How to Execute Grand Ideas

“I want to build an Uber+Whatsapp+Konga. I also want it to fly”

The subtext of this title is an over exaggerated but not uncommon request we hear from people that have contacted us to build something. The Ideas we have received span from “this is genius” level amazing to “have you really thought this through?” However to get to my point, I will start by stating the problem with “ I want to build an Uber+Whatsapp+Konga”

Two things I find interesting when I hear ideas like these are;  Primarily, I question the understanding of whether the person is aware of what it takes to build an Uber as a business, let alone adding the logistics complexity of Konga and engineering finesse of Whatsapp. It is Impossible to combine three mega companies into one just with an app.

Also, I will call it “wanting too many things”. Creating an app with so many features at first is likely to lead the user into dumping the entire thing. If you have a look at the most successful apps, they do one thing really well and then have secondary features around that one thing. An example is Instagram, which at the moment has Stories, Boomerang, Timelapse and many other features. However, let’s not forget that the basic core feature of “Take a picture, Add a filter and upload.” still exists but with  other auxiliary features around it, thus improving the product and making it more exciting for the users.

I spoke with developers that have created successful apps to understand the secrets and what makes all the difference when creating something that people use everyday. 


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Start Simple

Building an app that combines Uber, Whatsapp and Konga together might seem like a great idea but it might not go very far. It may end up being a waste of manpower and a burden to the consumers. You want to be able to do one thing and one thing well.  For example, if you want to build an app that lets anyone get any reliable service worker (Plumber, Painter, etc), don’t be fancy with including things that don’t add value to the initial objective or to the consumer. Just work on getting the user a reliable service worker. It might be fantastic to add “automated verification, ratings or Location tracking on map” to start with but you have to still achieve the main objective. Build a simple app that let’s people get X person in 30 mins or less. When tons of people have started using that, then build more features. Grand ideas start really small and simple.


Work On Your Idea In The Shortest Time Possible

Having a working prototype or something you can start selling to your real customers within a short timeframe is essential. When building an app, you need to plan and make sure that everything fits into a timeline of at most 12 weeks. If it cannot then you need to reconsider your idea or cut out some of the auxiliary features. It’s that simple. Remember, time is money and if you’re not wasting money then you shouldn’t be wasting time either.


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Focus on retention

If you’re building a “social network”, you need to make something that is as compelling to use as Facebook, Twitter, Whatsapp, Snapchat and Instagram. Creating an app that’s as addictive as these apps automatically translates to you having the audience’s attention. You want to make something that people want and would be excited about, and also within a reasonable budget. So know your target audience, focus on meeting the barest of needs and then make progress from there.


Finally, I would like to reiterate the need for you to test out your product as quickly as possible. There’s nothing more important than validating your idea with a bunch of customers. They will help shape what the product should be but make sure you do not stray too far from your objective. Launch an MVP and let your customers shape the model, adapt their suggestions, improve on it and grow from there.


Devcenter partners with excellent software programmers and dedicated project managers to build world class products.

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Working at Devcenter; at the intersection between Business, Sales, and Growth. Also trying out this writing thing, sharing as much I can about how we are building what the future of work will look like in Africa.