We all have our heros. Richard Branson taught us why neckties are the worst. Steve Jobs demonstrated that simplicity can build an empire. Bill Gates proved that a diploma doesn’t forecast success – and that sometimes nerds can win the whole game.
Yet today we want to focus on another hero of ours – Ron Swanson.
Fictional character of the hit NBC TV show Parks and Recreation, Swanson is a no nonsense guy’s guy. A meat eating, Europe hating, screw-the-government, breakfast food enthusiast. While much of the humor spouted by the anarchist character is heavily tongue in cheek, there’s a lot to be learned about web and mobile app development from the father of stoic narcissism.
Here are a few nuggets of Swansonian wisdom that can guide you in your iOS and/or Android application development quest:
1. “Never half-ass two things. Whole-ass one thing.”
One of the most important things when building an app is understanding that you aren’t building a super robot that can accomplish everything there ever was. You won’t develop the Tweeting LinkedIn integrated CRM with chat functionality throwing Angry Birds that Crush Candy.
Find your niche and get good at it. Not just a little bit, but REALLY good at it. You won’t please every user but if you can hone in on what makes your niche users fall in love with your app, that is how you will experience viral growth.
2. “Turkey can never beat cow.”
A little context, Ron Swanson and Rob Lowe’s health nut character face off in a hamburger cook-off. Swanson simply uses a traditional bloody beef burger with nothing on it. Meanwhile Lowe goes above and beyond with ingredients, fancy spices, flashy decorations, and generally puts far more effort dressing up his burger-mimick than Swanson ever did.
Who won? Swanson with his beef burger.
Regardless of how much effort Lowe muscled into dressing up the turkey imitation, he still was working with the wrong
product – and his audience knew it. Your audience is just as aware, and will see right through your product if you don’t do it right. Now there are two things we want to point out here:
- Be original – don’t copy another application.
While we believe in the idea of borrowing brilliance, we don’t believe in being a copycat. Facebook is the Facebook of all the Facebooks, so don’t build another Facebook. Make sure your idea is different enough to solve a real problem in the marketplace and is the solution people are looking for and can be excited about.
- Don’t hire a second-tier development team – go for quality.
As the turkey burger is inferior to the beef burger, so are unproven developers to the experts. In mobile app development, finding the right developer who knows what they are doing may seem expensive on the face of the project. But in our experience, we have had client after client come to us lamenting the hiring poor developers to save a few pennies on the surface, only to pay for their mistakes and go to the experts in the end anyway. Do it right from the start to save yourself time and money.
3. “Crying: Acceptable at funerals and the Grand Canyon.”
Building an app is a long, well worth it process, filled with unexpected roadblocks and sometimes unforeseeable problems. We previously discussed the obstacles you may face in developing your application but in sum, remember to keep a cool head and know there will be challenges. This will enable you to lead your team with patience and end up with the product you all were hoping for. The point here is not to freak out and yes, the development process can sometimes be tough.
Through the same vein, Swanson gives us another good example of demonstrating toughness. During a typical meeting, to relieve an alleged toothache Swanson grabbed a pair of pliers. After moments of shaky tugging and pulling, he yanked out his own tooth. As his colleagues horrified shrieks faded down the hallway from fleeing the room, Ron turned to the camera to state, “It’s always a good idea to demonstrate to your coworkers that you are capable of withstanding a tremendous amount of pain.” Touche Ron, touche.
4. “There’s only one thing I hate more than lying: skim milk. Which is water that’s lying about being milk.”
It’s not uncommon for salespeople to over promise what their product can do. However the companies that really get ahead are honest with what they offer and clear about their application’s capabilities. When you get to the final marketing process of your mobile or web application, maintain integrity in your marketing. Being honest about your finished product is what can earn you lifetime, loyal users.
Overall, building a web or mobile application is a process. Many steps must be considered and many people will be involved – but you can do it. And now that you have completed our bacon lover’s guide to app building, may we offer one final blessing from Swanson:
“Under my tutelage, you will grow from boys to men. From men into gladiators. And from gladiators into Swansons.”
Have questions on getting started on your mobile app, or already started and a little stuck? Ping us here and let us know how we can help.