Building an App in 10 days- Finding a problem worth solving

This is a new series that I started for individuals who have an idea for an App and have no clue how to approach it either because they don’t understand the technology, the business, or where to start. I documented my adventure building EventPrizeFinder.com, a simple web app that we launched for use at the upcoming SAPPHIRE NOW + ASUG Annual Conference, which took us 10 days from conception to completion.

Step 1 To Building and App is Identifying a Problem before the Solution

Before you start coding, printing T-Shirts, and hiring logo designers, you need to find a legitimate problem worth solving. In my 10 day app development adventure, I had one problem…

THE PROBLEM

How can I add value to the attendee and exhibitor interaction at a trade show?

If you have ever been to a trade show, especially one like SAPPHIRE NOW + ASUG Annual Conference you know that it is sensory overload. Looking at what people do at trade shows:

  • Learn
  • Sit in presentations
  • Drink alcohol
  • Network
  • Visit exhibitor booths
  • Absorb a lot of marketing

While I wish I could invent an app that would cure hangovers, instead I focused on the attendee to exhibitor experience and how I could try to improve how exhibitors can reach attendees.

DEFINE SUCCESS CRITERIA:

In our case the goal for solving this problem was simply to drive more traffic to exhibitor booths, including our own. The only way to do that is to put the app in the hands of attendees, which is easier said than done.

If you want something to go viral it needs to be one of three things:

1. Very funny or entertaining

2. Stir up lots of controversy

3. Extremely useful

SOLUTION:

With a legitimate problem to be solved, now finding a solution is the next challenge. The solution has nothing to do with apps, technology, or the nuts and bolts.. Sometimes the solution is obvious but other times it is not. The solution to your problem should be simple and clear enough that you can summarize it in one or two sentences…

Knowing my solution needed to provide value to two groups of people with opposite needs (exhibitors and attendees), my solution was ultimately to give access to something that most attendees want… FREE PRIZES AND GIVEAWAYS. Exhibitors are generally happy to raffle off prizes to reel exhibitors to the booth, so the solution is provide a hook in the form of an app? The concept of “PrizeFinder” is born!

HAS SOMEONE SOLVED THE PROBLEM YET?

You have a real problem, you have a sound solution, and a million ideas of how to make it the greatest app since Angry Birds. Has someone already beaten you to the punch? “There’s an App for that” exists for a reason, meaning there are other smart individuals like yourself who are hungry to solve similar problems.

Now you need to put yourself in the shoes of someone looking for your app and hit Google thoroughly  If you find something similar to your solution, can you should ask your self:

Can you do a better job building the app?
Can you do a better job putting your app into the hands of those people you are solving the problem for?

In my case, I originally hoped there was some technology that I could plug and play for the event, but I found nothing.. Time to put my ideas on paper..

DAY 2 COMING SOON: Putting your ideas on Paper

In the next post in this series, I will talk about putting your idea on paper to assess if you should still build your app.

 

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