For a Prayer of App Store Success, FOCUS is king!

In many if not most smartphone categories, there are already more than enough apps to go around. In recipes, for example, iTunes already boasts more than 900 apps…and adds about 75 more every six months.  So if you have a brilliant recipe app idea, think really hard. In all likelihood, if it’s not focused on something really special, your’re probably dead.  (How about “hit this button and a French chef will jump out of your iPhone!)

One of my best-ever MBA class students, Will Falcon, a stellar Columbia engineering student and entrepreneur, wrote a great treatise on the issue of focus, based on experience in his hot app development shop. It’s well worth a read, guaranteed…

How Focus Helped Flic Dominate the Apple App Store
My Co-founder and I met Brandon in a coffee shop outside the Meat Packing district in Manhattan. After a brief introduction, he jumped right into explaining the project he wanted to hire us to build, Flic. Within minutes it became clear why this app was going to succeed.

At our boutique mobile development shop — Harlem App Collective — my Co-Founder and I hear pitches from entrepreneurs every day. Over time, I’ve learned to identify apps that I want to build and entrepreneurs I want to work with. The biggest trait I look for in a potential project/client is focus.
Even if you’re not building photo apps, there’s nothing more important than a tight, narrow focus for your smartphone app…after all, there are already more than 900 “recipe management” apps on itunes. The world hardly needs another, and if it’s going to have a prayer of success, it needs to be truly focused and magical. Imagine an app where you hit a button and a french chef jumps out of your iphone and starts cooking the best meal you’ve ever eaten.

Here’s a good look at the reasons why this is so important at the start of your app development thinking, according to a fabulous former student who’s an even better app developer, Will Falcon of nyc’s hac studios. Learn more directly from him via

Flic’s value proposition is laser focused. Its mission is crystal clear — to help you delete photos from your camera roll. Flic is not crammed with 30 features. It isn’t 12 apps rolled into one (#sorryImNotSorryFacebook). Focused functionality translates into fast development — we built Flic in just 3 weeks.

“Fast development saves you tons of money and makes my job more enjoyable”

Fast development saves you tons of money and makes my job more enjoyable. I re-write less code and don’t build features that will go unused. It also means you can Fail Fast, as my Lean Launchpad professor Bob Dorfwould say. Thus, you can try your next idea or watch this one dominate the App Store.

Focus also makes apps intuitive. Most people will not use 80% of your features (pareto principle), so why build them? Your apps are too complicated if you have to rely on a tutorial to explain functionality. Flicuses a one-page welcome screen to improve the user experience and not to explain the app. Do not waste your money on apps that will confuse users.

If you take away one thing is to not spend ANY money on development until you have focused your idea and crystalized your vision. If a development shop is eager to onboard you without trying to poke holes in your idea, run away!

Download Flic at:

Harlem App Collective is a Design centered, mobile development shop in Manhattan, NY. Reach us at

William Falcon
William Falcon


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