What Makes a Seven-Figure Idea?

Software development has proven to be the source of numerous seven-figure ideas, where the projects started as thoughts but then ballooned into giants. This article looks at how software development can turn ideas into money-making machines. 

Launching an app and taking it to great heights is similar to launching any other business. Proper planning and execution are essential, but there are some consistencies between most of the world’s most valuable programs. In this article, we talk to Matt Rudge, a Senior Product Developer at Code Institute. Matt has explored this, listing the six simple rules which some of the world’s biggest programs have followed. But, before we get to that, let’s look at some existing seven-figure ideas. 

Twitter

Did you know that Jack Dorsey started Twitter as a communications idea in early 2006? It was initially called Twttr and was used exclusively by a podcast company called Odeo to send short messages among people in the company. By July 2006, Dorsey opened Twitter to the public. By 2007 they were reaching 60,000 tweets per day. 

Now, let’s fast forward to 2022. Sources say that Twitter has as many as 330 million active users monthly; apparently, as many as 6,000 tweets are sent every second. Mind blown! But how do we know it was a seven-figure idea? Well, in April 2022, Elon Musk struck a deal with Twitter to purchase the company for $44billion. 

Wordle

Have you ever heard of Wordle? Of course, you have – and if you haven’t, it’s time to look. Wordle became the must-play game by the end of 2021 and has become so popular that The New York Times Company bought it. According to The New York Times, it went for an “undisclosed price in the low seven figures”.

Here’s the thing. Wordle started as a game that software engineer, Josh Wardle, created for himself and his partner in 2013. Apparently, by 2014, he lost interest in it and set it aside. Then, while the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in lockdowns, he decided that Wordle was to be unleashed. 

It was published on the web in January 2021 and grew virally by October 2021. According to Wikipedia, “over 300,000 people played Wordle on January 2, 2022, up from 90 players on November 1, 2021, a figure that rose to over 2 million a week later.” 

Six Things That Seven Figure Apps Have in Common

Wordle and Twitter are excellent examples of how software development can create seven-figure ideas, but those examples are just two of many. Think Facebook, Amazon, eBay, and more. Most of them start with an idea and a software developer. We interviewed Matt Rudge from Code Institute about his tips and rules for creating that money-making app. 

What key things should developers bear in mind when considering whether an idea will succeed?

  • Build for usability first: 
    Wordle was originally built by the developer for his partner before making it publicly available. 
  • Keep things simple: 
    Focus on the concepts and ideas that are easy for the user to grasp.
  • Just Keep Shipping: 
    The project does not need to be 100% complete – or have all of the features you have in mind – before you ship. Being first to market is often enough to build a loyal user base. 
  • Involve the user: 
    Users feel more engaged and supportive of a project if they feel involved from the start. Consider ways you can involve your users in ongoing development or bug fixes.

What level of coding skill is required for smaller ideas such as Wordle or Flappy Bird?

Wordle and Flappy Bird both have very small codebases. Developers could implement each in less than a couple of hundred lines of code. You don’t need years of experience to write a basic implementation of a game like Wordle or Flappy Bird. Both took a straightforward idea, but one that was new and caught people’s imagination.

What level of coding skill is required for bigger ideas, such as Twitter?

A larger project, such as a social network, requires more experience – and, more often than not, more than one developer. 

Getting a simple social network off the ground is not too difficult in the initial stages. Full-stack software development frameworks like Django make it relatively easy to implement. However, the real challenge lies in building defences against hacking and making the project scalable to thousands or even millions of concurrent users.

Are there any points/aspects that successful ideas tend to have in common?

Successful ideas are often simple but well-implemented. They have what is known as “juice”. Juice is the little payoff or reward that a user may only register unconsciously but keeps them returning for more. 

Take Wordle, for example. Wordle’s juice is its pleasant and cheerful little animations. The next time you play Wordle, notice how the letters reveal themselves. When you win, notice the little bouncing letters animation. These animations are not strictly necessary, but they improve the playing experience. 

Successful ideas pay attention to the user experience. Far from the Hollywood image of a programmer sitting down at the computer and bashing out an entire program, successful projects are well-planned to deliver the features and experience that will keep a user coming back.

If you have an idea but lack the skill, what are some ways that you can bring the idea to life?

Plenty of freelance software developers will take on an idea and code it for you. However, you really can’t beat the feeling of having built something yourself, though. For this, many software development courses will take you from a beginner to a competent programmer. You’d then be able to produce at least a working model of your project. If you chose the right course, you’d be able to bring it to completion as well.

Get started on your Seven-Figure Idea.

If you think you have a seven-figure idea, why not get started? Code Institute offers a free coding challenge that teaches users how to build a webpage after just one hour a day over five days. You’ll learn the basics of HTML, CSS and JavaScript on your journey. So register now through the form below and start on your potential unicorn on Monday. Alternatively, if you want to learn more about our Full-Stack Software Development programme, download the brochure here

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