I loathe products that don’t actually do something. And so many startups don’t really do something. They do some thing. But they don’t do something. What does that mean? Well, let’s talk about some apps. Let’s talk first about the good ones. Let’s talk about IFTTT. If This Then That is a web app and accompanying app that allows you to automate or streamline a series of processes. For example, you can set up a “recipe” whereby every time that ESPN posts a new story about the Edmonton Oilers on their website, your Twitter account will automatically create a new tweet about it. Dunno is a new app that allows the user to type in a search term and then minimize the app which will search for that and aggregate the results into a collection of news articles, google search pages, image searches and twitter accounts…while you’re playing Angry Birds. But.
There’s a whole host of apps that are just absolutely awful. And they are, unfortunately, in some cases incredibly popular. For example, every time that someone shows me what my face would look like if I was old, or a zombie, or fat…ter… I un friend that person. Not on some sort of social network. Like actually in real life. There’s no button. I just walk away and don’t text them anymore. Similarly, I doubt your partner will be pleased when you’re constantly referring to your new 1001 Sex Positions app… call me crazy. Many startups are so interested in the solution that they ignore the fact that the solution that they have found is for a problem that doesn’t actually exist.
Finally, I love to create. I’m personally working on a “startup” right now although I’m going to try my best to not call it a “startup”. And this is what startups are about. We live in an incredible time where anything that you can imagine, you can probably find people who will help to make that possibility a reality. You could not do this 100 years ago. Heck, you couldn’t have done this 10 years ago. We live in an amazing time and the great startups realize this and they’re not just sitting back and enjoying. They’re taking an active role in making the world a better place, one wacky, half-cocked idea at a time.