Simplicity, Ingenuity, & Gumption

One of the things I love, mostly due to my other regular online writing job is that I often get sent previews of apps that are not yet released to the public. Sometimes, these are offers to get in on the beta test, sometimes it is a link to download the app to check it out and give my feedback, sometimes, it is just a pitch for an idea for an app.

It is the last of these that I especially love because a great app begins with a great idea. And, while I see a lot of good ideas showing up on my digital doorstep, on very, very rare occasions a great one shows up. Ones that, once seen, I literally burst out laughing with glee and excitement. Though almost always sworn to secrecy, which I always keep, it is these apps that test such resolve the most.

I’ve started to notice a trend with the apps that garner my personal praise. Some traits that they almost always share. These would be:

  • Simplicity — They are almost always dead simple apps. They usually only do one or two things, really. Yet, the thing they do is almost always a very useful thing. The interesting thing is that it is often the case that there are many other apps already that do those same one or two things. Which brings me to…

  • Ingenuity — What sets these apps apart is that what they do they do not only well but in a way that no one has yet thought of. Then, once you see the way these apps do that thing you know instantly that it is the right way to do it and you wonder why no one else has done it that way before. Because, it is obvious that it is the way it should be done. Then, it occurs to you that the reason no one else has done it is that no one else has had…

  • Gumption — The gumption to not only think of the best way — the now obvious way —but the willingness to do the hard work to get it done. Because the right way sometimes takes courage, or time, or is just a plain straight-up hack. But, gumption is what it takes to get the job done.

And when these three traits come together… Ooh boy! You might have a great thing on your hands. And the world needs more great things.

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