy screen and show me their true size in US/UK/EU shoes. I would love for ads to link to new styles/sales, etc. once measured, so that I can purchase shoes that are just right for little feet.

  73. Finally a comprehensive article on this subject. I do have one question. With all the ideas being posted here is that really smart since the article mentions getting an NDA to protect your idea, then now there is a public forum where less ethical folks may wander in and pinch the best ones.

    Also, there is a fledging company called APPBATES where you can get your app made free and share in the ad clicks. That pays for your app development free then over time the percentage covers the cost and you still make money even though the app was made free. Pretty neat. I have them doing a qr code one for me.

  74. Amazing post!

    Here’s my app idea:

    I’ve been extracting an idea by interviewing people in the very small niche market of equine dentists for the past 6 months which led to me creating a web-app for them which simply allows them to scan and upload their paper charts to our servers for remote access in the cloud (its a little more complex than that but that’s the basic idea).

    From connecting with all these dentists is has become apparent that they’re looking to take this a few steps further with a fully digital solution that can be used without a data connection…enter the iPad app.

    I’m not going to get into detail explaining the features here because I made a video that you can watch instead:

    Basically I created a clickable UI using keynotopia (I can’t even match my clothes let alone design a decent UI) – you can see that it was modeled off the settings app on the iPad and Evernote – which I am now showing to my list of dentists for feedback to make sure that we have the feature set locked in to make the whole process a lot easier for the developers. *The developers loved getting a screencapture video as well!

    I have already tweaked a couple of features with the early feedback and added a small reminder and appointment setting feature.

    Now I know this is a fairly comprehensive app which is definitely bigger than the discussed pricepoint in the article but based on the feedback and validation I have done there is definitely a market for it so I’m not worried about the potential ROI, but more focused on finding the money to get it done in the first place. Some of it is coming from prepayments from the dentists but this $5,000 would go a long way to getting the ball rolling!!!

    I’m also going to apply the ol’ scope hammer to get it into an MVP format to start generating revenue to get it to full functionality. Plus after this initial investment, the source code from the app can be adjusted and repackaged for related business verticals.

    I think there’s massive potential in the SMB market for apps tailored to their industry and monetized through metered and usage-based billing systems.

    This whole project is my first foray into web development and is my big push and gamble to avoiding getting my first “real job” after finishing my degree. Sorry but when all I could find was regional sales rep for print supplies (as much as my mom would have preferred that) I really decided to put that in the “backup plan” pile and just go to work finding my own way.

    Hope you guys like it and for all the designers and tech savvy readers if you’ve got any feedback for me on the app idea don’t hold back!

    1. Update: I had a 1.5 hour conversation with the dentist who created some of the first software in this niche and he’s not only sending me a free copy of his application but he’s giving me the entire list of people who purchased it to market to!

      I also have 3 dentists committed to pre-purchasing credits in the app in order to help get the project funded. My goal is to get to 10 dentists prepaid for true market validation because if I’ve learned one thing its that lots of people will tell you how cool your idea is but when it comes time to pay you’ll get a different story from most of them.

      The extensive research is paying off and the validation is well on its way.

  75. Since mobile technology is the next big thing and social networking is so big, why not combine the two and create something that fulfills a fundamental human social need; i.e.(friendship, dating, sex, entertainment, communication, confession, networking)

    My idea:

    Is a social networking app similar to the newest apps everyone is raving about at SXSW festival (Glancee, Highlight, Kismet). I uses the GPS tracking in your phone to show your current position and the people around you. It gives you the ability to view their profile, with links to their Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, almost as if people are walking around with these icons above their head giving you information about them and the ability to approach and talk with them once you find common ground. The app also integrates a reward system similar to Foursquare or Groupon. After meeting a new person/connection you receive a coupon or gift, for example buy one get one free drink, this also gives you an incentive to meet others. It is a Facebook/Twitter meets Foursquare and Groupon. Good for dating, networking, meeting others and exploring new places/opportunities.

    Great article!


  76. Nice post Chad!

    My idea is to redesign lost & found for the connected city.

    Here’s a demo, that brings the idea to life:

    Have you ever lost anything in a big city like NY or SF? It’s a nightmare to get back and a broken user experience. The idea is simple: Phoundit directly connects finders and owners of lost property through location, for an offline return experience.

    I’ve done research that validates “finder’s aren’t necessarily keepers” through purposefully losing items across New York City to see if they’d be returned. More details here:

    Good luck everyone!


  77. Chad, thanks for sharing all this info and Tim for putting it up.

    Here goes mine: Business Category: Send a Note: “Send a hand written thank you note you don’t have to write yourself”. In today’s text and email world hand writing and sending out an actual signed card will mean more than ever.

    Lets create an app that allows users to send handwritten notes directly via an app. Users will only have to log-in, write the message on the screen, their name, mailing address and hit SEND. Via the online page users will “load” their account with a minimum of $10 which allows them to send out 4 notes ($2.50/note). Apple has a similar app but it’s too expensive and notes are not Hand Written. I can have my assistant hand write the notes until orders are large enough at which point we can easily outsource this task. Total cost per card and postage for us is about $1.50 including my assistance time. Healthy margin!

    PS/The person writing the notes will physically also sign the note on the users behalf. *Sending an actual hand written note in today’s society means much more than ever before.

    PSS/I already have the design mock-ups ready to go!

    Thanks for listening.

  78. This is an AWESOME article! People don’t realize this, as you said, even if it’s a 4-year old market it’s still in its initial phase. This is gonna continue to grow more and more, so the best time is NOW.

    I’m super interested in starting an app business and looking to meet cool people with who we can create a Mastermind and help each other out in the process.

    This post can also be a place to meet fellows like you so take advantage of that too!

    If anyone is interested add me on Facebook! (Just click on my name) 😉

    Thanks Chad for the article 😉

  79. Just finished a 600-page encyclopedia of best-practices, The Ultimate Guide to Sales Training (Pfeiffer). With close to 30 million U.S. individuals working in the selling profession (I don’t have global numbers at this time), an app designed to remove the biggest bottleneck in selling would have extremely high value.

    That bottleneck is Handling Objections.

    I have a proprietary model for developing responses to buyer resistance. In training I show a 12 page document on responding to price objections (it’s compressed onto a single page for fun). But the point is you can develop 30 or 40 or more responses to any objection. This enables a variety of sales pros to “find their voice.’ That is, use language with which they’re most comfortable and is a reflection of their personality. Each objection would have responses that fit into a wide and wild variety of comments, depending on the type of buyer, type of product and many other factors.

    The App would be customizable for each salesperson and/or each organization, as each company normally has about six objections that limit their ability to close business.

    And while this App can’t replace sales training, this one piece of the selling puzzle can be taught apart from formal training, with great results.

    To supplement, teach or practice what’s learned, I already have a flash-based video game called Revenge of the Reps where salespeople can click on buyers who offer resistance and determine how to respond to those buyers (including zapping the truly bad ones – sales pros know that some buyers just aren’t going to be upfront and honest and you better learn to move on).

    This App could serve as a major first step to creating Apps for 30+ additional pieces of the sales training puzzle.

  80. iPhone App programming became my “muse” after reading 4HWW. I am now an app developer and I too started with absolutely no experience. And yet I grossed $1-2K/mo. in less than a year (only after a few months, really).

    Here is the problem that I had that this post solved: I relied to much on programming myself or with a buddy that was a way more skilled programmer. The problem came when the two of us could not make the apps quick enough. Though I quit my 9-5… he still works his.

    What I need to do is hire different programmers to execute my never-ending ideas. But, I simplified my life so that I could survive on the app income, primarily, while still hustling new business ideas such as: children’s book writing and publishing. I still have a list of great app ideas but here is my best.

    My new App idea that can be made with Chad’s help:

    ‘A Frogger-style game for iPhone and iPad with an original character concept’

    Bonus Points: My research?

    Games are always the top sellers and biggest money makers… Angry Birds (Need I say more).

    Here are the recent in ‘what’s hot category… 50% of them are games:

    1. Whole living magazine

    2. Makers

    3. Crow (Game)

    4. Tops Bunt

    5. Spell Tower (Game)

    6. Soul Caliber (Game)

    7. Max Payne Mobile (Game)

    8. Avengers Origins (Game)

    9. Tetris (Game)

    10. NHL Game Center (Game)

    11. Daily Show Headlines

    12. The Lorax HD (Game)

    In todays Top Free Apps the top two spot are Games:

    1. Deer Hunter Reloaded (Games)

    2. Kingdom Age (Games)

    In Todays Top Paid Apps 5 of the top 10 are games:

    2. Angry Birds Space HD

    3. Draw Something by OMG

    4. Shark Dash

    6. Spell tower

    9. Wheres my water?

    The research is easy like Chad said and fun. Also, having a game ready for iPad and iPhone increases sales dramatically since iPhone has the larger user base yet smaller profits while iPad has less competition for apps and larger profits.

    My research also showed that the most popular of all time apps are ones that are simple, fun and addictive with unlock levels and in-app purchases or franchises such as ‘Angry Birds seasons’.

    My app will have the simple, fun and addictive game style of old school frogger with vivid HD character concepts that I created writing a series of children’s books entitled, “Battles of the Florida Roadkill’ (which I am currently preparing to self-publish through Amazon and iBooks so there will be cross-promotion with the book and the game).

    We will have a multi player game play as well that will implement an Angry Birds slingshot-type shooting function.

    The connection between Roadkill and the frogger concept was a no-brainer.

    That is the short of it. Sorry for the lists instead of images but, I don’t know how to implement images into the comments box.

  81. Title: Who Are Your True Friends?

    Purpose: To understand the nature of your relationships.

    In a world of 1000+ facebook friends, sometimes we wonder, how many of these relationships are meaningful connections. Texts are the preferred method of communication among many kids and adults.

    The app shows who we interact with the most and how by showing a leader board based on specified criteria (# of texts, texts per day, length of texts, average response time, etc) and at specific time intervals (1 day, 10 days, 30 days, 90 days, 1 year, all time).

    The free version will only show the top 5 people in each category while the full-version will show interactions for everyone.

  82. Thank you Chad & Tim for the great value you are giving to us.

    I’m desperate for an ANSWERING MACHINE APP on IOS & ANDROID.

    There are only Text/SMS answering apps but not a real one.

    If you have an incoming call and you don’t like to answer and you don’t like to reject the call because it might not be very polite you can touch another button where your answering machine answers.

    And because it’s an app you can manage those messages easily on your phone.

    As a feature I would suggest Tim’s voicemail template is already preinstalled ,-)

    I read there might be some hardware difficulties with the microphone but I’m sure if you work concentrated on that project you will make great success.

    Lots of business man are actually waiting for this app and are tired of those text/sms answering machines!

    I hope you will consider “my idea” ,-)

    Sunny Greetings – ALEX

  83. Love the guide, thanks so much.

    I think it would be a nice gesture to have a way for people to submit their ideas without having to announce them, unprotected, to however many thousands of people.

    1. p.s. – I’m curious, does anyone know if there’s a market for creating music for app developers?

      I’ve created music, from drama to hip-hop, for TV since 1998. I don’t know if there’s a realistic market, or if music has gotten kind of devalued in app-land as it has in other markets.



    2. Hey guys- Thanks so much for all of your comments. The response has been amazing and my team is super excited to review all of your ideas!

      (Todd, I’m posting this under your comment since it’s the highest up with this question.)

      For those who were hoping to submit their idea privately (via email, rather than a comment): I completely understand where you’re coming from, but for this particular contest, we wanted to have a public forum so everyone could feel like they were on an even playing field.* Tim’s community is about sharing, which is why I gave away a lot of my book’s best content for this post. We want to encourage you guys to open up and share your ideas, but if you don’t feel comfortable sharing,** you don’t have to enter the contest! You can still pursue the idea on your own, and hopefully this post gives you a good enough roadmap to do that. Just remember: having an idea isn’t nearly as important as actually doing the research, proving the concept, and being able to execute.

      * I also didn’t want to make it seem like I was building a private collection of ideas to capitalize on 🙂

      ** This is why I only make hired programmers sign an NDA, and not my friends whom I share my ideas with — I know a programmer has the skills to successfully execute my ideas on their own. My friends, however, usually can’t (no offense, friends!) so I’m not afraid to open up with them.

      Best of luck everyone!

  84. Thank you for the post.

    My app idea is one that emulates existing successful apps. While looking over the best-sellers list, I noticed that there are several entertaining photo-enhancing apps on the list such as Baldify, Fatbooth, and Oldify. Judging by the success of these apps, I would like to design an app that makes the individual’s face in the photo look younger and skinnier. It is the opposite of the Oldify and Fatbooth apps. The name of the app may be Youngify or Glorydays.

    Thanks in advance for the consideration.

  85. This is a unique submission: I just co-created my first app, which was released last week. Part of a two-person team, I handled all editorial content, research and marketing. My boyfriend Joe developed the app in its entirety. We collaborated on every step, from concept to submission to Apple.

    Cheazza – Cheap Pizza is a free iPhone app highlighting New York City’s best cheap pizza. We absolutely love NYC’s dollar slices, and decided to show others where to get the best. Users can find nearby dollar slices, pizza freebies and other cheap deals.

    We created the app in our spare time for fun. Our marketing, promotion and advertising efforts are limited to anything free. We’ve proven we can execute an app with a great niche idea. We could use the money from this contest to market that idea broadly and to great effect.

  86. I’m currently working on an app that will help coach good posture with audible and or vibrating feedback when the iPhone… held in a strap that I’ve already made above the waist is at a bad angle. I’m working with an Occupational Therapist for support with the proper stances and angles at different points of a user’s back.

    Picture of the Waist Band:

    It will track the amount of time they are within “Good Posture” and “Bad Posture”. This way they can track their progress over time.

    if you have an iPhone, use it to go here:

    Above is a link to the app working as a Web app using only what I have coded in HTML5, CSS3 and Javascript.

    That’ right, a web App. Using other technology, I’ve found a way to get around placing items in the App store. All a user needs is the web address.

    This is a project in it’s infancy, I started three days ago. I welcome any feedback about this app.

    Link to the Application’s documentation:!2.pdf

    1. LOL. That is hilarious. Could be somewhat of a “status” symbol for people to show off and share.

      You’d have to have badges for “longest streak”, “biggest player in the area”. You could also have linked proximity between male/female users and get extra points for threesomes, etc.

      The pure outrageousness of this app would give it lots of coverage and press.

  87. —————————————————

    ///// Rob’s Kickin’ App Submission \\\


    “Draw Something” is fun but some of us are more musically inclined. May I submit to the jury: “Play Something” (or some other app name Zynga won’t sue me for).

    Users have a virtual keyboard (piano type keyboard, not a typing keyboard) where they play notes to try and reproduce one of three song choices. Initially, the player is limited to one or two octaves and a single instrument (the piano). The three songs will vary based on difficulty and award value. After finishing their composition the playing partner will have to try and guess the title of the song.

    As players complete songs they get “notes” which can be used to unlock additional octaves, different instruments and other bonuses. Of course, users can simply buy notes if they’d rather not wait for the perks.

    Additional perks could include the ability to record the player’s voice (for singing), allowing multiple notes to be played at once (treble & bass lines) and new songs to play/guess.


    Upside: The social gaming market is clearly a winner and something folks will pay money to play or buy perks.

    Downside: This app requires a client/server type architecture and might be a bit more pricey to develop.

    Downside: Your boss might not be too keen with you busting out your interpretation of “Eye of the Tiger” at the company meeting.


    Looking forward to your feedback and seeing what all the other 4H folks come up with!


    1. Ive thought of this as well, have something similar however a bit different.

      I think you’re on the right track. My main that Im working on I wont dare post on here however it WILL change the world.

      To the future!

  88. App contest:

    Fairly sure parts of this idea are already out there but…

    Easily accessible mini-scoring system for an individuals reputation/personality

    App that allows you to refer someone or be referred by various individuals.

    Rating from -1000 to 1000

    Rating system based on who references you and their own personal reference ‘score’

    Can link with others to show you support them, a friend, or merely an acquaintance of some kind.

    Personal statements are mandatory, can’t just give a score, anyone can rate you.

    Gives you a personal and public backing by individuals on your ‘character’ (or lack of)

    Helps people (or possible employers) to friend you (facebook), or hire you.

    Can easily check on someone and find out who they “hang” with and if their personality is compatible with yours.

    LInkage to facebook for basic stats on the individual.

  89. The app I have in mind is called SketchDip. I came up with the idea because it would alleviate having to wait for you tab when trying to leave a packed bar. Also, people would not have to worry about leaving their card at the bar after having a few drinks. The way it would work is when you go to the bar you can scan a QR code and that will automatically start your tab at the bar and you will be in the bars computer. Every time a person orders a drink that is using the app, an itemized list of all their drinks will be kept track of on the persons mobile device. This will allow someone to monitor their tab throughout the night to make sure no one was charging drinks to their tab. When the person is ready to close their tab they can simply click “check out” on their app, leave gratuity and walk out of the bar without having to wait for the bartender to give them their tab. This will be possible because when a person downloads the app they will put in their credit/debit/paypal account information in the app.

    1. Hi

      Have seen a bar app but it was supplied by the processing company as it had to tie into accounting, bartenders login id ( in a busy bar it needs to know who is the bartender/waiter /floor person who rings it up )

      it was very cool, on a wrist strap in a bar in Key West.

    2. I like this suggestion because it leaves out that akward moment if you wish to not tip the bartender for doing a poolry job at serving.

  90. Thanks for the awesome & inspiring post. I’ll keep this short.

    Idea – Create an app that is similar to Fruit Ninja, but instead of chopping fruit and avoiding bombs, you will be shooting pheasants (birds) and avoiding hens. As the player progresses in the game, more roosters and hens will fly until the player either shoots a hen or misses too many roosters. Simple, mindless, fun.

    Hopefully, this will be another app that users will spend hours playing!

  91. Hi Chad,

    First, thanks a lot for a great article!

    Second, I’ll take my shot at this contest. I have an idea that is bugging me for a few months now.

    I’ll keep it as simple as I can.

    Possible name: Meet me!

    Category: Social

    Login method: Facebook, email account(sign up)

    Idea: An app that would help people meet, find, follow, gather, race, connect, chat

    Description: The app would use Google Maps or Open Street maps and will work on GPS enabled devices only. Basic idea is that an user can log in and share its location with other people. The users will see the live position of the other users. There are other apps that are similar to this one but they can be greatly improved(i.e. Friendjectory or Friend Mapper)

    Think about a cycling event. One user creates an event(public or private) and others are able to see it(only if public or invited). After joining the event each user will be able to see every other user that joined that event in real time on a map. They, for example, can see each other moving towards the meeting point. After they depart, let’s say that one of them got left behind. He/she can use the app to see where the front group is so he can catch up with them.

    Another great use of the app is a mode called “Race me”. By creating a “race me” event, an user can define a finish point on the map. The first one from all attendees who will arrive to those GPS coordinates will receive some points. The app would have a scoring module, or it may be linked to GameCenter or OpenFeint systems.

    There could also be a chat/message system between friends from the same app. You cannot chat with users to which you are not friend with. You can of course send them a Friend request.

    Users will only be visible on the map if they choose to.

    This app can be used on foot, in the car, on a bike, skate, pretty much everywhere and any time. The selling point would be the live positioning of the other users(friends, attendees…), the race mode and the general social flavor.

    You can find here a PowerPoint with a sketch I drew for this app idea:

    Thanks for this chance.


  92. Prelude

    Hi Chad / Tim,

    Thank you for passing on your knowledge to wannabe entrepreneurs, like myself.

    Act I

    I will start by answering a few questions raised in App Empire

    Chapter 2 (Install This First: The App Millionaire Mindset)

    Q: What’s my why, and how will my life change when I get it?

    A: I will empower myself to continue chasing my dream, to found an architectural school dedicated to improving living standards in deprived areas (globally).

    Q: What can I see myself doing in the app business to make money? What’s my passion?

    A: I am passionate about helping others to form real relationships, via the iPhone ecosystem.

    Q: What do I want to do with the freedom I will have?

    A: I want to make myself a better person, and in the process make the world a better place. Presently, I am teaching myself how to tailor clothes.

    Q: How committed am I to making this work, and how important is it that I succeed?

    A: I will get (spiritually) rich or die trying.

    Q: When and how am I going to check in daily on my winning mindset?

    A: By continuing to spend quality time with my niece and nephew.

    Q: Who else is going to benefit from this new way of life and money, and what will that mean to them and to me?

    A: Humanity will benefit from the success (and philanthropy) of well-intentioned entrepreneurs. I want to do my part in pushing humanity forward.

    Act II

    Chapter 3 Discover the New World

    Gathering Intelligence

    On the 23rd April 2012, 3 no. dating apps where positioned amongst the top 25 grossing apps in the App Store;, Badoo & Zoosk where ranked at positions 4, 10 & 17 respectively.

    These Apps generate revenue via monthly subscription models, priced from $13.68, to $24.16, to $39.98. Given that the mean number of users for these sites is set around the 73 Million mark, it is not unreasonable to estimate that (subject to a 75% reduction factor, to account for non-subscribed users) monthly revenue in this sector may be close to 500 Million dollars.

    Q: So, how do I plan to capture a significant chunk of this pie?

    A: By discarding the monthly subscription model in favour of one based on micro-payments.

    Act III – My App Idea ‘Naang’

    Naang’s Basic Game Dynamic

    Naang allows players to freely interact using yes/no questions. Questions are to be formed so as to elicit a response of yes or no. Before posting a question, the asker specifies a preferred answer; subsequently, the status of the relationship between the asker and the recipient ‘levels-up’ if the actual answer matches the preferred answer. Conversely, the level of the relationship decreases if agreement is not reached. In addition to this basic game dynamic, players are invited to purchase gifts, via a beautiful in-game gift store, which if accepted will also ‘level-up’ relationships. Note: 50% of all virtual gift purchases go to charity.

    Act IV

    Example – Refer to the link for the associated descriptive illustration.

    I start by asking Nicole if she likes sci-fi movies, specifying a preferred answer of YES.

    Nicole answers YES, as a result our relationship ‘levels-up’ to Level 1.

    Next, I ask if she likes Marmite, specifying a preferred answer of NO. Nicole answers YES. EPIC FAIL. The level of our relationship returns to 0.

    To recover, I opt to send Nicole a gift. Naang suggests that I send her an umbrella, based on weather forecasts in her area.

    Play continues.

    I pay £1 to unlock Nicole’s personal profile & activity preferences at levels 3 & 7 respectively.

    As we tend towards a real world date, discount coupons are offered for use at restaurants etc.

    Finally, at Level 10, I pay £1 to unlock a direct messaging function between Nicole and I, to facilitate the transfer of our relationship into the real world.

    I start by asking Nicole if she likes sci-fi movies, specifying a preferred answer of YES.

    Nicole answers YES, as a result our relationship ‘levels-up’ to Level 1.

    Next, I ask if she likes Marmite, specifying a preferred answer of NO. Nicole answers YES. The level of our relationship returns to 0.

    To recover I opt to send Nicole a gift. Naang suggests that I send her an umbrella, based on weather forecasts in her area.

    Play continues.

    I pay £1 to unlock Nicole’s personal profile & activity preferences at levels 3 & 7 respectively.

    As we tend towards a real world date, discount coupons are offered for use at restaurants etc, between levels 7 & 10.

    Finally, at Level 10, I pay £1 to unlock a direct messaging function between Nicole and I, to facilitate the transfer of our relationship into the real world.


    Good luck everyone!!!

  93. This is a great post, and Chad knows his stuff.

    Things I feel could be addressed in this post.


    Monetisation beyond charging for an app

    Managing developers in case things go wrong (I blew 7k on elance building my coffee finding/review app, Wherespress).


  94. Disgusting!

    Another “Plagiarize Other Apps to Try To Make a Quick Buck” article. These make me sick. Excerpts like this are absurd: “I can’t stress the importance of emulating existing apps enough. It’s easy for people to fall in love with their own idea, even if the market doesn’t show an appetite for it. But this is one of the costliest errors you can make.”

    So let me get this straight. It’s a bad idea to be creative with original ideas? So how about those developers who made it to the top of the charts with the original idea you’re trying to copy? You know, the original idea that your desperate copy-cat app will never make more money than. Yeah, it’s way better to try to make a few bucks infringing on others IP.

    1. I understand where you’re coming from, and I hear this criticism a lot. If someone wants to take a gamble on an unproven idea, I have a lot of respect for that. The market needs risk-takers. But the market also needs people who can take proven ideas and make them better. We have a natural tendency to romanticize being original, but in reality, there are relatively few original ideas. I’m not suggesting stealing someone else’s hard work (i.e. directly ripping off their code or design, which the latter is actually what’s lead to Zynga getting so much flak from gaming developers). I’m suggesting that, in order to mitigate risk and increase your odds of succeeding, a new developer should emulate and improve upon successful ideas. This emulation strategy has been used to society’s benefit over and over and over, throughout all of human history, for literally every product you can think of. Ideas evolve and, as original as we like to think we are, the best concepts we come up with are derivations of other people’s ideas. In fact, Steve Jobs, one of America’s greatest inventors and original thinkers, was known for saying, “Good artists copy. Great artists steal.” Thomas Edison, another one of our country’s most prolific inventors, said, “Anything that won’t sell, I don’t want to invent. Its sale is proof of utility, and utility is success.” Pursuing an original idea is risky, especially when (A) no one has ever done it before, and (B) the market demand is unproven.

      Of course people can create original ideas that succeed beyond our wildest expectations. Those are the ideas that move society forward. But this post is not about how to be a groundbreaking artist who takes a lot of risks in the name of innovation; it’s about how to get started, how to succeed in the app market, and how to (hopefully) set yourself free from the rat race to work on something you love. That’s an important distinction that you seem to be missing.

      1. Another proven method for creating good ideas is to move past the “improving an existing idea” to “combining two or more existing ideas”. That is where the magic is. This follows along the line that there are no new ideas, just better combinations of ideas.

        Consider how Four Square combined gaming with checking in or how Yelp combined reviews with social. Both good combinations of existing ideas that weren’t that great by themselves.

  95. An app that simply allows you to post to all of your social media sites in one place. The main reason to use being that you could avoid the load time of Twitter, Facebook, etc and just accomplish this all in one place. I’d like it to have one blank space for posting and then check boxes for the sites you would like post to. So if you check the Twitter box, the update would have to follow the character limits guideline.

  96. Awesome post! Hope it sparks lots of innovative apps:)

    My app idea is for a personal Death Clock with a few twists:

    -it would show the effective days remaining in your life using a graphic symbol (e.g.: a circle with 4 colors representing the 4 seasons of life)

    -it also shows you the death clocks of your family and friends (e.g.: by pulling in data from their Facebook birthdays).

  97. Here’s my idea:

    A lockbox app for storing primarily pictures from your phone. Has it been done before? Yes. Can it be better? Yes.


    -Face recognition for unlocking (take picture for reference, take new picture each log in and compare with reference picture..make a funny face for more difficult log ins)

    -Password login as backup

    -Quick loading

    -copies/moves photos from Camera Roll (works like an upload pictures dialog from Facebook / Instagram, but with multiple photo selection at once)

    Thanks for the opportunity!

  98. There are some useful ideas in this post. But I think the author is giving an unrealistic picture of how easy it is to make decent money in the App market in order to sell his book. Don’t believe the hype. You will be competiting with hundreds of thousands of other apps, many of them free. The numbers show that the median earnings for a non-free App was a measly $600 per year. I know some very talented and smart iPhone app developers. They are all working long hours and none of them are making a fortune.

    >Ask the programmer to create and deliver the icon of your app

    Very few programmers have good graphic design skills (just as very few graphics designers have good programming skills).

    1. Thanks for your comment, Andy. Yes, there is a lot of hype around the app market (my intent was to get people excited in this post, and I may have gone a bit overboard). That being said, I also know a lot of very talented and smart iPhone app developers… who are earning more money than they ever thought possible. Both sides to the story are true. While the majority of developers aren’t succeeding on an extraordinary level, I would argue that – for most of them – their strategy is fundamentally flawed on some level. Having an app certainly doesn’t guarantee success. Even having a great app doesn’t mean you’ll make money! To succeed in the app store requires continual monitoring, tweaking, and improving your marketing efforts (that’s assuming you have an app that the market wants).

      I do agree with you about the majority of programmers lacking graphic design skills. But as I pointed out (which may have been unclear), this is just part of the initial testing phase to assess what they’re capable of putting together. I like to see what they can do before we commit to developing the whole app.

      In any case, thanks for adding your perspective!

      1. >To succeed in the app store requires continual monitoring, tweaking, and improving your marketing efforts (that’s assuming you have an app that the market wants).

        That has also been my experience selling Windows/Mac software. You can’t just have a good idea in the shower one morning, build it in a week and then expect the money to come pouring in. It takes a lot of time and commitment to polish the product and the marketing, and I think that doesn’t come across in this post. Anyway, I am heartened that my contrary view hasn’t been moderate out.

  99. How about a “wife detector” app that pulses and audios faster as she approaches? Invaluable to saving marriages.

  100. Think of Shazam or soundhound…got it? Great. Now think of a similar app but with the added feature that it not only tells you the name and composer of the song but it also gives you the key the track is recorded in and even the chord changes. Perfect for musicians or wanna be pop stars…

  101. Question for Tim and Chad. I don’t want to burst anyone’s bubble, I am as excited about this as anyone, but why programmers don’t use this system to get rich themselves, that’s what I’d like to know…

    If this is this easy. They wouldn’t have to take the risk of paying the money to develop an app because they can do it themselves. If I was a programmer, I would spend my living hours doing just that, web sites, apps, whatever… and I’d do like Tim and travel the world (after I quit my job).

    Tim, I read your book last year, and now work 3 days of the week from home. (I had to give in my resignation though before my boss accepted this request). So thank you for giving me just the little push I needed to go all the way! ;o)

    1. Hi Sisley- There are a lot of programmers building their own apps and making money. Coding isn’t one of my strengths, and I don’t have any desire to become an expert programmer. I wanted to focus on doing market research, coming up with new ideas, and improving my marketing. In other words, freeing up my day to do the stuff I enjoy. Coding takes a lot of time, and if that becomes your primary focus, it will typically be much harder to run and grow your app business.

  102. Hi All,

    I already delivered an application in outsourcing.

    I want to present my idea it’s pretty based on two concepts:

    – Keep It Simple …stupid!… (KISS)

    – Everybody want to have 15 minutes of fame

    So once I said this, i want to develop/outsource an application that can transform videos in an easily and cool way allowing users to share them with just one touch.

    The transformation consist into apply/concatenate to the video recorded by the user some audience reaction, for example a stadium, audience at a concert, people at parlament.

    So for example you can record your friend speaking at his birthday and then transform the video in a way that it seems that your friend is inside the parliament and all the members are insulting him….

    Or recording you while playing football and then transformate the video in a way it seems you are at the Camp Nou of Barcelona and all the audience is getting crazy for you.

    The application will use in app purchase.

    The application will be free, and just the special packets (further explained) will cost something.

    The navigation menu must be just of depth 3.

    So first navigation with a cool REC button or choose video from your library.

    Once the video is recorded or loaded from the library the second navigation menu is presented to the user, and allow him/her choosing the best package to apply to that video (or buying new package with in app purchase).

    Free package will be sport:

    – Stadium with the audience applauding

    – Stadium with the audience insulting and throwing things

    Paid Packets:

    – RockStar packet

    – Politics packet

    – Hollywood star

    Once the user choosed the package he/she can watch the video and then share it on facebook, twitter, upload on youtube etc….

  103. Hi Chad & Tim:

    Chad–Thanks so much for this great info and Tim–I appreciate you as always for posting. Here is my idea for an app: “See Me Thin!” The existing apps for visualizing weight loss–such as VirtualWeight (paid) and VirtualWeight Lite (free)–fall short of what most dieters are looking for. They are limited in model types, skin tones, hairstyles, wardrobes and ability to save information.

    My idea for an app is to emulate/create a better option by including the following: ability to link to popular weight loss apps like, loseit, etc.; ability to load measurements in addition to height and weight to create more realistic figure changes as weight decreases, and add wardrobe options and hair styles so that your weight loss model looks more like the real you.

    I think this app would be very appealing to many folks–Slow Carb dieters and others–as there is a huge weight loss market. None of the existing apps of this type in the IPhone App store average over 2 stars so I know there is room for improvement and creativity. Thank you for this opportunity to present my app idea!



  104. No more texting and driving…

    TextGoggles or EyesOnTheRoad…

    Detects when user is moving at a high rate of speed, and then slows down text input in any app.

    Users must turn this on prior to driving at some point, and cannot turn it off unless movement stops, or if the user dials 911 or another code. Parents can set this code for younger drivers who borrow their phone before going off to college, for example.

    Visual Chart of how it works:

  105. Awesome article Chad and Tim. Chad, regarding business models for your apps… do any rely only on the price of the download as the source of revenue? Or is it the in-app purchases/advertising that are the big moneymakers?

    1. I’ve used both models. It’s really easy to get people to download free apps. The next step is providing a valuable in-app purchase. Advertising and affiliate commissions can make up a significant source of revenue, but in my experience, the initial app download and in-app purchases are the biggest moneymakers.

      1. Great post Chad and Tim!

        Question: Is it better to start with developing an app for the iPhone or iPad?

        Could the code used for the iPhone app also be used for the iPad app, or does it have to be completely redesigned?

  106. Helloooo!

    Brilliant article. I’ve been inspired and so here’s my idea.

    This app targets IG users but could be used on any social networking website. Combines apps such as Framestastic, photogene2 and your own camera function to create personalized Quote Pictures with various font options including your own handwriting.

    Users will have the option to choose or leave out frames, various backgrounds and themes (including pictures from their camera roll – altered via the app or untouched). They will then be able to scroll through famous quotes or create their own. Once completed they have the option to save the Quote Pic to their Camera roll or export directly to which ever Social network they want.

    That’s it really. Thanks for reading.

  107. Hi Tim/Chad

    I’m in love with apps. Every day I check the App Store for new cool stuff. I’ve had a bunch of ideas for different apps, but this is the one I will really use myself.

    I’m tired of snoozing and oversleeping. And I’m tired of those cheesy alarm clock apps in which you have to solve puzzles or shake the phone 30 times to stop it. Not useful, you just shake your phone and back to sleep. Kid’s play.

    I’ve got a better way to GET UP EVERY MORNING and it’s called WakePal (open to suggestions hehe)

    RESEARCH > I downloaded every alarm clock app in the market. Morning Worm, iHome+sleep, WaveAlarm, BestAlarm, iHandy, Alarm Clock, Sleep Cycle Alarm clock. I’ve observed the interface, the way it works and the way they monetize it (basically, nag screens offering a NO ADS version, or new ringtones/obstacles to wake up like new puzzles).

    Besides, I’ve also downloaded and studied GymPact – I use it every week. The app locates your gym and if you don’t go X times a week (you decide which number X is), you pay a small fee. If you go, you earn a small cash reward.

    I’ve seen the UI design, process and website. It’s a great role model.

    PROBLEM > I’m kind of obsessed with getting up at the right time because it is so important – it has a great influence on the rest of my day. Still, I haven’t mastered the skill. I even have the Jawbone Up wristband to track my sleep and wake up at the best possible time, but I can’t do it. 15 minutes of oversleeping can ruin your whole day, but when you are comfy in bed, you don’t realize this. You just press snooze over and over again.

    SOLUTION > A real obstacle, that will ‘affect’ you permanently if you refuse to wake up: Money.

    WAKEPAL! > Basically, the app works like this: you set your wake up time, your stake (how much you’ll loose if you don’t wake up) and slide/press the ‘Go to bed’ button. When the alarm triggers, the music will start. You’ll have the option to snooze for 5 minutes, or stop the alarm. If you snooze, you’ll loose your stake. If you stop the alarm you must wake up, or you will sleep for hours and be late to job/school/college/anything with a schedule. (Maybe the app will need an extra feature to assure you wake up)

    *EXTRA FEATURES* You can choose your alarm music from your iTunes library, and automate the process by choosing which days you have to wake up early.

    Some images (drawings) of the app UI going through different actions:



    CONCLUSION > Fairly simple app, I believe it can be done with the $5k mark. Easy to make a MVP and then expand if successful, easy to test, and hey.. IT REALLY WORKS. Besides, its for all ages and niches (massive market), and in one of the most profitable categories of apps – utilities, like the one Chad created first.

    Bye, thanks for the opportunity and great article!



    Sory for my english, spanish is my native language.

  108. Great post! As always Tim, thanks for bringing your readers “the best of the best”.

    Contest entry:

    Field tool for creative real estate investors. This is something that is actually in the works and something we intend to launch in the next month. The app takes our two page property evaluation sheet and turns it into an app that does all the math and allows you to compare properties side-by-side. Includes check-off lists for property features, ability to catalog photos of damage directly in-app, enter financial information about the property, calculate NOI, IRR, etc. So it’s a complete property inspection checklist with financial analysis included. Allows scheduling of follow up with the owner/Realtor, tracks progress of the deal, etc.

    Again, great post. Whether you select us or not, this gives us some great tips we will use for launching our iOS app!

  109. Brilliant – thanks for sharing this!

    I’m too late for the competition as my app went live today. It’s actually my second.. Shame, I would have loved to have entered.

    Anyway, here’s the new app and I’m really excited about it

    ‘Celebrity Baby Names’

    Having recently had my first child and cringed at the thought of my wife buying a baby name book I’ve been working on a series of baby name apps. The first was Celtic Baby Names – more to follow shortly.

    Great advice, thanks for taking the time to write this and share.

  110. Here is my app idea…

    Name: ColorMe, the Color Identifier for Artists & Creative Professionals

    Function: The app allows the user to take a photo, zoom in and identify the colors in the photo by the 6 digit html color code or RGB code.

    Who wants it: A web designer who wants to know the exact shade of blue to match her logo with a background photo. The decorator who wants his wall to contrast perfectly with his ceiling trim. The clothing designer who wants to order the exact right shade of fabric for her new shirt. Any creative person who cares about colors!

    Competition: There are several other color identifier apps out there. “Color Identifier”, “Color ID Free” ($9.99?), and iColorNamer4″ are made for color blind people to identify colors. They just give the name of a color, not the color code, none of them work well and all are rated poorly.

    “ColorVisor” does identify colors by RGB and CMYK codes but it has no free version, no html color codes, and doesn’t let you zoom in.

    None of the competitors have had many downloads, judging by the volume of comments, but I think that’s because they are poorly made and not marketed well. I think I can do better!

    Why I think it will sell: Reason 1, I will use it! Reason 2, I have had several different artist/designer friends literally say, “I wish there was an app where you could just take a photo and it would give you the color code”.

    I do have a drawing/layout of what I want it to look like, but I don’t think I can paste it in the comments section.

    Great article, thanks for the useful tips and the inspiration!


  111. Thanks Tim and Chad! What an amazing post. I’ve been reading Chad’s book App Empire ( and it’s been a huge help to be as I’ve been working on building my own apps. Chad’s such an inspiration both in terms of what he’s endured physically and what he’s been able to accomplish professionally. I’m excited to keep developing and am looking forward to whatever comes next. Thanks again guys!

  112. Wonderful Article! Interesting that you wrote it just as I was designing an app!

    My Idea:

    An intelligent day planner.

    Much time is wasted each day looking over lists of things to do, thinking about what order we should do things, and generally stressing about our day.

    Much in the way GPS navigation can give you turn by turn instructions, I am creating a day planner that gives you task by task instructions. Think of a traditional calendar like a map, and ours like turned based navigation for your day.

    Main User Experience:

    1) The phone looks at the location of your first action of the day and your current location, calculates the time required to make the drive, adds to this your preferred amount of time to get ready, and calculates a time to set an alarm.

    2) Alarm goes off.

    3) Hit i’m awake button on the alarm page.

    4) The phone shows a page that says “Get Ready! you have to leave for (whatever your first appointment is) in X minutes”, and counts down.

    5) Alarm sound when time is out, stop it by pressing the “I’m leaving button”

    6) Once the button is pressed, a GPS map comes up with directions to the appointment.

    7) The phone senses your arrival via GPS or the user clicking an “I’m here button”

    8) While you are in the appointment, your phone can auto silence, or change other settings for the duration of the appointment.

    9) When you click the “I’m done” button, the phone calculates the drive time it will take to get to your next appointment from your current position, and sets an alarm to go off at the time you need to leave.

    10) Repeat from step 5 for all appointments.

    11) The last appointment of the day is always “fall asleep”, the time for which is calculated by counting back the number of prefered sleep hours from the alarm time for the next morning.

    12) repeat from step one

    13) Freedom 😉

    1. Alex Tyuluman,

      If Chad and Tim pass on your idea, shoot me an email. I’m interested.


  113. Great information! Here is an app idea that I have, which I haven’t had the time to do myself yet.

    “The Lunchenator”, which is an app that allows people to connect via the phone contacts, Facebook contacts, etc. to go and grab lunch. Each person would put in their top three cuisines that they want for lunch. Then the app uses Google Maps to locate places to eat in the area that matches their choices. You could even get driving directions. This would be very useful because individuals always have a hard time coming up with a place to eat that everyone agrees on. It would also be very useful if the individuals using the app were far apart from each other because it could find a place to eat that was located in between each person so they can meet in the middle.

    For instance, let’s say I want Italian, Mexican, or Japanese and my buddy wants American, Japanese, or Chinese. The app would choose Japanese since both people had that in their lists and then it would look for a place that is convenient for both. It would provide driving directions and display an estimated time of arrival for each person. You could even expand it to make reservations, do dinner, etc.

    I haven’t seen anything like this before and I feel it could be very useful and fun at the same time.

  114. Chad, Just picked up your book this morning, and here you are on Tim’s blog. Must be a reason =)

    This app comes from a night when i wanted to play a game of pick up ball, but all my buddies weren’t able to break away from the family. Every Gym in the area I visited had recreation leagues. I knew a game was close, but I didn’t know where.

    My App would be called Game On. This is an app that lets you post a wanted game such as a pick up game of basketball or anything really, as well as respond to other posted games around you.

    It would use the Google Maps API and allow you to post that you are either looking for or hosting a game.

    It would have an in app search feature that lets you look for those with similar interests and skill levels and invite them to play or put a game together at a future date.

    You could set privacy settings, have friends within the app, set requirements for things like skill level, and even incorporate social gaming aspects like awards and badges etc.

    You could use the phone to engage in real time games against other players and comparing stats.

    A secondary function of the app, is the ability of athletes to have social profiles where they can post up their stats, game film etc. for the purpose of getting the attention of recruiting teams for getting scholarship offers.

  115. Hi Tim,

    Great article. Is there anyway that we can submit our ideas off this chain of comments? Do you have an email address/or private comment box that we can use to submit our ideas?



  116. Contest Entry: Bar Code Scanner linked to Amazon One-Click.

    The app would use the camera to take a photo of a bar code, process the image to determine the UPC code, look up the UPC code up on Amazon, and display The Amazon product page (with Associate tag). After that the user would be able to one-click to buy or add it to the cart just like normal. Simple, easy.

    The key would be marketing this as something to use in your daily life as needed. Almost our of baby diapers? Snap a photo of the bar code, one-click to buy, and more are on their way. Eating the last of the oatmeal or cereal? Snap a photo, one-click. Not much laundry detergent left? Snap and click.

    Since Amazon Prime was introduced (free shipping) you don’t really need to worry about paying too much multiple shipments. So why not eliminate extra trips to the grocery store or mall by buying through your phone. Especially handy for new mothers, single moms, busy students, and anyone who has trouble remembering what was on the shopping list.

    Similar applications already exist (including one made by Amazon), but I don’t know anyone who uses them. That tells me they aren’t being marketed correctly.

    Thanks Tim and Chad, another great post!

  117. Today I submitted an Idea with my team at the class.

    We got handed out an idea marked as “worst idea” and given the challenge to make a good commercial of it.

    Check it out at:

    To find the best possible housing solution has always been a challenge with tons of providers to search through.

    Finding the right house is one of life’s biggest investment decisions and we spend so much time on thinking and finding the best house. One has to approach newspapers, real estate agents, banks or websites to search for the best solution.

    Houseopedia for the iPhone solves your challenges on the go, giving you a all-in-one app for purchasing and renting out real estate. Helping you optimise your searching, by putting it all in an easy to use app.

    -Find available houses for sale/rent by searching in your City or chosen areas.

    -We get daily / hourly updates from over 1500+ real estate brokers, newspapers and personal sell/rent ads submitted via the app or on our website.

    -Subscribe to houses that become listed in your chosen favourite areas. You can set up your own preferences.

    -Sell or rent out your house in 1-2-3. Write a short summary and add price, snap some photos with your phone, publish.

    We actually did not have an idea to commercialize this since it was an assignment to make the best out of what somebody called a bad idea.

    its cool to put it out here to get some feedback.


  118. I love iOS and the possibilities it opens for developers and thinkers alike. This article is perfect and hopefully opens new doors for many people. I am not a developer, but rather one of the thinkers, and here’s what I think…


    Evo is a new game (with a new twist) on the old “eat to grow” games. Based in outer space, the player controls a planet by tilting their iOS device to navigate the final frontier. In navigating there are many sights to be seen ranging from asteroids, planets, stars, even entire galaxies. As the planet, the player must collide themselves with smaller entities to grow in the universe (very similar to spore or the many flash eat or be eaten games). Beautiful graphics + an interactive soundtrack + intuitive touch less interface = a new beginning for this type of game.

    Also introduced (never before seen in these games to my knowledge) is the leader board! Seamlessly integrated with open feint and game center, evo calculates a score based on speed of play and size of player to make for a game that allows a 20 minute sitting or a 2 minute dash.

    Play for five, fight to strive.


    For more details (sketches, explanations, ideas, etc) visit

  119. Contest Entry;

    App is called

    My Two Cents

    It is similar to ChaCha but improves on all of its short comings and expands on its strengths.

    Key features.


    No Ads. Ever.

    Simple GUI

    Locale Function

    Guru Rating System

    You choose the Guru


    Rotatable on the Ipad/iphone

    QA database

    Residual Income able

    Profit Model

    1 QPoint = 5 cents

    Simple Question costs 1 QPoint

    Complex Question Costs 10 QPoints

    Pays you

    1 cent per question answered no matter what

    2 cents if answered satisfactorily

    25/35 cents respectively for Complex questions


    Free to submit to gallery (at least 10 pix must be sent), Free to Share low res pix, 1 QPoint to download Hi Res images on device.

    Here is the link to the video explaining it in more detail with visual concepts of the GUI.

    let me know what you guys think

  120. My app is based on the Wunderlist task app. It’s basically a to do list. The problem with their app is that it doesn’t support re-spawning tasks so you have to manually input tasks that you do every day. My app would solve this market deficiency and completely focus on re-spawning/reoccurring tasks. This idea is validated because there are numerous posts on their support forum asking for this feature but they have failed to deliver. Here is a very crude rough draft of what the app would look like.

  121. Another incredible post and you have to give big props to Chad for his willingness to share all this awesome content for free.

    If you’re seriously interested in making apps then I would HIGHLY recommend you immediately pick up a copy of App Empire by Chad.

    It’s way more in depth and I also found his inspirational chapters to be very motivating to get your butt in gear. Let’s create something!

  122. Great article!!

    I have started to learn iOS coding for my own engineering and business apps since I got the impression through research that the coding costs would be out of my reach, but maybe (probably) I’m wrong!!

    Anyone, for the contest, here is my app concept and a link to the full spec on Google Docs:


    In some industries (including manufacturing, mining, construction and vehicle fleet management), a management of physical assets is a significant part of the business in terms of cost and impact on revenue.

    Management of assets like manufacturing plant, mining machines, construction equipment, buses, trucks and other vehicles involves assessing the condition of the equipment to decide whether any repairs or maintenance is required.

    In some plants and on some pieces of equipment, there are on-board technologies such as sensors and telemetry that sends equipment condition to a central location. Sensors generally measure physical properties such as temperature and pressure. However, in almost all industries, this is only part of the process required for managing physical assets.

    Virtually all capital-intensive equipment benefits from inspections of some nature to assess the condition of the equipment. Visual inspections help to locate conditions such as rust, cracks, leaks, accident damage and other physical degradation that is not measured in any way by a remote sensor. Degradation can eventually result in the breakdown of the asset when it is least expected, and therefore results in a financial impact to the business (lost revenue from the “out-of-service” asset, and costs to repair the asset).

    Visual inspections require an “inspector” to conduct the “inspection”, and some form of “recording” any “defects” that are found during the inspection. Sophistication of the “recording” can vary from a scrap of paper or a paper “defect recording form” that needs to be completed, through to a hardened tablet computer that guides the input and transmission of the defect to a central database.

    The “recording” of a defect requires that the inspector translate, into words, the visual condition of the asset. Generally this information is used by other maintenance professionals (who may not be the inspector) to determine the “complaint”, the “cause” and any remedial “correction” action.

    Smartphones are routinely used to photograph the condition of the asset (“picture tells a thousand words”) to help others in the organisation understand the “context” around the written words. In reality, photographs generally provide sufficient and “better” context to the description of the complaint than any expanded text will provide. This is due to the various ways the same defect can be described with written words.

    As a result, an opportunity to develop an iPhone application to facilitate visual inspections of physical assets is evident. A suitable application to perform this dedicated function could not be located in the App Store as of 30 March 2012.

    This application would perform the following functions:

    1. Record the details of the particular plant under investigation

    2. Time and date stamp the report

    3. Record the location of the inspector

    4. Create individual records of defects within the report that are located by the inspector:

    a. Generate a defect record identification reference number

    b. Select a general location of the defect on the plant (top, bottom, left right etc)

    c. Select or enter a defect “type” (cracked, rusty, leaking etc)

    d. Capture a photograph/s of the defect

    5. Repeat step 4 as many times as required for the plant under inspection

    6. Generate a report with the above data ready for off-board transmission

    7. Permit off-board transmission of the report from the device to other locations

    This application idea suits the iPhone platform better than iPad as the iPad must be carried in the hands or in a bag, rather than stored in a pocket. This is a consideration as large physical assets require the inspector to climb ladders or staircases to access the plant. The requirement to carry a device (which is no different to a clipboard) impacts the inspector’s ability to safety navigate the plant.


  123. I call my app “SketchBox.”

    SketchBox is a simple drawing app that allows you to upload your creations to several social media sites (or all of them!) at the push of a button.

    Apps like Draw Anything are wildly successful (50 million downloads in 50 days). We know that over %50 of tweets and %40 of Facebook updates are done via mobile devices. This app will satisfy artists and people looking to communicate visual information quickly and easily.

    Click the link to see a mock-up –> [IMG][/IMG]

  124. Holy spimolee! Kick-ass article Chad. This is a such a great guide to start any iphone app venture. Thanks to you for sharing such detail! And thanks to Tim for posting this up! And as for those wondering if their idea will get “stolen” by posting it on here…remember that what you think and say manifest. So instead of thinking about lack, think abundance, and share your ideas. With an abundance mentality, you can only prosper. Great luck to everyone entering the contest!

  125. Hi Tim,

    Thanks for giving us a great post. You have shared with us a great topic and introduced us to a great entrepreneur. I usually don’t post comments and usually passively take in the information you provide but this time I had to comment.



    Thank you for sharing a great deal on how you do your work. I am always happy to see someone come up from being at the lowest point and end up high up.

    iPhone Game Idea – Madd Clouds


    Madd Clouds is a simple, addicting and enjoyable concentration game. The player has to maneuver Smiley the Sun through the Madd Clouds with out hitting them or touching the borders. The clouds will be randomly moving and bouncing around the screen. As time progresses in the game, more Madd Clouds will appear, additionally, the speed of the Madd Clouds will increase with time.

    Here is a very quick ms paint mock up of the game screen

    Also, I decided to go all out and make a more detailed design



  126. What if someone steals an idea off these comments, isn’t there a special contest Email address we can send our ideas to? Remember step 6: NDA right?


    Create Mobile App for free.

    You can make veriety apps such as e-Book, Multi-media Album, Photo essay, Video player.

    It supports Android and iPhone. Yo can also preview your app in real-time, and it’s free!

  128. Hey Chad – great inspiring stuff. The first step is always the hardest, and you’ve convinced me to give it a go. So….

    ** Look More Professional, and Save Yourself Hundreds of $$ Each Month **

    Prominently displaying a phone number on your website will substantially increase conversions. But displaying a mobile number makes you look like a one-man show. So how do you retain your globe trotting lifestyle, running your one-man business, looking pro, while keeping the costs down?

    Introducing the iCallU Button.

    Customers can click a button on your website, and you’ll be instantly notified on your smart phone to call them back!

    The big benefit here is that many serious mobile business/lifestyles operators have an unlimited phone plan – which you can get in Australia for about $100 / month. Using a 1300/1800 number (up to $30 / month) then paying the redirection fees per call, can add up to some hundreds of dollars each month very quickly. (I know this from experience!!)

    If you were calling them, instead of them calling you, you’ll save ALL of the costs of the hosted/redirected line. This immediately adds to your bottom line.

    Add to that the fact that most customers are using mobiles instead of landlines, they get charged more for calling landlines than mobiles, and get charged for calling “toll free / fixed rate” numbers anyway, and you’ll see the huge benefit for your customers too So they’re even more likely to talk to you, resulting in more conversions than ever before!

    And a final benefit for the customer is that they never have to hold. You’ll only call them back as soon as you’re available to talk to them, so they won’t get frustrated listening to “how important their call is to you”.

    Mockup of basic design is here:

    General interface should be in a similar style to the built-in phone system of iOS / Android, but use a different colour so it is obviously different (so users don’t get confused if they are using the normal phone, or the iCallU app). Interface only needs to be very simple.

    Handy functionality would be to log calls – whether you’ve returned the call, whether you’ve attempted to return call etc. Also online account management required, to see list of all calls and their statuses. Would be good to have some time based rules – e.g. only active call backs 8am-5pm Mon-Fri etc. If the system could send you a repeat notification for calls you haven’t actioned after a set period – this would be useful (maybe premium).

    Potential residual income from premium version that connects calls, international use with low rates for travellers, multi-answer points, SMS notification for use in non-3G locations, recording of call and archiving for future reference, and more.

    I’d use it. 4 friends with online businesses I just rang this afternoon would use it. I actually really need this…..

    Loving your work.



  129. Incredible article. I’ve done a little freelancing on the issue myself, and have been considering getting into it as a real business. Thanks for showing me the business side of everything.

  130. Thanks Tim for finding the best guests to contribute to your blog

    Chad, this was a great post. As a side note I wanted to let you know that I recently bought your book and I had a few questions to ask your support staff. They provide great service.

    Wow….there are a lot of great ideas here.

    I realised recently that getting rid of some of my self-limiting inner blocks are crucial to having a consistent app business. This is something I have been working on too.

    In the past I would be trying really hard to come up with new and original ideas. Only to be disappointed when I found they already existed. I finally realised that there is no need to re-invent the wheel to be successful.

    As the CEO of Zynga said recently, “It’s not about being first to the market, it’s about being the best to market.”

    Keeping that in mind, my app idea is in the game market.


    Because if you browse the ITunes App store you will quickly realise that games generally have the most downloads. People want an escape. They want to be entertained. Games provide that for long stretches at a time.

    In fact, that’s the only category that already has sub-category’s laid out for us.

    Plus you need only to look in the top paid and free apps sections to see the number of games present.

    Having said that, the game that I want to create is an “endless” type of game.

    This is the type of game that just keeps going and where your main aim is to get the highest score.

    Like the game Doodle Jump.

    There are no levels, like you find in Angry Birds. Creating new levels becomes expensive.

    “Endless” games are much cheaper to make.

    One of the hottest “endless” games out there right now is Temple Run by Imangi Studios.

    Its very addictive….most of my friends play it.

    It has been downloaded more than 40 million times.

    I want to develop a game very similar to Temple Run but with a space theme. The backdrop will be the star filled galaxy. The main character (wearing a space suit) will run from aliens as he/she collects space valuables.

    As you progress, the character will even have the option to temporarily ride a fast gliding hover board (just like the ones in Back to the Future!)

    The aim is to keep running for as long as you can which keeps increasing your score, while collecting points and avoiding booby traps and avoiding plunging into space.

    Should there be any need for additional funding, I will contribute to the 5k investment.

    In fact, I will go and get a quote from freelancers on right now to find out how much it was will cost.

    Picture this…but in space:


    1. Andy – it’s good to get some reality into the mix. I guess what you are saying is you need a little ‘hype’ to make it into some decent numbers.

      …and i guess that is why entering this competition might get you that…look forward to seeing your entry 🙂

      1. Jono,

        The thought of writing software where: $0.99 is considered expensive, I can’t charge for upgrades and the payment processor keeps 30% just isn’t attractive. I develop and sell a successful niche product to Windows and Mac users. I charge $30-300 per licence, charge for major upgrades and pay approx 5% to the payment processor.

        NB/ I’m not saying that no-one should write Apps for the App store. Just that you should be realistic about your chance of making a decent return on your inestment, especially if you are having to pay someone else to do the programming.

    2. Andy – you make a very good point that far too many on this list will obviously be blind to. It’s eerily similar to the restaurant business. Everybody thinks they can do it because they have been to hundreds of restaurants and they know what they like and don’t like about their usual hangouts. Few have the drive to do the dirty work and fewer still will have the luck that it takes to avoid some unforeseen catastrophes. Tim does a nice service here, but by only promoting the top 0.01% of success cases he paints a severely distorted picture.

  131. Hi there! This was an excellent read, very interesting and informative and certainly motivating.

    I would like to take part in the contest and here is my entry:


    An app that combines the exploding market of photography with the (almost) guilty pleasure of meme-making. Put meme-like captions on your own photos and share them with everyone.

    There are apps that generate memes and there are apps that do beautiful things with photographs (one only has to look at the amazing price was bought at, a cool billion dollars). So why not bring the two together? Legend is an easy-to-use, lightweight app that lets you put meme-like captions on your own photos and helps you share them over a variety of media (Facebook, Twitter, email, mms etc.)

    It will be based on the freemium model. The free version will only have the classic all-caps meme font but no other restrctions, whereas the paid version will also have lower-case letters, more fonts, more colours and more options of text placement.

    Here is a mock-up of the free version

  132. Tim: Awesome, and timely as usual.

    Chad: I cannot tell you how unbelievably useful this information is, as I’ve been developing an idea for an app with a few friends for a while now, and I am on the cusp of trying to get it programmed, as in, this week. Thank you so much for your brilliant advice.

  133. Name of App: Analyze the compatibility your relationship Silently,

    Description: This app will help the individuals to find out the life partners according to their own ideals. At start, 10 questions of multiple choice (4 choices for each) will be asked about the dream partner you want.

    Then, based on the analysis of different combinations of answers, you will be asked to note different habits and behaviors of his life mate silently. if these habits and behaviors are according to the psychology of the one’s ideal, then one can go ahead and take him/her as life partner otherwise, a caution will be given about the quality relationship in future.

  134. Hi,

    The timing that you put this post up is so uncanny! I took a step of faith into the app world a couple of weeks back and I’m still looking for results.

    I have this great idea but my funds are short. I’m currently building cheaper ones, hoping that one day, they’ll provide revenue for bigger projects.

    This idea came about because I live in a city and transportation never gets any cheaper, better or more efficient. Cost of living usually spikes partly due to transportation. Then, it hit me.

    Why not, build a an app that connects the common drivers (eg. people with personal cars) and service providers (eg. cab drivers) to commuters? Think about it as something like hitch-hiking. The app will be a platform where commuters who are travelling in the same direction as other drivers (with empty seats) can hitch a ride at a lower cost compared to those service providers.

    For example, I want to travel from point A to B. It costs me $7 on a cab. But with the app, it costs me $3 to hitch a ride on a random guy travelling the same way, from A to B. It is a win-win. The driver earns some cash just for picking up me, a random stranger, and I get a huge discount!

    What I propose is an app format that is as user friendly as possible.

    The commuter/driver has to sign up with their real name, contact number and IC Number. Upon signing up, there will only be 2 tabs, commuter or driver.

    Picking “commuter” will allow the user to tap a button that sends information about the “commuter”, which includes his destination, to drivers in a 1km radius. The first driver that accepts the “job” can pick up the commuter with the commuter’s acceptance.

    To put it another way, it will be the first social app about transport. How awesome is that?! I’m really psyched about this idea but I need cash to make it happen. I’m really open to honest criticisms too. It’s only with failure that we can grow 🙂

    1. Love this idea, good luck with it & don’t sweat the production costs, plenty of ways to make this happen, just believe in yourself. Might be nice to have an eBay style rating on both parties for safety sake. Royce

  135. My App suggestion is a challenge/bet app.

    Name maybe: I bet ya!

    The concept:-

    You challenge or bet a friend they won’t or can’t do something.

    e.g. I bet you won’t lose 2 stone by Christmas (like the 4 hour body connection).


    Challenges could go out to groups or globally to accept.

    There could be a payment option (maybe link in with paypal).

    e.g. you bet a friend $50 they can’t lose 2 stone by Christmas.


    A global challenge could be $50 to the first person that does something or the first 10 people or just the first to accept the challenge.

    Other points:-

    1.Description of challenge and criteria.

    2.Payment or reward for meeting challenge.

    3.Open challenge or to someone specific.

    4.Time frame for a challenge/bet.

    5.Reminders could be set to remind a challenger and an acceptor of a challenge in progress.

    6.Pictures or videos of the challenge or result could be added.

    7.Option to list/serach for challenges to undertake.

    8.A mechanism to agree if a challenge was met or not (this could involve a 3rd party).



  136. Great article. Here’s my idea: SignPost – an augmented reality Twitter-like app. Using the phone’s GPS and a Layar-like platform, you can post messages or photos at specific places. Others using the app can see your posts at that spot through the phone’s camera. You can choose to view all SignPosts, or only those of your friends. You can also choose to “friend” authors of posts you see and like. Voila.

  137. Hey guys,

    First of all, I must say that was a great read. Especially so because I’m in the midst of trying to get my app done up!

    I know you’ll have a ton of comments to wade through, so I will try to be concise:

    >> PEEK – Peek into another world

    Take a glimpse into the world of someone across the globe. For a period of 24 hours, PEEK will pair you up with someone somewhere else in the world.

    In that time span, you can send photos (with captions) and receive them – you can be looking at real-time photos of Paris, Maldives, Singapore, Tokyo, Cambodia, and even places you’ve never heard of! After 24 hours, you’ll be then paired up with someone else somewhere else, and the mini-journey begins again.

    – – –

    >> Pricing & Marketing Strategy

    1. We will methodically select 100 users across the world as beta users. This is to ensure a good quality pool of locations and content exchange – which in a social app is extremely vital

    2. Release the app free with a 3-day trial, after which, the user will have to pay to continue using the app

    3. Charge a slightly higher price (e.g. $2.99) to weed out trollers or users who bring no value to the table

    – – –

    >> Why You Should Pick Me

    1. The entire app has been completely designed (you can preview the design here: A rough guide for programming has also been done up.

    2. I’m a freelance graphic designer (, so the design is fantastic!

    3. This is a photo-sharing social app; which is the best time to have launched, riding off the coattails of the Instagram acquisition fuss, as well as the buzz surrounding Pair and Path

    4. I’ve a fairly strong understanding of the app world and human psychology, which is seen in the app (basic functionality first, bells and whistles come later; pre-emptive measures to ward off trolls; but most importantly: creating a terrific user experience)

    5. I’m a little bit broke because I’m traveling the world and am bootstrapping a few projects on my own! 🙂

    – – –

    >> Why You Should Pick Me II: About Me

    1. I’m really good at what I do

    2. I am shamelessly promoting myself to try to win this

    3. I’m 21, a nomad, and my own boss

    4. I’m a good person, and hopefully also somewhat amusing

    5. I was in a helicopter about 5 days ago (cause that’s how I roll)

    6. I value the chance for a chat more than the cash

    7. I made the effort to detail out you why you should pick me and my (pretty awesome) idea

    8. My passion overrides my attempt to be concise!

    – – –

    Hoping to hear back from you guys. 🙂



    1. Brilliant Idea! – I hope you manage to get this developed.

      Great way of meeting new people too.

      All the best and keep the inspirations alive.

  138. This is a great summary of some of the best app creation advice out there. Still a marketplace where much money can be made. I’d also strongly advocate the use of an email list pre-launch to gather contact details of those interested in your app and then once you hit the launch, email your list and that will give you a big initial boost to downloads that really helps with getting your app up the rankings and improves your chances of being featured by Apple. Services such as Launch Effect App and Launch Rock are perfect for achieving this and spreading word of mouth.

    I also run a course on how to create and launch highly successful apps.

  139. <<>>> App Idea

    Pretty basic, I’m not going to lie. Everyone know’s what a tally mark is right? A simple mark designed to keep track of something. You mark off four, then you do one diagonally for five, then move onto the next block of five.

    That’s essentially what I’d like to create.

    The user would download the app. They would then create a “board” and title it whatever they are keep track of, say girls I’ve slept with or number of times they curse in this movie. Users can have multiple boards to keep track of whatever they want.

    Then once the board has been created/selected. The user would just run their fingers down the screen of the iphone to make a tally mark.

    The app would register the finger slide as a tally, geostamp it with time/date/location information and place the tally on the board. At a glance the user could see how many tally’s they’ve made in total on that board.

    Optional, the boards could be designed in themes i.e a bedpost, chalkboard, belt etc….

    I know it’s simple, but sometimes simple is the way to go.

    Name of the app: Tally or Notch

    Loved the article, good luck to everyone!

  140. More apps need to utilize the iOS gyroscopic function.

    I took a few years off since I programmed 3D apps (have a 2 year old and 4 months old) but now I’m going to start creating 3D apps again since ipad gyro works quite well and many people have them.

    My current idea is to create some kind of tunnel game in which you have to keep turning and twisting your body around to navigate through it.

    Vaguely speaking it’s similar in concept to something like

    with the control like

    Depending on funding and/or success. This could evolve into a dance dance revolution type of game to help you work out.

    I think people enjoy holding the device like it is a window into a virtual world. Touching and swiping the screen then seeing on screen effects gives added satisfaction. Wish me luck !

    I published some early concepts using unity3d at my worldlearningtree blog but I won’t link to it here.

  141. Love the post, I’ve always wanted to start making apps but putting it off because I thought you had to have a certain level of programming knowledge before starting.

    Here’s my app idea based on combining two app concepts that I’ve been looking at. I’m very into personal tracking and logging but so far apps that I’ve come across are either too bloated or to tedious to use on a daily basis.

    Txt Track: Uses two concepts- the todo.txt concept and personal tracking for a simple fuss-free personal tracking app. The todo.txt philosophy aims at simple todo list using a simple .txt file. Using simplicity as a principle, Txt Track will be an app that allows the user to track anything (i.e. diet, exercise, errands) using simple lines of text. In the conceptualization, I also looked at Tap Log, an android-only app that focused on a fuss-free personal logging experience simply through tapping the different categories.

    With Txt Track, there are three levels of categories namely the topline, the subline/s and the root. The topline will be the first page of categories that the user will always see when entering the app. These are usually the broad categories that a user can personally enter namely food, exercise, sleep, tasks etc. The subline/s will be categories that a user enters in each of the broad categories. For example, under food, a user can create sub-categories like snacks, lunch, dinner. The user can continue making sub-categories within sub-categories. The root wil be the final page where the user will be required to input the data that the user wishes to track. At the root, the user can input a timestamp (date and time), quantity (numerical value), check (a checkbox to indicate if a certain task or goal was ahieved or not) and details (text description).

    Further to this, Txt Track has two view modes: category and daily. The category view allows the user to set the frontpage of Txt Track to view the topline(main categories). The user then inputs data by clicking on the respective categories.

    The daily view instead sets the frontpage to display all the root categories in an ordered list. In this way, the user can have a full view of what are the items being tracked each day.

    The final thing about Txt Track is that the data being tracked will sync with a track.txt file in your dropbox, where the daily inputs are constantly being updated in the track.txt file. The track.txt is a sort of master log file that the user can use as reference.

    Txt Track is a simple, text-only, no-frills and fuss-free personal tracking app. It’s for productivity users who just want a simple tracking app without the bloat.

  142. Hi!

    If anyone is interested in doing something like a “Beginner App Master Mind” group, I’d love to hear from you (feyyaz {at} hackingfresh {dot} com).

    I figured it could be difficult for beginners to find the right answers to difficult questions and maybe we can help each other out! 🙂


    P.S.: Chad – bought the book after I read the article, read it from cover to cover, awesome read.

    P.P.S.: Tim – Thanks for bringing Chad on!

  143. My app idea for contest submission:

    The Ultimate Insulter: This would be an entertaining app that would be chocked full of fun and funny insults both vocalized and text. These could be stored as ring/notification tones or sent to your friends (or enemies). Insults within the app would be searchable by both category and “similar to”. You would also be able to rate insults making it easier to recall past favorites. An “insult of the day” would also be available.

  144. Great article – it’s been said by everyone already.

    Here’s my idea:

    Temple Israel Run

    This will be a parody of Temple Run, but the main character is a Bar Mitzvah boy trying to escape from Temple. He will be pursued by his Mother and Aunts, and he’ll need to avoid obstacles such as the Rabbi, Cantor, 13 year old girls, and hurdling Kiddush tables. If you’re not careful, you might fall into a river of Shirley Temples.

    There’s a lot of kitsch opportunity, and if we act fast we can still benefit from the hype of Temple Run. So many people have suffered through Bar Mitzvah’s (both Jews and non-Jews) that it will have appeal. The app will cost $0.99, and there will also be in-app purchases like the real Temple Run.

  145. Great article, very well made…THANK YOU CHAD!

    I just started working for a company, social marketing pays, that creates customized app for restaurants and small business, and your article arrived just at the right time to inspire me.

    and thank you Tim for posting it!

  146. Thank you so much Chad and Tim for sharing this information!!!!! I am one of those persons who has had many ideas for apps, even prior to the invention of the apps world and now have a forum to use these ideas. I am so excited about growing an app empire!

    I have already started the initial process and have gone through for guidance to become a successful Apple app developer. Since I am doing this alone and really not a developer, programmer, etc. (Just an idea person) I have been hesitant at times thinking I don’t know enough or I’m not tech savvy enough. Could you please give me your opinion of

    Also, how do I get past the fear of my ideas being stolen? I find it paralyzing at times and now I am stuck. I am afraid of moving foward. I trust no one. Help!

    Thanks for whatever advise you may offer.

  147. My App:

    Fit Deck

    Skeuomorphic deck of playing cards with various body weight exercises on them.

    Choose work out length and difficulty you will be dealt a semi randomized hand of exercises. Users will touch to begin timer begin performing the exercise. A tone will indicate that the rest period has begun and users will input their # of reps. And be shown the next card until the routine has completed. Achievements will be available for using the app consistently, progressing, and for particular feats (100 in one session, 1000 total squats). Charts and progress trackers will be available as a fremium upgrade.

  148. Mobile App Idea:

    The Posterizer

    With the tap of a button, this app converts your digital photos into printable large format posters.

    How does it work?

    The app dices up the original image into smaller pieces and then blows each diced image up into a standard 8.5 X 11 .PDF page that is conveniently mailed to your inbox and ready for printing from a standard inkjet or laser printer.

    Works well with Instagram and every other photography app.

    Can anyone say inkjet cartridge affiliate marketing?

  149. Great article, thanks for sharing Tim. I also watched Chad’s interview on Mixergy.

    Here’s an idea a buddy of mine and I thought about. A purely location based app; like a break-the-ice type of service. Imagine you’re in a bar or any type of social setting (even a subway station) and it shows the app users who are in the vicinity. Then you ‘buzz’ or ‘beep’ the profiles you’re interested, and if they accept then it’s an instant interaction or even a date.

    Users can log into via Facebook so they don’t have to create a separate profile. I know okcupid has their own app that shows who is in the vicinity, but it’s not as efficient. This app can be a an added feature to dating sites or Facebook.

    Problem it solves: guys who are shy to make the first move. I live in San Francisco so I know first hand how hard dating or even meeting new people can be.

    A name could be the “Bip bip app” (beep beep was taken).



  150. An app that let’s you dial numbers on a rotary dial. The rotary appears on the screen with the numbers, you place your finger on the number you want to dial and have to hold your finger on the screen while you rotate it. When you lift your finger off the screen the rotary returns to starting position.

  151. My idea is called HeyNeighbor. It is a social database of “borrowables” that you and your friends and neighbors are willing to loan to each other (tools, books, etc.). Because, really – you use a basin wrench maybe three times in your life. Why should your buddy buy one when he can borrow the one collecting dust in your garage? Seed spreader, contractor saw, compressor, that old copy of Gravity’s Rainbow from college…

    The DB could be organized by category, and would be searchable. You invite people in, they contribute their lists (initially online, most likely – Excel upload?) and update inventory as necessary. Records check-in/check-out, displays current “holder” of a given item.

  152. As a fighter and fitness coach i realised that for weight loss,the most common diet error is that the people don’t stick to new habits on a long term.

    I developed for them a small piece of paper,with certain daily tasks which they have to perform like drinking enough water or eat a certain amount of vegetables.

    For every day with all tasks completet they receive one point.

    After a certain time frame(mostly 1-2 month), if gained enough points they receive their price,like buying themselves a certain item they wanted or taking a trip somewhere.

    With a price in mind,they think twice about their choices.Also if they have the results of their actions on a piece of paper(app) infront of them,they see if and why they failed before.

    As for the interface,a calender like view would be perfect,with each days tasks and every week a main goal.

    I already made a small word document that i can send you.

    Also the reason is that there is a huge market of fitness,but recently they concentrate only on short term succes instead of creating long lasting and especialy proven methods for creating habits.

  153. Awesome article Chad & Tim, thank you for going into so much detail about the app development process.

    As for my idea:


    With today’s rising gas prices miles per gallon is a particularly important features in new cars today. One of the crucial elements to maintaining high MPG’s is driving at a constant speed.

    The App:

    This app will use your iPhone’s accelerometer to keep track of how much you accelerate and turn it into a game. You accrue points for driving smoothly at a constant speed. This leads to improved gas mileage and saving money.

    How to use:

    1) Have the app running in the background while you drive and check your score afterwards.

    2) If you have a dashboard mount, put your phone up and keep an eye on the large easy to read indicator which turns from green, when you are driving at smooth speed, to red when you are accelerating too much.

    The Game:

    – The app will log your score so you can try and beat it the next day! Save money and turn your boring morning commute into a game!

    – Increasing levels of complexity. Level up if you constantly improve over 5 days. Once your progress plateaus, the added element of commute time can be a new challenge.

    This app will appeal to anyone trying to save money and improve their weekday commute!

  154. I’m an Executive Assistant and I would love this app. . .

    Executive Assistant App with 2 versions.. . .

    A good assistant knows virtually everything there is to know about their boss including, but not limited to, family birthdays, anniversaries, corporate credit card numbers, frequent travel numbers and favorite airlines, favorite coffee order, favorite foods, restaurants, travel locations, doctor’s contact details (you would be surprised by how many doctors I have to keep track of and have contact with), passwords to various accounts such as linkedin, twitter, etc., personal advisor details-investments, accountants, etc. The list goes on.

    When I started this job last May, it would have been more useful if I had a database that contained all of this information rather than having to waste time asking my boss for the details when it was needed. I would like to create an app that has two versions: a free version for the boss to use solely with just the essential information (top 10 main contacts, frequent traveler details, restaurants, birthdays, anniversaries) in order to help them stay organized and then a pay version that would be a password protected assistant accessible app which the password can be changed only by the boss (just in case the assistant leaves). The boss can choose from a pick list which categories he/she would like to keep private or make public from his assistant and/or personally utilize. This will serve a few use cases:

    1. I, the assistant, working from home and the boss is travelling, need access to details in a quick fashion but am not at my pc, so I can just quickly pull up the app, choose the category containing the information and access it.

    2. It’s the evening and I need to book a last minute flight; having his favorite airlines and frequent traveler numbers handy makes booking a snap, not having to logon to my pc, and I look good for adding all of the appropriate travel numbers for him to accumulate points.

    3. Anniversaries and birthdays-a reminder/alarm pops up to remind them the big day is approaching so they don’t upset the wife and so the assistant can remind them.

    4. The boss can use the app to keep all of his important details for quick reference at his fingertips

    The categories will include a call button and map/directions where relevant, i.e. restaurants, hotels, main personal contacts, etc. The app should only be opened with a 4 digit passcode just in case the phones are stolen or lost.

    In the end, this app will reduce ramp up time for new admins, allow admins to be more effective especially during off hours or when not immediately near their PC, and reduce time for the boss to look up pertinent information, just to name a few.

    Research-I tried to find an app of similar nature having two versions of the same app, user and user’s assistant, and I was unable to find it. Sure there are several types of travel apps, finance apps, etc. but not one that has all of these categories in one. The app could/should possibly link to a website to allow easy entry of information by the boss, basically creating an account that synchs over the cloud.

    Mock ups are currently being drawn up.

    Thanks for considering!

  155. I’m game (all puns intended)! Here is my idea:

    Attack of the Killer Garden Gnomes: This app pits righteous looking garden gnomes (intro splash screen features your choice of attire and gnome color, with primary colors featured) against vicious garden gophers with 2x disproportionately sized teeth. The player chooses his or her gnome, and then does battle with (and earns points by) defeating gophers using garden tools left out by careless humans. The more points you earn, the better the tools you can use – starting with a trowel and ending up with a John Deere to mow the little suckers down with.

    Tools include: garden trowel, rake, hoe, shovel, lawnmower, gopher death spikes, pipe bombs (OK, so its not a garden tool, call it artistic license!) for the gopher holes, tractors, tractors with combines, and air planes with anti-gopher crop dusters.

    The gardens are simple, but growing to add interest (similar to the multicolored fruits in Fruit Ninja). Each should be simple to make games fast paced and easy to learn. When a gopher dies, its little feet stick straight up in the air and its eyes turn to xxs, while points show on the left side of the screen.

    When a gnome earns more points, it gets taller and gets a large “gnome hat”.

    For research, I looked at Time’s top apps of 2011 and spent time on the App Store on my phone. I also looked at the games I play, and what I like and dislike about them. Next, I looked at what my teenaged daughter plays and why.

    As a bonus, maybe we could even get Bill Murray to let us use his image for the splash screen that comes up when the gopher is being nuked.

    If I get more time, I will try and add some drawings. Much of this is in my head right now.

  156. My idea is for a self development app. Most out there seem to be along the lines of affirmations and inspiring phrases. My idea is something more interactive, which helps people to work on what they are thinking about today.

  157. I am currently an MD/PhD student at the University of Southern California and am involved with exercise physiology research. I have worked with the USC Body Computing Center on social media, technology, entertainment, and its intersection in health and am also writing for ScriptPhD. I have been fascinated with the idea of apps and technology and want to really develop tools that can be used like Nike Run+ apps, etc. One quick idea I had was an unlock app that can only be triggered by performing set requirements for physical activity. I.E. the phone must somehow acknowledge walking for 15 min, doing 10 pushups, etc. Then the phone can be unlocked for a certain amount of time before the requirements must be done again. I think it’s a great way to have people integrated with the program and something they use everyday– and probably every hour. I think smartphones already have this capability built in and the programming should not be that hard. I would love to hear any comments or suggestions on ways to make this a reality!



  158. Thanks Chad and Tim! Great post and contest. I would LOVE to develop an App for the wine industry. I have come up with an idea that would be hugely beneficial for both the consumer and the winery. Could follow the freebie model with ads in place or $.99…

    My App:


    (App sample image:


    The SmarTastings application and service will enable wine novices and enthusiasts alike to learn about wines, track wine preferences, and share these preferences with peers via social media platforms. Smartastings proposes a dual strategy in which QRCodes can be used to market wines to any smart phone while a specialized iOS application utilizes those same QRCodes for advanced wine tasting services once the app is picked up by the winery.

    A wine-tasting application would give wineries an exciting and unique opportunity to connect with their current customers and draw in new ones. To make the most of this opportunity, Smartastings is seeking a mobile solutions partner with the experience, knowledge, and capabilities for this project.

    Smart Tastings Features

    QR Codes

    Small QR codes can be added to wineries existing tasting menus in one of the margins or cards with QR codes can be distributed with wines at wine tastings or for store displays. Customers can scan the QR code to view a page of information about the wine.

    If the QR code is scanned outside of the app, the web page will be opened in the phone’s browser. Within the app, the user can touch a button to scan a QR code, and the resulting web page will appear as a web view in the application. In addition, the application will display a side panel with options for rating, commenting, and sharing, as well as storing purchased wines for Cellar Tracker accounts or home library reference.

    Ratings and Comments

    Users will be able to add ratings and comments for wines as they try them. They can choose to save their comments and ratings locally. For wines that they have already tried, users will be able to edit their previous ratings and comments. Ratings could be a simple Like/Dislike system or something more elaborate, such as 0 to 5 stars or 50-100 points.


    Users will be able to share their thoughts on the wines that they have tasted through Facebook or Twitter. The messages can automatically include the rating and comments, but users would be able to edit them before posting.

    An optional sharing feature would allow users to share their entire list of wines, with their comments and ratings, through email.


    The app will display a list of all the wines that the user has rated or commented on. When the user selects a wine, the application presents a page with the user’s previous ratings and comments.

    Subsequent Phases

    In later releases, we could implement more sophisticated features. For example, the application could recommend wines to users based on their previous ratings. The application could also allow users to access and redeem coupons through the application. Surveys, in-app ads, and mobile web-tracking could also make for a richer app with greater monetization potential.

    Thanks for reading! Would love to hear thoughts on the idea. And thanks to everyone posting.. Good luck to all!


  159. Have wanted to create this app for sometime;

    App Name: Phone Home

    This app would provide for automatic calling of a designated number, send a pre-written or custom text message to the designated number when the phone arrives at a predetermined destination.

    You can use the app to program your teenagers or elderly parents phone to automatically call you when they arrive at a pre-determined destination.

  160. My idea is a productivity app called Time Suck or maybe Meeting Pie.

    It is an app that allows people to enter their recurring meetings and show the affect on their overall productivity via a big pie chart.

    A two-hour weekly meeting is five percent of the time of a person who works 40 hours weekly. Likewise, an all-day (8-hour) offsite held once a month, is 4.8% of a person’s annual time (based on a 40-hour work week and two weeks vacation).

    Collect multiple recurring meetings and you can start to quantify for yourself or others the affect that meetings have on you, your team, your business. Define your salary or hourly rate in and you can quantify the investment in real — not perceived dollars.

    Categorizing meetings by function allows you to track time commitment by large categories.

    It also enables you to see how much time you actually have available on a regular basis to use and your discretion and GET STUFF DONE!

    The plan would be to develop a free app with advertising and a premium version with enhanced functionality (e.g., different views by week, month, quarter or year; ability to email data and charts; etc.)

  161. Chad, I loved this post! I generally enjoy the ‘this is the holy grail and these are the steps you need to take to find it’ format, and this was one I find particularly interesting, especially the process of hiring someone to program the app. Thank you for sharing this information! I’ve got a few ideas for apps and am currently researching the app store to see what kinds of apps work and what kinds don’t.

    There’s one thing about researching the app store that I’ve been thinking about. Your method is to look at the top apps and their characteristics, and to base your apps on these characteristics of the top apps.

    It seems to me that this way you are asking yourself something like this: Given that an app is in the top 20 most downloaded/highest revenue apps, what characteristics do I find? As an example, you may find that if an app is in the top 20 it is more likely to be a game than not.

    If you conclude from this that for your new app you should emulate a game, you’re not taking into account the following question:

    Given that my app is a game, how likely is it to end up in the top 20?

    This is a different question, and one you can only answer by looking at all of the game apps, not just the ones in the top 20.

    You want to be able to say, if my app is a game it is more likely to end up in the top 20.

    To be able to make that assumption, you should also look at apps that do badly. What if in the bottom 20 apps, you also find that these are most likely to be games?

    That would mean that the app being a game does not improve your chance of ending up in the top 20 any more than it does your chance of ending up in the bottom 20.

    This is a bit of a coarse example I guess, but the point I’m trying to make is that I believe researching the app store should include the characteristics of all apps in the store. If you know that 60% of the apps are games in the entire store, but in the top 20 apps, 80% are games, I believe you’ve got a better reason to start emulating games than if you just know that in the top 20 apps, 80% are games.

    My question to you is, do you also look at the characteristics of the entire app store compared to the characteristics of only the top apps? Do you think doing so improves the research?

  162. Hi,

    Thanks for the how-to guide! This could not be more helpful.

    App: Street Hustler

    Description: Similar to Mafia Wars in style and mechanics, but targeted to entrepreneurs that want to learn these basic business mechanics that engages them in the learning process much in the same way that playing the stock market with fake money teaches the rules of that world. Items, attacks, defenses, land, and personnel/vechicles equate to NDAs, Contracts, Suppliers, Marketing, Fulfillment, Virtual Assistants etc, which grant bonuses in Time Units which are consumed when performing any action.

    Gameplay: Again, much like Mafia Wars, except each starting type will give bonuses in various aspects of play, from market penetration via advertising or cheaper supply chains through effective negotiation.

    I had originally thought of something along the lines of InstaBusiness, providing resources for conducting any step in the process of muse-creation, but the market for games is much larger and I believe advertising in the game can provide the same information while engaging the user, with an in-app purchase for a more comprehensive list a la InstaBusiness.

    Thank you for the contest. I’ve had some difficulty getting my own muse started and the notion of a single app to help with everything seems almost too dry to sell, but making a game out of it sounds promising.

    Good luck with your empire. Perhaps Street Hustler and InstaBusiness can help you with yours in the future 🙂

  163. THE App idea: “Oh the Places” – An organizer for all the places you’d like to visit in the world, combined with a journal of the places you’ve already been.

    Concept: My app will improve upon travel apps currently in the market like Everplaces, Foursquare or Places I’ve Traveled. After researching these apps I found that the thing they all were missing was a simple way to list all the places you’ve been and all the places you plan to travel to. This is a way for people to organize and keep track of dream vacations they want to take. By sharing your lists with friends and family, you can ask someone who’s already visited a location for advice. My app will provide not just cross reference with Facebook check-ins, but also with a specific travel site that sends the user current flight or hotel deals for the place they want to visit.

    My app will have 2 basic lists, with points on a world map. The first list will be titled “Oh the Places I’ve Been”, listing all the places you’ve traveled to throughout the world. Within the specific city you can provide more detail like when you visited there, which attractions you went to, a restaurant you liked, or a photo you took of the place. The second list will be titled “Oh the Places I’ll Go” which is a dream list of the trips you plan on taking. The app will remind you that it’s been X amount of days since you said you wanted to go to Rio de Janeiro for Carnival. It will send you current travel deals and hint that it’s time to make a move on your plans. Users can create separate lists within Oh the Places I’ll Go, like a major league baseball stadium list to visit or a concert venue list.

    What will make this app stand apart from current “places apps” is the simplicity of organizing the awesome locations you plan to visit without forgetting about them, while also keeping a record of where you’ve been to share with others. It’s not just about checking into a bar. It’s about jotting down your future dream destinations so you don’t forget that small city in Ireland your cousin said you HAD to visit that one drunken night. It’s about making sure you don’t wait until retirement to see this amazing world.

    I already reached out to people with this idea to get feedback. What I’m realizing is everyone loves the idea because A) It’s an organizer for future itineraries that most other apps don’t provide, B) It marketable because of the connection with travel sites for deals, and C) People obviously don’t think the other apps are doing a good enough job because not enough people are buying into them. This isn’t meant to be like Facebook’s “Where I’ve Been” which is a competition between users to brag about how many countries they’ve been in. This is a way for people to be reminded of their plans for world travel, and to give them the drive to pursue it.

    This WILL be a success and I hope you guys will be a part of the initial stages of the app development.

    Your time is much obliged.

    -Jeff Romeo

  164. Chad and Tim,

    Very interesting and informative article. Chad, I truly enjoyed learning about your experiences in building all of these apps.

    My idea: A real-time task completion app called UDoMyWork. Users log into the app, enable location, and are presented with a simple choice:

    1. List a job/task they need done (can add pictures/text) and the price.

    2. Complete tasks listed by others.

    Payment would be completely handled through the app upon completion of the task. Additionally, users would be able to enable notifications letting them know when a task has been listed nearby so they can “claim” it.

    Its a simple idea but would be incredibly scalable within cities or on college campuses.

    Currently, Task Rabbit and Zaarly are in this space but Task Rabbit tasks have to be completely by a pre-certified worker, which commands a premium and limits scalability. Zaarly is mostly structured around buying goods rather than posting services or tasks that need to get completed.

    Please let me know what you think.



  165. My App Submission:

    So. Like most iPhone users. I drink alcohol sometimes (maybe more often than sometimes). I have found that rather than being a trusted ally in my late night binge endeavors, my iPhone is actually more of that enabling bad influence who leads me to do things I regret the next day. Via Facebook I message, “Wanna bang” to the female half of my friend group, thus diminishing it’s number rapidly. After that master plan is completed. I’ll just start calling ex girl-friends until one picks up and then harass her. When she hangs up and ignores the next 10 calls, I abandon that desperation and go on Voxer or Heytell and send a ridiculous number of voice messages to my friends.

    Sometimes…. My iPhone wielding friends are in the exact same boat as me. Drunk and on their iPhones. The times we have those Voxer run-ins end up being the funnest parts of the night, and the best companion to breakfast the next day listening to the ludicrous conversations we had, recalling our various nocturnal hijinks.

    That makes up for about 3% of the messages sent. 97% end up in the inbox of a sleeping friend who had to work that morning. Who messages me back on their way to work to say, “Dude you woke me up at 5am with all those messages I had to be to work, not cool”. Which wakes me up with a massive hangover and forces me to respond, “Dude your message just woke me up at 9am, and now I am too hungover to fall asleep, not cool”.

    The moral of the story, we need to be contained. What’s great about us drunk people is that we have pretty simple tastes. We want someone to talk to us, so they can hear the deep philosophical insights we’ve discovered and our views on religion. Sober people don’t want to talk to us. We need a verifiable way to reach other drunk people.

    Enter: (Working title, don’t have a settled name yet) DrunkTank, DrunkTalk, DrunkDial, I Am Not Drunk,

    It’s the app for drunk dialing. No more desperately vying for affection with people I know, bring on the strange! Within the App you can see Who’s Online via a map with geotagging of users. Giving you the option to drunk chatting people in your area, or people all across the globe. Connecting with your other social networks like Facebook and Twitter will allow you to see which of your friends is also drunk. If you’ve ever been drunk in bed in California and felt, “man I wish I could get into a shouting match with some drunk NY yuppie about Tupac and Biggie”, now you can.

    The “I’m Sober” feature will silence the App (no push notifications) your friends can still send you messages, but you won’t receive them until you push the, “I’m Drunk” button to check back in.

    The app offers varying levels of privacy. Via SuperPrivate you will only be able to be contacted by your friend list. Via Semi-private, anyone can contact you, but you must friend them before they will see all of your information. Via Open for Business your information will be available to anyone. (I am not a privacy expert and expect that the privacy levels will need a bit more thought than I have given them)

    The messages are recorded so you can have that enjoyable recall of talking to complete strangers and friends during your following day.

    A separate feature I had an idea for that seems like it could be integrated in easy enough would be a place where you can specifically send a message to a demographic type like guys in your area or girls in your area around your age. You could pick Age > Gender > Proximity and chat away to a complete stranger. Or maybe have a “random” button to send a message to a random recipient who is online.

    No more need for the desperate lonely Apple geeks to call that ex girlfriend. Now you can, “spit game to the ladies” while once again, laying helplessly alone in bed.

    Welcome to paradise!

    P.S Chad if you travel to Thailand anytime the first 10 drinks are on me :).

  166. Chad, Excellent post!

    We have a great idea that we want to share but at this point not with the entire internet community …..Is there any way for us to protect ourselves and take advantage of this wonderful opportunity??


  167. Excellent post. I wish I was one of the break out success stories that you always hear about, but alas I haven’t been. This is not to say that I am not making money on my apps, or am not happy. Far from it! I love the business even though I haven’t made enough to be able to leave my full time job.

    Coming up on the 2 year mark in the iTunes app store. I basically went from knowing nothing to knowing enough to get several apps in the store! With my most recent app I have started to outsource the coding.

    If I could start over again, I think I would have started outsourcing a little earlier, but I still think knowing a lot about the process has helped me.

    Thanks for the post!! Great motivation even for those of us that are already making apps!

  168. Hey Chuck,

    This is my first attempt at an app idea so I decided to keep it easy and go for a light entertainment based app called…

    `Emoji Ninja`

    This idea came about through researching the current best selling games and the evident craze for emoticons (Thanks for the inspiration in the article!). Since I don’t have any device to use apps on (sometimes I can borrow my girlfriends ipod touch if I`m lucky) I relied on information and reviews from and

    After a bit of research it became evident many popular games involve throwing, slicing, hitting and generally aiming at something while judging speed and distance. For example Angry Birds, Flick Home Run and Fruit Ninja. The other thing they offer is a cool variety of settings and backgrounds for the level.

    Reminds me of what made Lemmings so addictive back in the day!

    That got me thinking…

    What better than a game that combines all of your cool emoticons with easy addictive game play?? NOTHING that’s what!

    The idea is the game will use your own emoji library (or preset emoji if you have none) to create heads of the games characters, the emoji ninja. These little e-ninja can then only be killed by throwing the same type emoji ninja-star at them. For example…

    Down drops SAD FACE NINJA! The only way to kill him is a head shot using your SAD FACE NINJA-STAR… and so on.

    Other cool in-game bonuses will include:

    ? A nice selection of power-ups that can be upgraded for greater effect.

    ? Unlockable bonus levels with fun pop-references

    ? Create you own ninja emoji character

    ? Simple, observation and reflex gameplay.

    It may not be deep or complex, but its simple, its fun and who wouldn`t get a kick out of battling against evil emoji ninja?

    But anyway enough of the boring explanation.. Check out the cool video I made instead!

    Thanks and I hope you can send 5g my way so I can create THE…BEST….SELLING….GAME…OF….ALL….TIME!…Muahahahahahaaa

  169. I want to develope a message app that lets you set a specific time to send a message. For example if it is 10 am and you want to send a message at 3 pm you can type the message and recipient and then set the time you want that message transmitted. In turn you will also be able to set a specific date a well.

    So often have I wanted to send a message at a later time but have that message in my head at that moment. So I have to write the text and it keeps it as a draft and then I have to remember to open the message and send it later.

    I think this will work with email as well.

  170. Chad,

    Thanks for the article and inspiration. My idea for an app is this:

    Photo app called “Phoot” It is a camera photo picture overlay. Remember seeing the squirrel or the travelocity gnome in peoples vacation photos? This app has an overlay that when you take a picture the overlay automatically appears in the picture. There would be several free overlays, squirel, sock monkey, etc. and then paid overlays. You could license ones like Hello Kitty and the travelocity gnome. etc.

  171. Something to share, there is a course, for free, on

    about how to create software prototypes with paper. for those of us without much coding knowledge, this could be a great way to rapid prototype and get a very rough feel of what you want your app to be/ look like and will most likely be a godsend to the programmer/developer you are working with.

    course is really 3 articles, but good info!

    good luck all!



  172. — My App Idea (and sales copy) —

    DreamBuilder – The simple dreams and goals picture book

    * Looking for some inspiration during your day?

    * Need some reminding of why you are doing this all for?

    * How about an extra bit of motivation before your next big meeting?

    DreamBuilder helps you keep focused by giving you a quick and easy way to review all your top dreams and goals.

    If you have had enough of complicated task and goal management apps, use DreamBuilder so you can just get on with what you really should be doing.


    * Flick through your dreams like a photo album

    * Quickly scan your dreams in a numbered list view

    * Add a custom image and description to each of your dreams

    * Change the order of your dreams just by dragging and dropping

    * Save up to 100 of your wildest and most incredible dreams

    * Create and edit your top dreams and goals quickly and easily. Forget about to-do lists, categories, or due dates.

    — Specifications —

    I have created a detailed specification that is ready for development. The spec includes a Balsamiq mockup, screenshots and a UI flow diagram. See the specification here –

    — Market Research —

    The target market for this app are network marketers, business owners and personal development/motivational junkies.

    In network marketing, there is a process called ‘dream building’ where you review your dreams and goals in order to get yourself motivated to make the next sales call and keep developing the business. One ‘dream building’ technique is to compile a scrapbook of dreams where you list your goals and cut out images of them too. The idea is to get to 100 dreams as this makes you dream things you never would have before. The network marketing niche is rabid for anything that will help them stay motivated and grow their business. But this app would be equally appealing to users that keep a list of goals in physical book instead of digital form.

    There already exist many similar apps such as goal lists, to do lists, bucket lists and vision boards, but most are overly complicated with due dates, categories, etc. And they usually don’t present the images in a nice clean format (similar to the iOS Photo app but with text) which can also be displayed in list form.


    1. Hi Andy,

      I love this idea! Your mockup with wireframes and UI diagram is beautiful. Would love to ask you a few questions if you have the time. Shoot me an email.

      Thanks for sharing!


  173. And I’m back…. I have been looking into odesk and posted a job like you said. I am amazed by the feedback I am getting, thank you so much for passing on your knowledge to all of us…. really am blown away by how you can do things if you just look outside the square.

    So here is my idea for an App

    *Billy’s Boatshed*

    Billy’s Boatshed is a my own brand out of Australia that has 2 adorable preschool books.

    I want to create an app for children that incorporates a virtual book, a talking book, a virtual sticker book and a colouring book.

    The great thing about the app is that it also allows the kids to print and share their colouring masterpieces.

    Here is an example of the kind of app I’m talking about.

    As you can see from the above it has been tried and tested, by Disney of all companies, so I know it works. Expanding on their idea I have added the ability to share your work from the App.

    The idea also comes from having all the cool books that kids love into one – picture book, touch and feel book – as it is interactive, colouring book and sticker book – which I think it great for kids.

    Billy’s Boatshed already has ibooks which are great –

    I would really like the kids to have an interactive experience with my book and an App that they can download and have fun with.

    You can check out an animation and other cool things that I would also integrate into the App at

    Look forward to hearing from you soon guys…


  174. Mobile apps are hot today. But hiring a programmer is too expensive. I used to make apps. It’s really easy, the web service allows to make mobile apps in minutes, and without programming skills at all.

  175. Hi Chad,

    Think ‘Draw Something’ + ‘Instagram’ + ‘Paper’.

    This is an app that lets users share their drawings, Instagram-style, artistic merit notwithstanding. Also comes with much better drawing tools. Yes, I’m talking to you, ‘Draw Something’. I’m sure you guys know what I’m talking about.

    May also have potential as a communication tool, where instead of typing or using emoticons, you could just draw something and send it as a private message to another user.

    Obvious monetization strategy is to put out a basic free app, but allowing for in-app purchases of additional drawing tools. I would personally try to minimize or even do away with ads as it usually means compromising the beautiful UI I imagine this app should have. I believe that value added in-app purchases, if well executed, should be more than enough to monetize this product. Users would definitely appreciate it too, which would lead to better brand perception. Win-win.

    I hope this short description perks your imagination on what is possible. We could have a quick chat if you’re interested.


  176. Great article, Chad/Tim. Thanks to the Four Hour Work Week I’ve been a full time app developer for over 2 years now and have never looked back. The next step is to create a quality app of my own for which this article helps a lot. Thanks a lot !

  177. Contest entry:


    The text world is boring and too simple, yet everyone does it every day (large market). when you type in your text it shows up in a little blue bubble and when someone responds it shows up in a little gray bubble. Why don’t we make those little bubbles the bubbles you see in a funnies comic, for example dilbert or calvin and hobbes except people can make their own character (avitar) and change them (in app purchases). Basically the text messages between you and a friend would turn into your very own comic strip!

  178. Hey Tim and Chad!

    Just wanna say thank you for again sharing unbelievably valuable insights!

    Just one thought (maybe you decided not to mention any details about this): what would be interesting to know are business and revenue models within the app world that are not based upon paying for the app or advertising…


  179. This was a great article and very inspiring! Thank you so much for sharing–I just bought the book!

    One thing I’m wondering is, can you get access to the iOS App guidelines without purchasing access to the Apple’s Dev network? I know it’s only $99, but it’s an investment I’d like to avoid if possible for just doing research. Any suggestions would be appreciated!

    Thank you again!

  180. ****App Idea****

    (Obligatory plug)

    Tim: props

    Chad: props

    Idea: Google drive is rolling out today, 5gb per user.

    I currently have 8GB with dropbox (full), and skydrive is also out there.

    Let’s create an app called “CloudRAID” that acts as a single storage location, but in the background manages your google drive, dropbox, and skydrive accounts and stores your file in the best location to prevent you from running out of space. When you locate/open/read/execute the file, CloudRAID works in the background to retrieve the file from the service that is hosting it.

    The name comes from the hard disk file resiliency feature of “RAID” and combines it with “Cloud” based storage offerings.

  181. Hi Chad! Entry for Plan My Week: A task/calendar integration tool

    I love calendars. A lot. But they all fail me in some way, most notably in the way they integrate tasks. To date, Google calendar is the best I’ve used, with iCal in close second. I still find the task list awkward, however, and so I end up printing the week and then writing my tasks in. What I want is to be able to create useful, project oriented task lists (like in Toodledo), and then drag my tasks onto my calendar. The task would remain in the task list until actually completed (many tasks take more than one day or one session). Link to an example week from my own calendar last fall:

    Each course could be a parent ‘project’ with the tasks for that course listed. Other activities can also be divided up in whatever way the user wants. Then, instead of handwriting my tasks onto my calendar, I could simply drag from the task pane to the calendar slot where I want to actually do the task. It would not be an event, with start and end times and occupied or whatever nonsense and 20 options to figure out. Just drag, drop, done. Ideally the tasks would appear as text only, with no times indicated. The goal is to have a list on my calendar, a roadmap for my week.

    On the phone, the week format plus task list will take up too much space, but I think that 3 days and a task list could reasonably be displayed on the phone horizontally. On an iPad, the full week and task list could be easily displayed. Once the week (or whatever) is set, the user moves to calendar view and starts knocking items off the list. (I am also quite fond of checkboxes ~ did I do what I was supposed to?) This system would eliminate the worst part of current calendar abilities: Tasks can only be placed on the calendar on their DUE DATE! Who waits until the due date to start a task? (Rhetorical, but NOT ME!)

    I did a small survey of people I work with asking how much they would pay for my app. Four would try it if it was free. Three were not interested as they do not use this kind of tool at all. One would pay $30 for it. While the sample size is too small to say anything quantitative, there is an important trend. Most people will not be interested in the app, and many will try it if it is free. A few will pay a large amount (compared to other calendar apps) assuming the thing works, doesn’t crash, etc. I myself would pay at least $20 for such an app. This should be our target market: People who really like calendars and schedules and goals and order. These people are willing to pay large amounts of money for tools that work. Get Things Done (for Outlook) is popular, costs almost $80, and does not look all that useful to me. (Of course, I don’t use outlook.)

    In investigating current apps (iOS), the closest I can find to this sort of task management integration is Smart Cal ($4.99) by Left Coast Logic. In reading the customer reviews, it became apparent that the tasks are assigned by the computer, not by the user. My idea would put the task management into the user’s hands. Additionally, there are lots of complaints about crashing. The iPad version may not be any better.

    Also, the Schedule Planner Pro by Intersog (Free) allows the user to create events and tasks, which then display in a list format. Unfortunately, all entries in the list take the same space, so that the amount of time an event will take is missing, as well as how long there is between events. If a task needs more than one time slot, it must be entered separately. Syncing the calendar was also clumsy (I have not succeeded). Even so, this app is at the top of the free productivity apps. This would indicate that people are really searching for a better task/calendar integration system. There are also two paid calendar apps and a grocery list app in the top 25 productivity. No calendar apps appear in the top 25 overall. We could change that.

  182. RoundTable:

    This app is a discussion based application that allows users to create a topic and have friends, or random people, give their input. The idea is that friends can have discussions about all different things in one centralized location.

    A user will log in via facebook or twitter and through these outlets will have easy access to invite friends to RoundTable discussions. There will also be an option to create a public discussion where people on the RoundTable network will be able to add their opinion to your discussion topic. For example, say there is a movie you want to see but don’t know anything about it, you can create an open discussion and have get opinions from anyone on the RoundTable network.

    The main screen will prompt you to either go to a discussion in progress or create a new one. Once you go to a discussion, you will be taken to the RoundTable screen.

    The RoundTable screen will be a large, round table, and the users will be placed around the table as they enter the conversation. People at the table will be identified by either their user name or, if they download the paid version, their custom avatar. When you tap on that user’s name, avatar, Their notes on the topic will pop up. Users can then give a thumbs up or thumbs down if they like or dislike the comment or suggestion made by the user. The top rated and lowest rated comments will be automatically displayed in the RoundTable lobby of that discussion. And in their comments, users will be able to add links to outside sources, such as the website for a restaurant they are suggesting, and they will also be able to create a googlemaps location that will show up in the comment if they choose to.

    This app can be used as a pure discussion based tool (like the movie example above), or as a social or business decision making tool.

    Social Example:

    It’s Friday night and friends are planning to go out on the town. However, no one can decide where to go for dinner. Normally, people would be texting back and forth and usually these texts don’t allow everyone to get their opinions in. In RoundTable, a person will start a discussion entitled “Where should we eat tonight?” (there will also be a little description that further explains the topic such as: “let’s all plan on meeting wherever we decide at 7”, that will pop up if you tap on the center of the table where the topic is located?See attached, poorly drawn picture.) Then, the user will invite all the friends he/she is planning to attend. Then, everyone can have their own say in the conversation and decide where to go for dinner.

    Business Example:

    A business that has people that do not work in a central office can use this to get their employees to weigh in on a decision without having to organize a time consuming meeting.

    For a poorly made drawing of what the app could look like, please give me an email address to send it to.


    The free version of the app will have banner ads running across the top, the paid version will be ad free. There will also be in app purchases that will allow for customization of the background, table, and users will be able to create an avatar that can sit at the table and will be able to change this avatar via in app purchasing as well.

  183. RoundTable:

    This app is a discussion based application that allows users to create a topic and have friends, or random people, give their input. The idea is that friends can have discussions about all different things in one centralized location.

    A user will log in via facebook or twitter and through these outlets will have easy access to invite friends to RoundTable discussions. There will also be an option to create a public discussion where people on the RoundTable network will be able to add their opinion to your discussion topic. For example, say there is a movie you want to see but don’t know anything about it, you can create an open discussion and have get opinions from anyone on the RoundTable network.

    The main screen will prompt you to either go to a discussion in progress or create a new one. Once you go to a discussion, you will be taken to the RoundTable screen.

    The RoundTable screen will be a large, round table, and the users will be placed around the table as they enter the conversation. People at the table will be identified by either their user name or, if they download the paid version, their custom avatar. When you tap on that user’s name, avatar, Their notes on the topic will pop up. Users can then give a thumbs up or thumbs down if they like or dislike the comment or suggestion made by the user. The top rated and lowest rated comments will be automatically displayed in the RoundTable lobby of that discussion. And in their comments, users will be able to add links to outside sources, such as the website for a restaurant they are suggesting, and they will also be able to create a googlemaps location that will show up in the comment if they choose to.

    This app can be used as a pure discussion based tool (like the movie example above), or as a social or business decision making tool.

    Social Example:

    It’s Friday night and friends are planning to go out on the town. However, no one can decide where to go for dinner. Normally, people would be texting back and forth and usually these texts don’t allow everyone to get their opinions in. In RoundTable, a person will start a discussion entitled “Where should we eat tonight?” (there will also be a little description that further explains the topic such as: “let’s all plan on meeting wherever we decide at 7”, that will pop up if you tap on the center of the table where the topic is located?See attached, poorly drawn picture.) Then, the user will invite all the friends he/she is planning to attend. Then, everyone can have their own say in the conversation and decide where to go for dinner.

    Business Example:

    A business that has people that do not work in a central office can use this to get their employees to weigh in on a decision without having to organize a time consuming meeting.

    For a poorly made drawing of what the app could look like, please give me an email address to send it to.


    The free version of the app will have banner ads running across the top, the paid version will be ad free. There will also be in app purchases that will allow for customization of the background, table, and users will be able to create an avatar that can sit at the table and will be able to change this avatar via in app purchasing as well.

  184. Really awesome post.

    My idea for an app is “Call Center Madness”, a “whack your boss”-clone, which is Android app, where you basically can find out 20 ways to kill your boss.

    Every time you click on a piece of office equipment you you see another violent sequence of the employee killing the boss and let’s face it who didn’t like to kick the ass of his boss in real life. The Android App has more than 1 million downloads and the iphone app “Kick the boss” has been ranking #1 in the categories arcade,action and top games as well as top apps in April 2012.

    So who else is very annoying and deserves a beating, which you would never do in real life but love to see on your iphone? Call center agents – that’s right! So I would also have a cartoon style design with a guy who gets called goes mad and goes from room to room in a call center. Every room looks different, as they are trying to sell different stuff. In addition to finding out all killing ways there will also be combos.

    Regarding the monetization, I go for a free version with upgrade for more rooms and in-game buys for hints to find out all combos/kills (I know it will be out there in the internet at some point but will just make additional money on impulse).

    That’s it 😉


  185. **Contest Submission**

    After reading Chad’s article, the first thing that came to my mind was “I should finally turn Noval into an app!” Noval is a card game I created while in the military. Card games are a normal part of military down-time and I was able to piece together elements of various games to create Noval and then tested it over the years with dozens of my comrades. The common response was “it’s kind of like UNO, but much more addictive” – so after I got out I decided it was time to bring my game to market. I’d read Tim’s book 3 times and listened to the audio version several other times, but still I went against his advice and immediately quit my job and sank $25k into a full printing of the game and a trip to Toy Fair to show it off – not smart. I’ve been able to sell several hundred and win an award, but nothing like I expected – people (especially kids) do love it but now the feedback is “this would make a great app” …d’oh! So I’ve spent the last couple days since this article posted looking at other card game apps (UNO and Phase10 are the most popular). With the right social functionality and the great game mechanics I’ve developed – Noval will be quite popular …and much cheaper to develop.

    Thanks for all the insight and incredible information – good luck to everyone with building your app empires!

  186. Contest submission:

    “Remember when” app – takes random photos posted or tagged on Facebook, Pinterest, etc. and displays them at random. Allows you to click through if you want to comment on the photo or status or send it on to a friend.

    Social apps that are “shareable” do really well and this adds that level of nostolgia. A picture might pop up from a past trip to Italy and I could send it on to my cousin who I was traveling with at the time and say “Remember the pizza we ate that weekend, I can still smell the delciousness!”

    Research – Facebook and Pinterest are two top apps, pictures are easily shareable and evoke many emotions.

  187. The idea is to build an app ,not only  to track your biological data but also and more importantly to determine your own biological limits allowing  you to dramatically improve the detection of a biological signal and be more predictive about the occurence of a disease.

    In 3 easy steps:

    Enter your gender, date of birth and height 2. Enter your biological data and 3.You view your personalized data ranges   . As many as 24 vital biomarkers could be  available , including glucose, glycated hemoglobin, good and bad cholesterol, weight, body mass index, blood pressure, hemoglobin, heart rate etc.We will use  the same proven algorithms used in the renowned ‘Athlete Biological Passport’ for biological monitoring of elite athletes. First, the algorithms take into account your age, gender and other information you have entered in The app.This allows to compute stratified ranges. Second, the algorithms take into account the biomarker data that you entered to define your personal limits. The process is iterative and your personal limits are refined every time you enter new biomarker data. This exciting technology can be made available to you so that you can enter biological data to determine your own personal limits.You can also share the monitoring of your personal biological data with your medical doctor to improve your health and live better whilst keeping control of your health.Coool?

  188. OVERVIEW: an app that shows all EVENTS going on in any specific location and date / time.

    In other words, you open the app and fill out this information: zip code, distance from zip code you are willing to travel (5 miles, 10 miles, 20 miles, etc.), the date (and time), size preference (50-100 people, 101-500 people, 501-1000 people, etc.), and an optional category box where you check off all types of events you want to include in results.

    Here are the events categories:

    wine tasting



    sporting events



    town meetings


    college/school meetings

    school level sports


    special interest club meetings

    ladies nights

    job fairs

    performing arts


    The results page shows all specifics for info above (zip code, distance, date and time, size of event / anticipated guests, and category), plus cost, details, venue / location, whether the event repeats (weekly, monthly) or not, some level of measuring how good the event is (Facebook “likes” and “shares”) and other details, like a link to the event website, pictures, etc. (the Facebook “likes” and “shares” serve as promotion for the website).


    PROBLEMS THIS APP SOLVES: This app solves typical scenarios like:

    Group of friends going out at night: “We’re going to the same bar we go to every Friday night…can’t we do something new? What else is going on in this city?” They end up at same bar.

    Group of friends during the day: “I’m so bored! Let’s do something!” “Like what?” They watch TV.

    Group of friends on road trip: “Well we’re here! Now what?” “I don’t know…what is there to do in this city?” They end up at a bunch of tourist spots that are lame.

    A couple on date night: “It’s Friday and we’re both off…what should we do!” They can’t think of anything and stay home.

    You get the idea of why this would be so useful for people looking for new things to do.



    The beauty if this app (and unlike all other events apps, websites, etc.) is that this one would be USER-GENERATED content. Just about every major website / app category has user generated content…Facebook for social, Yelp for restaurant / business reviews, Amazon for products, etc. The most successful and best ones are all user-generated.

    The main providers of the content would be the promoters of events – they would have to register for an account. They would do so gladly, however, because (most) people promoting events want as much exposure for their events as possible. A regular user does not need to sign up for a profile, they can just use it. This is great because people have such fatigue over signing up and registering for so many services – this one just works instantly without having to register.

    With this app, we are targeting fairly large events going on (not random get-togethers between friends or small parties, etc.).

    Also, to get the ball rolling, we can autofeed information into our system from major events companies like Ticketmaster, Livenation, etc. Once the app grows into a small user base and word starts getting around, the promoters will start adding more content and the app will become more useful. Users will also have the option to follow their favorite promoters, etc.

    In other words, promoters of events and participants of events will do a lot of the marketing for us.



    This app can be monetized in MANY different ways (although testing would be required to figure out the best one).

    1. Affiliate commissions through ticket sales directly through app.

    2. Sponsored events to show up at top of results.

    3. Advertising on the app itself.

    4. Charge for the app itself is an option (although I would probably keep it free).

    5. A combination of the options above.

    Basically, events draw a lot of people (and therefore, draw a lot of money).


    I have a screenshot of what the main “results screen” would look like, but couldn’t put it in this reply box!

    If I am being considered as a finalist, please email me and I will send it over!

    Mike Omar

    P.S. – This is the first time I’ve ever commented, but I wanted to mention that the four hour work week changed my life – the past two years I’ve been living off of a passive income business I developed based on some of your teachings from that book (nothing mind blowing, but enough to get by and now I have FREEDOM!). Can’t thank you enough!

  189. Great Post!!! Very inspiring. I have had a lot of great App ideas recently and this post really hit home for getting the wheels in motion. I have a complete business plan and strategic outline I can provide upon request.

    The Idea in a nutshell: Create a Travel App for Vacation Rentals that searches the major vacation rental sites at once and provides you the top results based on Rates, availability, location and reviews. Think Kayak for Vacation rentals.

    Would love the opportunity to talk further!


  190. Thanks for this article I am sooo hungry for this and I have been wanting to get in to the app market for so long but i have been too scared and too poor to even try.

    I have a lot of ideas for apps but this is one of my ideas that I think can really be helpful to customers. Its a review app that pushes notification to the user based on the the location they arrive at. They need to first turn the push notification on. Then for example lets say they walk into a restaurant they will then be pushed a notification on there phone telling the the ratio of positive to negative reviews on that restaurant. When they access the the app it will show comments on the place such as try a certain dish or terrible wait staff. This app would be driven by the costumers themselves for content but If enough people participate they could really become a useful tool.

    I would call the app iRate.

  191. Hi Chad & Tim,

    Thanks for what you’re doing, I think it’s great when the barriers and excuses are removed for people – good things tend to happen.

    My app idea is to create a mobile listing tool for real estate professionals, allowing them create, manage, and send well-designed listings to clients and customers without having to go back to the office.

    More detail here:

    Mockup here:


  192. Dear Chad,

    Here is an idea: Simple and easy is what im thinking but I haven’t been a member of the app building club. My idea is drawing on post it note. This app will let you draw multiple drawings over a set of post its(like I used to do when I was a kid, and still do). And you finish it you will be able to play back and edit what you like. Sounds fun and simple and Hopefully you read this.

    Thanks again,


  193. Thank you so much for this article – it is invaluable advice and given me the confidence to start developing my own apps.

    My idea for the competition is an argument app – for those who want to vent their anger, blow off steam, get something off their chest or just get better at arguing. The app has different characters you can argue against depending on what mood you are in or how you feel – example characters are street thug, grumpy granny, snooty boss – you essentially verbally battle against each character and score points against them, or them against you depending on what you say (type) and how well you argue or insult each other.

    The character gets larger and larger till it’s in your face and wins – or you beat it with your words till it runs away. Revenue can be made by buying extra characters. There can also be a ‘clean’ or ‘adult’ version depending on the use of swear words and phrases allowed.

    This will be a great way to let off steam, it can be cathartic or just a bit of fun :))

    Hope you like! 🙂

  194. Added to my previous comment – the argument app, the app could be made into a game, you start off with an easy arguing partner, a junior schooler for example, and go up a level each time and battle harder characters, a soccer mom, a mafia boss etc till you complete each level and eventually become an argument expert and win the whole game :)))

  195. Dear Chad and Tim –

    I think this is a great contest and an awesome blog post but like many others here I am worried about having my idea ‘stolen’. Don’t get me wrong…I feel that collaboration and thinking out loud is beneficial for brainstorming, fine-tuning etc but usually within the confines of a trusted group of friends or partners. As much as I want to believe in the altruistic nature of humans, I think the app world is like any other world…dog eat dog…except at 7 times the rate. 🙂

    You mentioned that ‘my success in the app store came from emulating successful apps. In other words, borrowing proven ideas and trying to make them better’ but were those great ideas you built upon disclosed for the world to read first? My idea definitely borrows from proven ideas from several different apps in a way that is unique and extremely useful, but I just can’t get myself to spill my brainchild’s beans.

    As much as I’d like to participate in this (not even for the sake of winning) with a bunch of creative people with some truly awesome ideas, I think I’ll refrain since the rules have already been set. However, when and if you decide to run a second contest that offers more disclosure protection, I’ll be the first in line!

    Keep up the great work!


  196. Thanks for writing Chris,

    My app idea, created only today after researching the market:

    Name: Addictive slots

    What it is: A slot machine game with very cutsey graphics. 5 different slots (each with different graphics, odds, gambles, bonuses, and lines) and a plethora of powerups (such as slowing down the slot so you can pick when to stop the spin, double odds of winning, etc) given out randomly & for purchase.

    Why it has a chance: Social slot machine games are rapidly growing right now. Several of the top 50 grossing apps are gambling. Two are slot machine games, but they aren’t all that fun. Two of the fastest growing facebook games are slot machine based. The creation of such a game is not complex.

    Revenue Model: Free download, allow users to buy coins. Coins regenerate every hour, but the game includes money sinks like powerups and of course, gambling.

  197. I’ve got a terrific idea for an app that meets all of the requirements in Chads post.

    The Problem: Millions of iPhone users still can’t access their work email on the iPhone because the IT department won’t allow IMAP access to their Outlook exchange server. So they are stuck using the horrible Outlook webmail interface in Safari. I know this sucks from experience.

    The solution: An App that uses the webmail connection instead of IMAP to retrieve the user’s Outlook mail and calendar items. This is a much better experience for the user.

    Business viability: There are already apps that do this in the app store. In fact one of them (Outlook Web Email) is number 13 in the top paid business apps. So we know there is a market for this. I currently use that app and it is usable, if unexciting and lacking in some important functionality. The current apps in this space have boring design similar to the native mail app, and limited calendar functions. Outlook Webmail, for instance, doesn’t have a week view, only day and month. Everyone knows week view is the most useful.

    My app proposal: An app with the functionality described, but a UI that borrows from the best UI designs in the app store. An email component that is as fun an intuitive as Sparrow and Tweetbot, and a calendar component that shows a week view in landscape mode like the native calendar app.

    While aiming initially for the set of users that can’t connect to their work email directly with the native apps, the goal would be a design that is so appealing it would be the app of choice for Outlook users.

  198. Best article on the internet today. I wish I had this a year ago when I started in this business. If someone is interested in creating an app, this should be your bible. I am going to print this post and place this under my pillow ever night.

    OneBasketball is a new app on the iTunes market that has a rating of 5 stars. We just hit the market recently, and we would love to get feedback on our idea. The idea came about when we were researching the top three reason on why basketball players all over the world do not train effectively and efficiently. These problems are:

    1). They do not know exactly what to do

    2). They don’t know how to train effectively and efficiently

    3). They do not have the ability to track their progress

    This application solves these problems.

    OneBasketball is the first-of-its kind and the most comprehensive mobile basketball training system ever created.

    140+ drills with video demonstrations and step by step instructions for each

    16 fully structured progressive workouts to guide you to become the complete player

    Revolutionary “Shot Tracker” system that allows you to record and track your progress for each drill

    All drills can be performed by one player, with one ball, on one basket which allows the athlete to improve anywhere anytime

    The main reason why we are posting in this competition is because we are struggling with the marketing of the application due to lack of funds. We also want to expand into the Android OS market, considering they have a huge market share of the mobile app industry.

    The basketball market is growing exponentially and is at the same rate of the mobile app industry.

    According to FIBA, 450 million play basketball in grass roots or in an organized way in 2010.

    There are 882,342 total men’s basketball players across the Junior High School, High School, and College levels in the United States.

    There are 738,707 women’s basketball players across the Junior High School, High School, and College levels in the United States.

    Here is our Promotional video with screen shots of our application:

    iTunes URL for screen shots and extended description:

  199. Excellent post. Only wish we could publish our app ideas privately!

    Anyways im happy to share my idea(s)

    Two app ideas have been playing around in my head for some time, and ive done a bit of mock design on them both also. Plans can be provided.

    Ill keep it short and simple.

    1) Serial Number Vault:

    Allows users to store serial numbers (text or photos), purchase dates, invoice numbers etc of expensive assest in their house. Some similar apps are around for this allready, but none are simple to use, and have to ability to access your database without you phone via a webpage. Excellent for company assest tracking and personal insurance use. – If your house burns down your not going to have receipts on hand…

    2) Crime & Threat notifications:

    People can (easily) post, using geolocations, recent crimes and threats are their neighborhood that have occurred, anyone within a 5-10km radius of that geolocation with the app gets the notification also. (alot more detail on this but ill hold back). This is personally, i think a real stunner…firstly it can be used globally and secondly, just look at the amount of crimes and threats in any given country per day.

    I have done a fair bit of work on this already (number 2), including market research, design, database design, and webportal also and would love the ability to take it further with funding.

    Thanks again for the great post.


  200. Great article! One thing that struck me sideways a little was that you pointed out to always have a programmer sign a NDA before releasing or sharing any sensitive info about your App and then you post a contest where you ask people to disclose their App ideas to the world! Is it just me or is that slightly contradictory in nature and how does one reconcile that? Thanks!

  201. Great article – I just downloaded your book on iBooks.

    App Idea: Message Plus

    Message Plus improves on iMessage and What’s App by:

    Adding in status updates like BBM

    Allowing users to add pictures like BBM

    Adding location services to be alerted if your friends are near by – this adds an entire social element to the app. “Tom, I was just notified that you are 1 mile away. We are at the sports bar watching football – come join us”. This also encourages you to have your friends download the app.

    Add Voxer functionality

    Free version operates as a standalone app.

    Paid version allows you to message through to other users iMessage, What’s App and other popular messaging services within the app. This means that the user only uses your app and is much more convenient than having to jump from iMessage to What’s App etc.

    iMessage and What’s App are two of the most used daily apps on the iPhone and this app improves on them both.

  202. My app idea is an extension of the QR functionality.

    So in a movie theater there is always some trivia for the movie your about to see, right? Instead of the minute long trivia filler, a QR code floats the screen… It changes angles and planes in frames so that everyone in the theater can have a straight on angle for their phone to register (crude bar napkin sketches available upon request). Once a phone picks up the code, it transfers them to a website where that movie’s triva opens up. Your first time the site will ask to register. Questions in the trivia are much more in depth than standard moive trivia. The results will be posted to our website for any browser to access; and users can choose whether to post to their Facebook.

    Though this sounds like a browser based endeavor utilizing QR and less like an app, the app ability boseomes useful when you have the ability to access your score while in the theater. The app can also recognize your theater and location, leading to marketing via the specific theater, geographic location, or movie genre. I have other diagrams, details, goodies to suggest if interested.

  203. Contest Entry:

    A social app that lets you create an event (party), invite your friends and coordinate who will bring what.

    Users will have the ability to add all of their friends on the app. User will create an event and send out an invitation to all their friends or selected friends. Event creator will also have the ability to create a registry for things they would like invited guests to bring to the event (beer, wine, food, entertainment). Invited guests will be able to reserve items on the registry that they would like to bring.

    App will send reminders to invited guests as the party approaches. It will also remind them that they need to buy their selected item on the registry. Once they have purchased the item, they can update the registry item to a status of purchased to let the planner know the item will be at the event.

    Monetization Opportunity:

    Sell advertising to businesses that provide items listed event registries. If a user has registered to bring guacamole to their friend’s party, they might see an ad for the best guacamole in town.

  204. ~Contest Submission~

    A Habit Training app

    There are a number of apps that try to train the users out of bad habits or into good habits. Most of the habit-trainers are cumbersome and overpriced.

    The idea is to create an app that is fun to use and affordable. It will reward the user for continuing good habits. This will create a upward cycle of positivity.

    The app will also try to motivate the user through various means.

    It will have a great graphical design that will keep the user coming back to check on how heshe is doing.

    It will give instant (or near-instant) gratification to the user (the kind everybody craves nowadays). Turning the relatively boring task of making good habits into a game. This will help to keep himher on track with making the new habit stick (or bad habit fade)

    Could add a social element (tie into existing social platforms, maybe), keeping a group of selected friendsusers to be notified by the app when doing well. This will allow people to motivate each other by telling the person how well they are doing and to ‘keep up the good work’

    keywords: new habits, habit, trainer, tracker, quit smoking, exercising, motivation, productivity, new-years resolution, etc

    This app will appeal to people that are trying to better themselves and would do well all-year round (especially new-years when resolutions are being made)

    Thanks for the opportunity

    Dan Coleman

  205. Contest Submission

    App Name: “Undecided”

    What is it?

    This app recommends an activity from a database of activies for people who are bored, planning events or have some time to kill.

    The best feature is that users can search for activities based on gender, weather and mood/occasion. This allows the user to get far more relevant suggestions and tailor their results to their current situation – which similar apps fail to provide.

    There are 3 nominal options for refining your results:

    – Gender (Male, Female, Unisex)

    – Weather (Sun, snow, wind and rain)

    – Mood/Occasion (Dating, Partying, Socialising, Relaxing, Exercising and Creating).

    The User can refine their results by choosing an option from one or all 3 of the options – from very broad (choosing unisex gender only) to very refined (selecting gender, weather and mood/occasion).

    Some rough sketches

    This first page is a simple design containing the logo, name and very simple instructions with a “Begin” button.

    The second page displays the nominal selection options of Gender, Weather and Mood/Activity. One can select the options they choose (1-3) and then hit “Go”, or they can clear their selections with a shake or second touch.

    The third screen will come up with a suggestion, and a new suggestion can be displayed with a shake of the phone.

    Suggestions have the options of:

    – Adding comments to a suggestion (E.g. add an address or place name to a suggestion such as “go for Chinese food” or “Play Beer Pong”)

    – Adding a new suggestion to the database +

    – Adding a suggestion to a “to do list” which could be placed on screen 1 or 3 for things people want to do in the future.

    – An X button to hide the suggestion from future suggestions (for example “do some gardening” is useless for those without a garden or access to one)

    – A Find button that can link a place or activity with google maps to locate the closest available options.

    Although this is not emulating top apps based on concept, the app can incorporate sleek UI concepts found in some of the top Apps today, such as Clear, making it fun to use.

    This concept outlined above is by no means exhaustive, and more options could be added. But, for the puspose of the submission, I have kept it simple.


  206. Pick’n iT-Perfect Fit

    Unlike other fashion guru apps, this one is a custom fit for any shape or size! This app, will increase the accountability of being an accurate look, style, and fit. It’s one of a kind, something even grandparents could have fun fiddling around with. Remember the time when going to the local shopping stores was fun and relaxing. Now, there are so many people, cluttered dressing rooms and not to mention all the crowded parking lots, it seems like where ever you go, everything turns into more then just a 15 minute trip. That is why I came up with the idea, a Virtual Dressing Room. Online shopping and over the internet purchasing will never again be the same, I don’t know why the idea has not been imported already! You may never want to leave your room or computer screen again, except to answer the door.

    Let me lay it out and you may take it as it is, a changer of ways.

    The Virtual Dressing Room would be featured in mobile shopping category; an app featuring name brand clothing or various accessories from stores and styles. Now, let me first explain my pattern of thinking, this app allows you to upload a picture of yourself or measurements conducting a similar body figure, so you may try on clothing over the internet. Yes, you heard correctly, a virtual way of trying on clothing, before purchasing them, over the internet. The two choices for doing so would be to take a picture of your full body in a tank top and shorts(to get the idea of the person’s body shape), or enter your measurements; such as height, weight, and width in certain areas. The program then can identify the person on a individual basis. The data in which the customer imports is then, given options of trying on different materials of clothing from various wardrobe companies. I realize it may be difficult to formulate such a endeavoring code. But, then again we do work with the most brilliant minds of our time, all I know is that it can be done and evidently it shall become a daily tool we will seemingly use.

    Everybody wants to be an individual, when going through all these pictures of models and cartoons, none of them really gives us as human beings our own satisfaction. We go on wondering oh, she has my cheeks, but my nose is bigger or my hips are wider. How is your sweater going to look if every time you buy it over the internet, you make someone else try it on? It doesn’t make sense and the concluding matter is a rather silly mistake.The idea isn’t to banish models world-wide, the idea is to become our own clothing models. Trying on what we are attracted too and fitting it custom to our body type. Where the customers have the power of conducting their own clothing photo ops, virtually, they get to be their own models for the clothing they wish to purchase. Among other things, dress up is rather a fun sport!

    Everybody wants a good style and different looks, individuals wants to wear and rock it in their own category of flare. Fashion is always changing and technology is always growing and this is something that can be very beneficial to consumers world-wide. It especially is going to revolutionize the way Agoraphobics’ do their commercial shopping! No fear.

    People pay to be different and to stand out. What better way is there then to have a little you trying on your clothes as a virtual avatar model. Many of the beauty apps out there you will find yourselves wondering which model looks more like you, if they share the same body type or facial features. Ultimately, we all have unique body masses and structure’s that no one can really replace the fact that we don’t all look the same. There are several dress up applications that use dress up models and clothes that are cartooned, but this is real life and we need real life dress up, now! i guarantee, that when people use this app, they will have no choice but to buy, buy, buy!

  207. Great article Chad and action inducing as well.

    In the link is my quick pitch for an emoji creation app. Emoji is successful as is well known and literally everyone I know has the app on their phone and uses it daily. It’s going off your suggestion on taking something that is out there and taking it to the next level.

    Thanks again!

  208. Great turnout so far, it actually took a very long time for my browser to render the page. That’s saying something.

    But, onward for my entry:


    Using the wonderful SCAMPER Technique, I finally settled on Eliminate – I’d like to eliminate as many features from the standard camera app as possible.

    The Polaroid camera was a hit for a reason – it was fast and easy to use, and I’ve heard numerous complaints along the lines of ‘How do I use this app’ from the elderly, to teens saying “I’m just waiting for my camera app to load.”

    With that in mind, I figured it would be an obvious solution –

    *No interface elements.

    *Tap anywhere on the screen to take a photo.

    *Defaults to the rear-facing camera

    *Stripped down interface and features should significantly decrease load-time.

    *Anyone can use it. Just like a Polaroid camera.

    One last point to consider for the app – camera apps are some of the most-downloaded apps (free and paid) on both the Apple and Android marketplaces. Most suffer from feature-bloat.


    Let’s face it, it would probably need to be a free app, but one nag screen could be included after first use, then another nag screen per update to ask for developer donations.

    If nothing else, the nag screen could offer a platform for the development and marketing of new apps.

    As long as the nag screens don’t interrupt the user when they’re trying to take that split-second photo of their ferret twisted into an impossible shape, I don’t think it would bother the end-user.

  209. App Contest Entry: Call Sheet Iphone App for Indie Filmmakers

    App Description: Sends call sheets out to actors and crew containing all of the details for a film shoot on the following day.

    Main Competitor: Pocket Call Sheet – Price $6.99

    Competitor App Info: Pocket Call Sheet was featured in MovieMaker Magazine and many other indie film magazines. It’s a widely used Iphone/Ipad app among indie filmmakers and producers. There are no competing Call Sheet apps out there.

    Competitor App Cons: Learning curve. Too much info to enter. Time consuming. Confusing for cast & crew to read. Doesn’t send out text messages. Doesn’t support photos or videos. It’s not micro-budget friendly.

    My Call Sheet App Competitive Edge: I am an established indie filmmaker and founder of a small indie production company in Boston. I use Pocket Call Sheet (competitor’s app) every day. Many of my filmmaking friends use it and complain about it. Pocket Call Sheet is designed for larger production where it’s normal to spend 30-90 minutes sending out a call sheet. I want it done in 2 minutes. Maybe we should call it “2 Minute Call Sheet.” Haha. My Call Sheet app will have a simple user interface that’s fun, easy use and easy to read on the receiving end.

    I have been making movies for 8 years and I love going out to shoot. It’s like a high for me preparing for my next shoot date, packing my gear and sending out call sheets. I want to make that experience better. I will put just as much passion into the Call Sheet app if you give me the opportunity. Thank you for considering me as a winner for this contest!

    Readers: Please comment if you like my idea to help me get noticed by Chad and Tim. Thank you very much.

    My Video Pitch:

  210. Marty’s AMAZING APP IDEA- BLINGBLING! (Billy Mays, the deceased Oxy Clean guy, will be your inner monologue for this pitch):-D

    BlingBling, is the hottest new app for your smart fizzle, it adds all the savings of retailmenot, group on, coupons and promotions- with out the HASTLE of surfing the web or reading your email.

    How does it work? A completely new idea on how we shop- Location Based Business Bidding. But wait, WTF is that? I’ll tell you-

    Imagine you’re walking through your local food court and you being the creature of habit, pass up all the other chow stations, for your tried and true japanese teriyaki bowl, when BLINGBLING gives you a buzz and lets you know that if your have lunch at the pizza parlor in the food court, that you can have free soda of your choosing. Think that sounds like a deal? It looks like BlingBling is also letting you know, that if you ditch teriyaki bowl, you can have a healthy fish taco with 2 sides of your choosing AND a FREE soda for 4 bucks, at Baja Fresh, also in the food court- now thats a deal. You being the healthy penny pinching suave guy you are, choose to take door number three, and find out that those fish tacos blow away your old USUAL choice away, and you are now a customer for life.

    But who wants their phone BLOWING UP ALL THE TIME? NOT ME OR YOU, thats why the BLINGBLING, has an awesome ON OFF switch right on the app start location, turn it on when you want it, off when you don’t. All you have to do, is set your market type,( food, mens/ women’s retail clothing, etc.), and turn it on when you want it. That’s right folks, just set it and forget it, flick it when your wit it!

    (Billy goes back to his grave)

    BlingBling is actually two apps- one free for your the user. And one paid one for the seller. The user can add favorites to specific merchants, and opt to receive messages constantly if they choose via push notifications. Also, the user can specify party size, it’s possible that merchants may want to advertise to bigger parities( dinner for two, families of four). Social networking could also play a role, just imagine your friend was at the mall when you made your lunch decision. The user could also send a message via Facebook, or any social network, to join the user at the fish taco spot with the current location based promotion.

    All the while, the seller is gaining customers, moving dead-stock and adding revenue by REAL TIME BIDDING for walking traffic. No more spending high dollar amounts in print media that might hit your target, use BLINGBLING to get that walking traffic NOW!(and their friends).

    Of course, this product scales to much wider markets, (retail, services, technical, educational, professional). What do you guys think?

    Blingbling- the ultimate bargin shopping experiance.

  211. Hi Tim and Chad,

    Thanks for the great post. I love it. I went out and bought Chad’s book right away and finished it by the next day.

    It was great. It got me just as excited as the 4HWW. However there is one big hurdle for me that was missing in both of the books. I am not scared of becoming a developer and I can get over the fear it would take to take the initial plung. What scares me is becoming a business owner. What kind of business types are there and what ones worked for you? What ones would you recommend when getting into the app business. What are the pitfalls of starting a business and what lessons did you learn? When is it a good idea to register your business? Any help would be greatly appreciated. Even if it’s just pointing me in the right direction.



    1. Hey Brad,

      Just noticed your post. “Starting a business” is as easy as going to or a site similar to that. You can set up a tax id number, register you business name, and cross simplistic hurdles in starting an LLC(preferred if your going to be a one man band) or S-Corp. They actually explain both on the sight in great detail. It costs under 200.00 depending on your state. and i would 100000% recommend it if you plan on “hiring” anyone for outsourcing, if you get auditted and uncle sam asks where all your dinero is coming from, youll have to buck up. They can explain the tax margins as well and how NOT to get scammed. More importantly, it protects you from legal action if somehow you violate a copyright as well and vice versa, you can choose to copyright something (that costs more) but then if someone wants to use your technology or even idea YOU can come with a dollar amount you feel its worth, obviously thats why most companies are purchased, EX: Instagram. I would set your LLC up first and move on to the next steps of brainstorming, creating, and hiring, plus you have to ability to “write off” anything that you use for starting your “business”, ie laptop. ipad, the subcontractor or programmer that requests you to take him out for a 1000.00 dinner,(seriously it happens). Its a smart choice and eventually be imperative if you pursue owning any business.

      in fact if i were chad and tim, i would have legal zoom or put an add on the site for a kickback on all the people pursing the 4 hour work week or offer copyright services, similar to an NDA, but a step further…if they read this im sure they have already considered.

  212. Hello, and thanks for the great article. I’ve had this idea for an app for a while and feel like I’m ready to make it happen.

    It’s called NameTagger. “Remember Everyone”. The Icon looks like a “Hello My Name Is” name tag, and the purpose of the app is to help you remember people’s names. It’s really important to me to start off on the right foot with the people I meet, and there’s no mood killer like the awkward, “tell me your name again…”

    In the app, you enter peoples names as you meet them, and the app uses location GPS to drop a pin in a map, which is stored in a database for later recall. At the map screen you have the option of typing in a location name “Bob’s house”, etc. or picking from location names provided by facebook registered check-in points.

    The next screen asks you “Add to contacts?” Selecting “Yes” takes you to your address book. On this page eventually I want to have the option to publish your meeting to facebook or twitter.

    Lastly, you’ll be able to search your tags by list, like an address book (names or places sorted) or by map (imagine pins all over your local map of places where you met people)

    I currently use evernote to do this adhoc, but I find it cumbersome. I know they have a similar app, but the amount of information you have to fill out is creepy for a first encounter. Also, they suggest you take a picture of your new acquaintance. Great way to end a friendship before it starts.

    I’ve seen other apps that try to do this, but are designed poorly. I also see apps like Namerick, which was featured in Wired magazine, Huffington Post, Business Insider, and it is just a memory trainer. I don’t want to train my memory. I want my phone to remember everyone I meet. It should be quick and simple and fun.

    I can’t wait to get started.

    PS -I have layouts of the app pages available upon request.

  213. An app that connects locals in a city to visitors that share their interests. For a fee, those local residents can take those visitors around and introduce them to experiences they might have missed otherwise, or just give them a locals perspective instead of the typical tourist traps.

    It’s like AirBnB for experiences.

  214. NightPass is positioned to be the premier stop for bargoers nationwide when planning their night out. NightPass will serve as an e-commerce marketplace and social network for bargoers to research, plan, and pay for their nights. Customers can research cover and bottle prices, expected crowds, nightly events and music, user reviews, and available tables. After deciding on a bar, users can pay for covers and bottle service using PayPal and use services such as FastPass to skip the line, all on each bar’s specific page. While the current process for planning a night out involves searching the internet for deals in your area with limited information on each bar website or contacting promoters at specific venues, NightPass will serve as a one-stop hub for researching entertainment options in your area, a fast and convenient way to connect with other bargoers in your area, and paying ahead for your night. Concordantly, NightPass will enable business owners to connect with their customers more specifically through daily and instant deals and events, while specifically targeting new customers. Revenues for NightPass will be driven through advertisers, transaction fees, and a percentage of daily deals.

    -Interactive Table Finder and Reservation System: This will enable bars to add a floor plan of the available tables, with the availability operating in real-time. This will allow users to carefully select and compare tables at your club before purchasing.

    -Online Transactions: This will enable customers to pay for bottle service and table fees ahead of time using credit cards or PayPal accounts.

    -FastPass: This will enable customers to pay for covers and set an arrival time online. Customers will be able to skip the line and need for an ATM, while bars will be able to plan for influxes of crowds throughout the night using this tool. Ticketing at the door would be similar to Megabus’ strategy (list of all confirmed confirmation, bargoer shows on phone, checked off the list).

    -Daily/Instant Deals: Barowners can offer daily deals similar to GroupOn’s model, specifically directed to whichever users they prefer. Barowners can also instantly send deals to users anytime, letting them in on deals. This model is similar to LivingSocial’s InstantDeals system, in which bars can set a deal only a few hours beforehand with a short expiration time. For example, a bar using the system could see low attendance expected for a night, so they could send out an instant deal for the night to specific users, offering a deal such as an “all you can drink” event or “no cover.”

    -Point Systems: NightPass will track the bars you’ve been (you can set as private). Users can collect “points” at each bar, enabling them promotions (example: X points gets you free cover).

    -Multimedia: Night pass will enable barowners and users to upload videos and pictures from events, as well as music samples and videos for upcoming bands.

    -DJ Playlist: Bars can choose to display the “last five songs” played throughout the night at a bar. Users will quickly be able to check a bar’s music scene for that specific night, rather than just a broad genre on a website.

    -Real-time feedback- Users will be rewarded points each time they comment on a bar’s scene. When deciding on a night out, users can see exactly what bargoers are saying while they are that establishment, rather than relying on outdated yelp reviews.

    -SmartPhone Application: Barowners and users can use the free NightPass app, which will have all the functions of the website including payment options. InstantDeals will be shown on a map wherever the user is in the city. The application will also have POS interfacing capability, similar to the TabbedOut application currently being used in Columbus, Ohio. Participating bars will allow customers to keep track of and close personal tabs via the application.


    As a $20 billion industry with 45,000 establishments nationwide and growing, the nightlife market represents a huge untapped opportunity for a network. Social networking has grown 24% in the last year, while the bar and club sector is again growing after several down years. The core target market for users of NightPass are aged 21-30, single, white collar individuals living in urban areas with disposable income with salaries of $35,000 and above. Our core individual travels in groups, has ample free time, and is a fun-seeking, smart-shopping, and trend-setting individual. While this is the core markets, events supported by NightPass including bachelor parties and bar mitzvahs will incorporate other groups as well.

  215. Photo Duel

    Is a real time test of observation and speed between you and a friend or up the ante and challenge all your friends.

    After signing into Photo Duel you choose your opponent(s) through a list of other who have downloaded Photo Duel (a la Draw Something).

    When your opponents are selected you send them the challenge.

    The selected parties receive a glove slap message challenging them to a Photo Duel.

    Your opponent(s) can either “Defend Your Honor” or “Run Away”.

    Once they’ve accepted both you and your opponent(s) will receive prep screens that will count down from 10.

    After 1, a zoomed in photograph will be appear with the 5 different options of what it might be. Photo Duel will slowly zoom out revealing more of the photo. The first person in the duel to correctly identify the photograph wins.

    The app will come in different versions:

    Lite: will be free but have half the photographs so that it’s more likely to have repeats, and it will have ads while the players prepare to duel.

    Paid: will offer more photographs and not have ads.

    With the dueling theme, multiple versions of the game can be released based on the same concept different photographs and art work associated with the different version: Western, Elizabethan, Samurai, Skulls etc.

    The option of crowd sourcing would be a great feature in the game too, giving the players the opportunity to take their own pictures to be added to the game and then downloaded by others to use.

    Here are some quick drawings of what I’m thinking of:

  216. TIM! These posts just keep getting better somehow!

    Here is my app I created for $500: Political Party Scanner Pro

    It was meant to be a joke app to get in on the election drama of 2012.

    The app takes a picture or scans a picture to see if someone or something is a Republican or Democrat.

    For a youtube view:

    I’ve marketed it on some app review sites, but am currently trying to get it into the mainstream press and on some political blogs.

    Chad, how would you market this app?

    I know the UI could be better, but it only costs me $500.


    Political Party Scanner Pro

  217. When was the last time you interviewed a plumber by asking him to plaster your wall? I can’t see how asking a developer to design your app logo is going to help in the slightest.

    It belittles both developers and designers to think that “it’s all the same”. I know logo designers who have done nothing else but design 128x128px logos for years and years and they’d consider themselves average at best. As a developer I’d walk away from your job interview at that question, which could potentially cost you a creative and innovative coder.

    And the NDAs….

    But aside from these issues, quite an entertaining and informative article.

  218. My daughter and I came up with a game app. Not too original, but games seem to be soooo popular. It’s called “Flying Pigs”. The basic idea is that the pig runs thru an obstacle course (running, jumping, sliding, etc) and it’s raining colored gumballs. The pig has to catch the gumballs, which will make his wings grow bigger and eventually fly. Different colors will do different things and give different point values.

    Green = jumps higher (able to reach blue gumballs at this level)

    Blue= grow wings (each gumball makes the wings grow bigger and bigger until the pig flies. Extra points for flying – then goes to the next level)

    Yellow = go faster

    Red (avoid) = makes wings smaller

    The ICON would be an animated pig with wings.

    Basic enough, but we have found these silly games to be quite addicting.

    Let us know what you think! 😀

  219. This is my entry for the contest. I have found your book very inspirational. I have been in the military for 13 years, and the points of view there as you can imagine are vastly different than the perspectives that you offer. Let’s just say that I like your perspectives better. Working for myself instead of for people that have fundamentally different ideas of what efficiency is is very appealing. On to my submission!!

    Find the money!! – Game

    Virtual reality can be fun. Reality is much more fun! Life is a game!

    Use this app to make money, while trying to beat your old high score!

    Search for Craigslist items and immediately evaluate whether you can make money with them. Works for yard sale treasures also! Post your auctions or ads instantly, and make your deals faster. Scoring works on the amount that your bankroll increases. The higher your score, the more money in your pocket! Learn about deal analysis, marketing, reselling, persuasion, and more! Program tracks the status of each deal, no more items building up in closets or garages.

    Pages needed

    My Deals Page – Spreadsheet style page to include cost, shipping, advertising, fees, price, profit, and selling route. This page will calculate values used in the rest of the program. Also tracks the status of deals, to remind you to take the next step.

    My Profile – Personal information and allows people to specify their tolerance for deals by either percentage of profit or by dollar amount. Shows personal best and worst deals.

    Craigslist Deal Page – Uses filters designated in the inventory section to search craigslist. Program uses the tolerance levels based in personal preferences to color code the deals by desirability. Allows adding of items to personal deals.

    Yardsale deal page – allows you to run a custom search right then, on Ebay auctions, google shopping, craigslist, and on similar items you have sold. Possible link to google goggles?

    Inventory – 2 sections: First allows you to define filters in plain English for searches.

    Second allows you to track your inventory, and keep notes on various items. Also allows entry of any value on the deals page. Items are linked to filters so that similar items can be found. Sets an instant buy alert level also

    Keywords – value to be entered manually or pulled from completed auctions on ebay with similar keywords, add shipping cost per item (link to inventory)

    Fees and shipping page – contains fee structure for ebay, and a shipping calculator. Also allows entry of shipping costs to be associated with completed deals, so that new deals can be compared by linking to filter.

    Link to Navigation program – takes address from ad or manually entered, map multiple destination routes

    Helpful Hints – Tips from ebay sellers, garage sale sites, shipping companies, etc.

    Future Upgrades –

    Support multiple sites (shopify etc.)

    Support outsourcing to taskrabbit if % profit high enough

    Support automatically calculating gas required to be included in final cost.

    Apps to get ideas from

    Craigslist app – search by keyword and min price

    Ebay app – search refined auction by keyword to get average selling price

    Yard Sale Treasure Map – multiple site navigation option, ability to scan craigslist ads for specific information


    Send alert when deal over x dollars or x percent profit is available

    Send alert when Auction is complete

    Allow instant posting to auction site or online store

    Contacts – add a link to contacts for repeat sellers

    Cool to hot color coding of deals based on percentage of resell profit


    -Graphics interface should show expected profit in big green letters across deals

    -Keywords: Ebay, craigslist, auction, resell, yard sale, collectibles, transactional management, reality, inventory control

    -Use Nag screen, restrict some options for the automated parts

    Main Page – Find the Money!

    Note: Thanks for using SCRIBD in your post, good find!

  220. My idea for an app draws off how celebrity obsessed we are as a culture. Especially because I live in LA, I see famous people all the time. However, a lot of times I know what films or shows that they’ve been on, but I can’t remember their name.

    I think a good solution to this would be an app that identifies celebrities by entering in their attributes (gender, race, approximate age) as well as what movies in which they starred. So for instance, you’re at Starbucks and you see the guy who played mafia boss Peter Abruzzi in Prison Break and the water gypsy in Nacho Libre (“The eggs, they give me no power, they give me no nutrients!”). Punch in some fields and you get a filmography, background and overview of the actor Peter Stormare… who incidentally is one of the great character actors of our time.

    IMDB has an Academic Performance Index (API) that’s available to the public and harnessing this database would provide the data needed for lookups. I also thought that crossmarketing opportunities would be very good by easily incorporating ads from Netflix and other streaming entertainment sites into the celebrity lookup pages. Finally, I thought about different price structures and I think that it would be feasible to have both an all-you-can-eat price structure at a fixed cost and a cost per search model.

    I don’t foresee “Who Dat” as an app that’ll topple Angry Birds. However, I do think that there is a built-in market for the product that will allow for steady downloads and plenty of opportunities for cross marketing that will make it a long term winner.

  221. How detailed do you want contest submissions? You mention the importance of NDA in your article a number of times. Thanks. 🙂

  222. *Contest Submission*

    My app idea is for a combination utility / prank app.

    Name idea: Butt Dialer

    Icon idea: cartoon butt sitting on mobile phone with %!#@ characters coming from the phone.

    Utility function: locking the phone to prevent accidental butt/pocket dialing.

    Possible alternative utility feature to record self reminders for later playback.

    Prank / fun function: Ability to record snippits of sound, or choose pre-recorded sounds, which can be layered into one recording clip which would be played as a joke to friends. It is difficult to put into words so here are some ideas and examples to help clarify….

    Pre-recorded sounds could be things like

    -the sound of a mic rubbing against jeans (simulating being butt dialed)

    -a voice saying “GOT CHA!” or “You’ve been Butt Dialed by_______!”

    -Random animal noises

    -Random screaming or riot noises


    The user would have the opportunity to record their own snips of sounds, as well as choose recording lengths in 20,30,60 second intervals.

    Let’s say Amy has Butt Dialer App and she wants to play a joke on her friend. She clicks the app, selects (or records) whatever sound files she wants to layer, previews the layered file and has an option to save it and then chooses which contact to play it to.

    The receiving friend may hear something like the sound of a phone rubbing against jeans while in the distance the sound of elephants and people rioting. And just when the receiver thinks “Wtf??” They hear “You’ve been butt dialed by Amy”.

    I picture the app being a touch to select sound bits, then seeing all sound clips on one “page” with the ability to adjust volume level of each layer.

    It may be a silly idea but some silly apps make it to the top (like ugly meter for example) so why not at least try it.

    I currently do not have the funds to pursue the idea because I’m laid off. 🙁

  223. APP TITLE: The Fluency Game

    Description: The ultimate app for anyone trying to master a second language! Sharpen your listening skills as you translate phrases from hundreds of native speakers. Race the clock, or go head-to-head with competitors from around the world.

    There are dozens of language apps on the market, but they are all essentially variations on either flashcards, or lessons. The Fluency Game fills a huge void in the niche of language apps, namely: Access to a vast collection of real, native speech. (As opposed to the exaggerated pronunciation by a professional voice talent that you get in a typical language course.)

    The Fluency Game truly plays like a game, as you try to transcribe the phrases you hear. No typing required…you choose each word from a pull down menu. Point system based on number of times you listen, speed, etc.

    Modes for ‘Practice’ vs ‘Play’. Also can choose your level. Game gets progressively tougher as phrases get longer, and as the “listening environment” changes. (Varying enviroments of background noise, starting from a whisper-quiet library in ‘Scene 1’ to a crowded cocktail party in ‘Scene 10’) It’s real, and it’s challenging. (This mimics popular games like ANGRY BIRDS or CUT THE ROPE, as they continue to add new elements to make things progressively more challenging.)

    The real genious of the app is that the content will be primarily user generated. My language company has enough pre-recorded phrases from English speakers, Russian speakers and Japanese speakers to get the ball rolling and launch the first version. As language learners get the app to practice one of those three languages, they will submit their own recordings to join the community, (and to get free upgrades.) This then builds out the other languages. In time, it would become a huge database of real, native speech for the major world languages….a very valuable asset.

    Another very cool aspect of the Fluency Game is the exposure to so many accents. For example, learners of English will be exposed to (and thus gain confidence with) U.S. accents like New York, Boston, and the Southern drawl, (etc) as well as English accents from all over…think: British, Scottish, Irish, Australian, South African, and so on. And the same goes for all languages. A Russian Moscow accent is very different from a Volgograd one, and so on. As a language learner and teacher, I would love to have this app!

    In short: The game challenges you with real language, from real speakers all over the world!

    Monetization is easy: Within the app, ads for high-dollar language courses can precisely target the users, each of whom is a very qualified prospect. Can also sell upgrades for more content.

    I have the entire presentation detailed in a 20 page doc with detailed pcitures and diagrams of the flow, and laid out in script form, for the demo video. There is a great social aspect to The Fluency Game, as well as cool secret bonuses for reaching certain milestones. (Again, think of the Golden Eggs that you get in ANGRY BIRDS) but I won’t detail these extras here.

    Thanks for the great article, Chad!

  224. Great article Tim & Chad. I am teaching myself to build apps at the moment. Although I have moved to the wonderful Caribbean island of St. Maarten, I still work 9-5. No creativity involved. I’ll be studying in my free time and hope to come up with something in a while.

    I love that in this industry, you don’t have to know about distributing et cetera… it could be a lot harder. Great opportunity to learn about markets and entrepreneurship.

  225. Title: Clique (or something along that line)

    The basic idea for this app is a group social gathering.

    I know there is E-vites and groups on Facebook. But I wanted to create something for the general public as a whole.

    I came up with this idea because I ride a motorcycle. My close friends got rid of their motorcycles so I am left alone. I always find myself posting a group meet or ride up on Bayarearidersforum.

    I would like to go on motorcycle rides with other people. And not always ride alone.

    So here would be the basics.

    login, and then you would post the activity. date, time, and meeting place. people can search based on area and activity.

    for example: 1: search by city or zip code.

    2: search by activity (Motorcycle Ride, Yoga Class, Sales event at a small retail store, Grand openeing, etc…)

    You then will be able see whoever posted an event and you can Rsvp on the app.

    As an event creator you will be able to post your setting and give a description about your event. You will also be able to put the min and maximum # of attendees.

    As an attendee you can just click on that event, read about it and then click to join or say you are attending.

    This can also help for small businesses such as a yoga instructor and open classes of some sort.

    I think it can be a great marketing tool for any small business.

  226. App idea: Music Geocaching

    App: “Cache” songs at various locations throughout the world. You would tag a location with a song that has some meaning to you and provide a brief description. People could tag inspirational music for nature areas, soothing music for traffic jam areas, music you heard where you had your first kiss, etc.

    -Users would tag their own songs and find other’s songs (you have to be at that location to hear the music).

    -You could have public tags and private tags you would share with your friends.

    -Create your own private music tags for roadtrips or personal running/biking routes.

    -Facebook integration to show everyone a new song they found

    -People could add comments to other tags leaving their “mark” adding to the user experience at that location

    Monetization: Free app, ads and affiliate links to iTunes for songs. “Virtual real estate”. If someone already tagged a song in a location you wanted, you could pay $0.25 to overwrite their song and place your tag-price would go up to $0.50, $1, $2, $4, etc to override the previous song. This could come up in dense areas like NYC. Local businesses could also pay for “sponsored” music caches to advertise some sort of deals or coupons.

  227. For starters: The worldwide demand for mobile health could translate to $1.3 billion in revenues in 2012, according to a study by research2guidance, mobile researchers and consultants.

    With that in mind…

    TRUE HEALTH app. This app educates and inspires you to strive for true health each and every day. I know there are apps that do things like encourage you to move or eat well – but they are all separate apps, separate downloads, separate settings, etc. This brings everything into one amazing content filled app.

    Included in it are 6 Components of True Health

    Proper Posture: Reminders to sit and stand correctly. Videos on stretches/exercises to promote good posture that can be done at work.

    Nutrition: includes True Health Grocery List of nutrient dense, fresh, whole foods which promote optimal health. Split into (Meat & Seafood/Veggies &

    Fruit/ Spices & Herbs/ Nuts & Seeds/ Fats & Oils/ Super Foods/ Liquids) also includes True Health Recipes

    Exercise: includes daily Exercise of the Day, these will promote whole-body functional movements as opposed to isolated body movements.

    Rest: Reminders to stop and breath, rest, meditate, can include functionality to turn off phone for short periods of time during the day.

    Positive Mental Attitude: Daily positive affirmations, photos, reminders, quotes.

    Brain-Body Connection: Reminders/recommendations to keep the pathway between brain and body clear and promote greater neurological health, prevention of spinal degeneration, optimum range of motion, and high performance. These would include Massage, Chiropractic, Functional Medicine, Acupuncture, Naturopathy,- with information and explanations of “terms’ you need to know for each field. As well as help in locating a qualified professional in each field (ie Paleo Physician Network).

  228. Thanks for the great article, good ideas so far.

    Here’s an idea for an app that would save lives – a designated driver app. This app would connect intoxicated people needing a ride home with sober volunteers willing to give rides. There would be a feedback/rating system (to help weed out the serial killers); drivers with an established feedback score could vouch for friends just starting out as a driver with no feedback.

  229. Hi Tim & Chad – fantastic post chock full of amazing information I printed mine off just so I could really get a good idea of this ‘appreneur’ concept.

    Here’s my app game idea –

    My current 9-5 is as a copier technician for large corporations, military installations and medium-sized office. If you work in an office setting you’ve probably had a run in with your office copier…we’ve all seen Office Space 🙂

    And because I do this as my day job I know how frustrating it can be when you have to get something finished only for the stupid copier to jam…and jam…and jam….makes you wanna just Crush it….

    Enter the game Crush the Copier.

    A game designed to let you finally take all those frustrations out on the copier without getting fired or actually damaging that $2500 machine. The object of the game would be to get your ‘job’ complete….points would be given for every complete job. But…hardly any job will get complete, so when the machine jams…or breaks down you can select an offering of weapons…err…. office supplies to crush it into finishing your ‘job’. Different office supplies will help it work better, while others will make it work worse. Choose your supply of choice to get your job complete.

    Once complete you move onto another level, which would be another type of copier, larger more productive (supposedly), but also equipped with more ‘bugs’ and jamming problems.

    It would be the ultimate release of frustration and anger towards the one office equipment you wish you could crush every single day.

    Crush the Copier would be along the lines of Whack Your Boss – lots of anger releasing, lots of destruction…and in the end the perfect stress reliever.

    Thanks for doing this Chad & Tim, your lifestyle paths are inspirational.

  230. Nice article Chad!

    My passions:

    I’m really passionate about behavior change and health and figuring out ways to make getting healthy fun. I’ve studied many of the behavior change paradigms and have applied them to my other app that was previously featured as New & Noteworthy in the App Store.


    My app idea is “Monster’s Mile.” Think meets Draw Something meets Pedometers. Monster’s Mile is a game to see who can travel 2000 steps first. Walk or move to earn coins and win battles against friends. When you download the app, you have the option to sign in with Facebook or with your email address. The next step is to make your monster.

    At first, you have 3 simple options to choose from. There is a simple on-boarding process that teaches you that when you walk, you earn coins (this also provides an immediate variable reward mechanism, and hooks users around the move/earn relationship in the game).

    Now it’s time for a Battle. You can start one by getting paired up with a random user like Draw Something or Words With Friends, or you have the option to invite a Facebook friend to a battle as well. You can join multiple battles at the same time similar to how you can have multiple Draw Something or WWF matches going on at once.

    Your homescreen on the app monitors how your battles are going by showing who is ahead in terms of steps. Click into the individual battle for a chat with your opponent or to “drop a bomb.” You can exchange coins for bombs to slow down your opponents progress. There is an obvious call to action button within the battle to buy more coins so that you can buy bombs to slow your opponent, or buy a new monster (similar to how you can upgrade your avatar in Also, monitor your stats by clicking on your Monster’s Profile to see your Win/Loss record as well as your all time coins.

    Not only is this a fun, simple, and interactive game that shows off many of the iPhone’s native features like the accelerometer (which Apple loves), but it also has a positive impact. It incentivizes people to get up and move and to have fun doing so. The design will be similar to or Toca’s Kitchen, which is a fun Japanese style that plays on people’s need to earn cute monsters as their avatars.


    The market for this app is huge. One of the more popular Health/Fitness apps is Zombie’s Run – and it’s $7.99! Searching Pedometer’s on the app store shows a ton of options. The cool thing is that it could be included in either Health & Fitness or Games. Kids will love it 🙂

    Pricing & Monetization:

    Free & ad-supported

    $.99 & no ads

    Both versions will utilize in-app purchases when it comes to buying coins to blast your opponent with a bomb or upgrading your monster to the countless cool options.

    Initial User Acquisition:

    -Viral acquisition through the Facebook channel

    -Affiliate promotion with other popular Health/Fitness apps or games

    -Tech/health & fitness press b/c of the new and unique angle of the game

    UX sketches available upon request!

  231. is a web app (currently undergoing major redesign and development, don’t judge by the current site!) that I will also be building out into a Mobile, Tablet and Facebook App.

    Becoming a parent forces us into a new reality that non-parents cannot comprehend. The responsibilities and demands consume much or most of the average parents’ time and resources; their social realm, free time, buying decisions and much more are all colored by parenthood. As such, this group’s needs and interests are often completely different from non-parents. Parents are also a very powerful demographic in terms of purchasing and spending. For these reasons, there should be significant opportunity to organize parents around similar interests and capitalize on that audience.

    The main mission is to facilitate collaboration between parents to encourage the village type connections that we no longer have in society, to make parenting more balanced, rewarding and less stressful.

    A parent entering their zip code opens up the site’s functionality:

    – Reveals parents in the proximity

    – Aggregation of anonymous check-ins to see what’s “happening” for parents on that day

    – Q+A

    – Local deals

    – Reviews and Recommendations

    – Events

    – Meet-ups

    – Play dates

    – Swapping

    – Buying / Selling?

    – Baby-sitter co-ops

    – Baysitter profiles and reviews

    – etc.

    Main Components:

    (1) Meaningful Interaction

    – Deeper discussion between parents in a Quora like environment, focused knowledge sharing and casual advice

    – differentiated from Facebook. Not surface level communication

    Site Example:

    (2) Relationships for Utility and Connection

    – Parents have many reasons to connect for practical purposes

    – Parents also desire to form ‘groups’ for connection and utility, for a variety of reasons

    Site Example:,

    (3) Local Activity and Event Aggregation

    – Technology: aggregation via APIs, crawling

    – User generated content: ‘tips’ and reviews from other user

    – Mobile: check-ins (anonymous to non-network) which leverage child age data for recommendations

    Site Example: Yelp

    (4) “Pinterest for Parents”

    – The profile needs to be more about the kids than the parents

    – While most social networks are about almost self-indulgence, this is other-indulgence.

    – Parents want to talk about and show off their kids and family life. Hence the “brag board” concept

    Site Example:

    * Once again, I am already developing the functionality with a programmer I hired, funded by an ex-employer (on a shoe-string budget though). Looking forward to developing the apps and then starting to market in the next 1-2 months.

    Thanks for your time Tim! Been a long-time fan…


  232. Hi Chad,

    My friend Dan and I were building on an idea. Here are the basic details:

    RadiU App Design Concept

    Jeff Macbeth | Dan Pingle

    Premise: Music Sharing – gives the functionality of being able to stream music via bluetooth/wifi/3G/LTE between friends or groups in real time. Individual devices play from one playlist or song. Ability to create an individual “channel” for others to listen to your playlists. Sharing channel adds a social media aspect.


    Apple TV – this app would use a similar concept as airplay – where each device can stream music and track information to one another.

    Instagram/Twitter but with music instead of pictures/Tweets

    Usage: conceptualized for use on ski hills where everyone is listening to their own music with headphones or earbuds but is still in a social environment and with friends. Could also be used for trainers streaming to clients at the gym, celebrities/artists to share music with listeners (followers), use as a podcast type sharing center for professors or other pre-recorded lectures- just tune into the right station and listen in from home. Also ability to share voice notes, other audio files.


    Would be integrated right into the iPod output selection – selected as a device like bluetooth in a vehicle or Apple TV

    Invitations to join could be established via text message invites, direct bluetooth connections or through a social networking interface.

    link to iTunes for each song allowing listeners to purchase songs they like – will increase purchases for lesser known artists encouraging viral awareness.

    Thanks for the consideration!

  233. Evo.

    Play for five, fight to strive.

    Evo is an old game taught new tricks and spiced up with wonderful graphics and a new concept.

    Ever play one of those games where your only goal is to grow? EA released it as a level in Spore. Countless online flash game producers released it with the fish in water paradigm. Essentially, the player goal is to consume smaller entities in order to grow their own.

    Evo is the first endeavor of this type of title to make it’s way to the appstore. Based entirely on tilt, evo rids itself of the menu and any buttons whatsoever.


    Evo begins immediately upon launching the app.


    The player navigates a planet through a sandbox level of stars, comets, asteroids, etc. in order to consume smaller space entities while challenging ones self to avoid gravity pulling stars and black holes. Small comets and asteroids cause the player to grow, large entities cause the player to shrink.


    There are two goals for players of evo.

    One. The self satisfaction and frustration of growing one’s planet and advancing through the stages outlined further down.

    Two. Base don speed and size, a player is awarded a score at the end of each play cycle which enable them to compete via leader board or even locally with friends and colleagues.

    Play for five, fight to strive.


    For concept art, ideas, and more in depth discussion on Evo gameplay mechanics, visit attached website.

  234. Hello.

    My idea is an app that can change the wallpaper for not only the iPhone but for the screens of the other computers as well. I have two points:

    I have done research to know that:

    – The wallpaper market is huge. The most popular wallpaper app I saw had 20k+ ratings which is more than 86% of the apps in the top 25.

    – This feature is unique.

    How it works:

    -The user selects the picture they want from their photo library or from the camera.

    -This would then set the background of the iPhone and any other computer linked to the app.

    For instance (as shown in my drawing) The user selects a flower as their picture. Instantly they will see their background on the iMac/Macbook/iPad change. This would use a dropbox-esque system to be seamless between the devices.

    A bonus feature could be to change the background of the iMac and macbook separately.

    Here are the drawings.

    Thank you for this opportunity and good luck to all of the people here.


  235. Great post and timely — thanks for the video on provisioning the app store.

    I read 4HWW (twice) at the beginning of the year and resolved to do it. Of the 40 or so ideas I came up with to get myself moving, the first was an iPhone app. I choose it because time is of the essence, and the risk was so low, and it seemed like a great project to shake me from my 9-5.

    The app is still in development — at least two weeks from being submitted to the App Store, so Chad, I’m gonna ask you consider it for your contest because although the money is already spent, I would value your expertise. If this comment helps any other first time designers, that’s great, too.


    Looked at the App Store to see what was selling, why, and how, and got advice from successful app developers. I didn’t want to throw up a website and see if I got clicks on a fake “buy now” button, and it didn’t really feel like a Kickstarter project so I did Google keyword searches to see what people are looking for. I noted that there were three apps in the store that addressed the general area, but not from the same angle I planned. Keyword results and an idea in hand, I did some wireframes and asked iPhone users for advice on flow.


    I put together an extensive mockup (download from to show potential coders exactly what I wanted (final art design resulted in some changes). This was really useful because it resulted in very accurate quotes and the explicit instructions helped narrow the field of potential coders by showing who could read and understand them. I built all the artwork myself to save money and time because (as has been noted in other comments) coders code, designers design. This was some great advice I got from Pat Flynn.


    I put the bid out on Elance and got good response. Narrowed the field on coders and hired someone. I did not do an NDA, but that was a considered decision. The coders are now working on the app, and I am happy with their work so far.


    I am building a website to drive sales. This has been a great exercise in updating my skills and studying SEO techniques. Chad, if you pick me, this is where my hour with you will be spent.


    It is designed to provide you with fodder for talk about the 2012 apocalypse. The app contains a countdown to the winter solstice, fun facts about why you should or shouldn’t worry, a user configurable alarm, and the ability to look of the time of the apocalypse in different time zones.

    So Chad, that’s it. Thanks for the advice and…pick me!

  236. My app idea solves a problem, or question almost everybody asks themselves!

    What do other people think about me?

    But, w/out the BS!!! It’s a combination of Yelp for the individual, and LinkedIn “Recommendation” – But…all anonymous, so as an individual, you cut through the crap, and get to know what people really think about you.

    People will give their honest opinion about others if they can do it anonymously. I know that some people with a personal vendetta against someone would be giving an opportunity to vent…BUT…that’s why the comments about an individual would be voted on. People could rank what they think is the best representation of each individual.

    I realize there are probably some issues with this that would have to be thought out yet…and maybe not everybody wants to truly know what others think of them….but who knows…maybe it would create a better world with people wanting to serve and treat others well because, just like a business…they can get a bad review!

  237. This article is simply amazing! I almost can’t believe the level of insight you’re giving for free! First time I’ve found something so detailed AND inspirational! The fact that you are willing to give as much detail as you have and host a contest without taking a revenue percentage…REALLY?! You can’t be that bad of a guy! Lol kudos to you good sir…I think you are of a rare breed.

    That’s why I’m open to give one of my ideas…regardless of possible interweb thievery,

    Here goes nothing!

    What if you could combine the wide market of Pokémon style monster battle gameplay w/ the popularity of location based check-ins? That’s the basis of my idea. It could be a paid or FREE game with an unlimited supply of revenue generation possibilities that I am not willing to disclose because you’re obviously not interested in that part…but I am willing to discuss it more just FYI.

    THAT’S THE IDEA, A location based character battle game similar to Pokémon…but could go other routes.

    Thanks for all of the insight your were so graciously willing to give – without even REALLY pushing your boo! You’re a great and brilliant guy in my eyes. THANKS!

  238. Hello,

    Great article, one of the best I’ve seen regarding app building advice. I completely agree with your use of outsourcing. On a tight budget it’s the only way to go. The more research you put in ahead of time into the product you need built, the better your outsourcing experience will be. On to the app I plan to build…

    Your generous offer of $5,000 is pretty spot on to the budget I require for the app I plan to build. A lean budget is challenging but it can be done. I decided to avoid the route of turn by turn gaming apps because of the extensive back-end database work required to store all progress between users. Although I have a few ideas I plan to execute in the future with this type of platform, right now I’m focusing my research on a simple app that is useful and can generate revenue.

    Problem: Throughout ever work week, there are so many things that pop into my head that I intend to tell someone specific about, but when I finally talk to them in person, I forgot what I wanted to tell them. I have asked several people if the same thing happens to them and indeed it does.

    Solution: A very simple app that allows you to add people as categories. Then under each person you can either record 30 second reminders of what you want to talk to them about or add text-typed comments. This app is capable of being opened while on a phone call since it will not require internet usage to function. Therefore, when the user meets with the person or is on call with them, they can pull up their reminders for that specific individual. Once they are no longer deleted, they can be removed from the list.

    The plan: I am currently in the phase of drawing up a wireframe for all the screens of the app as well as researching all the web/ios requirements that will be needed to run this app. If you would like documentation of this, feel free to let me know. Next, I will be outsourcing the work for the free app and a paid version without advertising. And finally I will use several avenues to get the name out to the target market I feel is best fit.

    Let me know if you have any questions, thanks for looking.

  239. What a great article, this is priceless


    I’m actually working as a developer at a video game company in latin america and with my brother we are designing an app to sell for our own, Our idea for an app involves some augmented reality in android and iOS phones.

    we want to create a way to display presentations like this one:

    When I talk about augmented reality I mean something like this:

    Instead of using QR codes I’m planning to use GPS coordinates, people will use their device iphone/android/ipod to visualize the presentation through it like watching through a window to other world, this presentations could be tributes, different animations, T-shirts ads by QR codes, could be advertisements like for example an advertisement campaign saying that 2 superheroes will be fighting in a certain beach at a certain time, this to promote a movie, the ad animation will be hidden to the public but if you use the app you can watch into this other world and checkthe huge animation that is happeing at that beach and enjoy the show like the castle in the video I pasted. I visualize it as a community following cool presentations like this one, gathering around places that will be promoted through the community to check this presentations. The presentations will be 3d models provided by the client companies that want to promote their products or will be provided by us as special events like google doodles to keep the people moving and with a eye on the community

  240. I would like to create a app that combines the aspects of the top social media sites and make if for GREEK letter organizations. I have found on a lot of Greek forum boards that when other Greek Fraternity and Sororities are traveling out of town they are constantly asking if anybody has any contact info for other members in the city they are going to visit. Most Greek Organization like partying with like minded people.

    I thought it would be nice to be able to allow Greek letter member the ability to find these members just by receiving updates as soon as their phones recognize what city they are in. They will also be able to check in (like foursquare) which will also allow members in the city to know are there. I also would like the app to be able to allow members to post events on a type of posting and people in that city or surrounding areas will be able to get notifications of any type of party, community service or relevant news from other Fraternities or Sororities (Facebook style).

    Lastly I would like them to be able to create a friend network which will allow them to keep up with new and current friends in the different states and towns they have visited (Facebook and Twitter).

    1. Hi George, we are working , testing , an app for finding your friends , where they are and so on. It will be very interestig to start developing this app for greek people. in case you can help us with the traslation from english to greek we can do somethink about that. write to me at