Why do some people overcome challenges and find sources of ingenuity and innovation to develop new business ideas and build extraordinary lives for themselves? While others flounder through life never fully using their talents or skills, existing not living.
It is always refreshing to hear success stories. I attended a networking breakfast yesterday, it was put on by our local small business development programme. Two people had interesting stories to tell. One had left a life long career working for other people to go it alone as a professional, the other expanded her small business into new markets. I will be writing more about their success in a future post.
Just to prove that there are business opportunities hidden in the most mundane and basic activities, I was reading in James Altucher’s newsletter about a young entrepreneur who has developed a “BM Tracker” app for smart phones. Apparently these sell for $2.99 a time. I was mystified by the term “BM”, reading further, I discovered it refers to Bowel Movements.
No this is not an excerpt from some form of toilet humour, enough people are interested in tracking their “BMs” that this app is selling well. My curiosity aroused, I searched the iTunes app store, there are a number of these apps, some free, others at $4.99 and more.
If any one had told me that people would pay good money for an app to measure something as basic as a necessary bodily function, I would have thought them mad. While appreciating the benefits of our systems being “regular”, my first though was that a simple notebook and pen would do the trick. But of course, I am from the pre-smart phone generation, a baby-boomer, old enough to be from the pre-cell phone of any type era.
Monitoring “BMs” is becoming an essential activity, it’s being promoted by health experts, in some circles it’s practiced more than monitoring exercise schedules or daily running distances. Where will this go next? Facebook groups or G+ circles to compare “BM” schedules? The apps themselves monitor more than just the occurrences and timing, they monitor other aspects of the function too nauseatingly gross to disclose here without a warning for sensitive readers. I suspect that if I was so inclined I could find a few blogs devoted to the subject.
Shows how important it is not to assume that our own biases are shared by others. My sons in their thirties have all sorts of “baby” apps on their smart phones that monitored foetal growth before birth, weight, length and other stuff, after. Strange that the fathers survived quite well before the first smart phones or apps were invented, but now see the apps as essential for their own babies. My elder son has a huge range of free and paid apps on his phone.
Working from home and now having a tablet as well as a desktop computer, I have removed the ability to receive emails and texts from my Blackberry, now it is just a somewhat large and cumbersome ‘dumb” phone. It is not as convenient to use for simple phone calls as the bottom-of-the-range Nokia I bought in the UK for next to nothing to use as a temporary pay-as-you-go phone while visiting there. When the Blackberry “dies” or my contract expires, I will gladly survive with the small and simple Nokia.
Personally, I cannot understand why anyone wants to look at a website on a minuscule screen on a phone, or why anyone wants to be able to tweet or update every waking moment. But I also recognise that billions of younger people who have grown up with the new technology and new ideas about being continually connected think completely differently.
To survive and prosper in the new era, we have to accept that designing a new app is more likely to create a fortune than inventing a better mousetrap. Even if we cannot see the point or need for many of these apps ourselves, our younger customers can.
Are you an app addict? Tell us your thoughts.
p.s. I recorded this as a podcast, if you would like to hear the post, read with my unique accent, click on the player below.
Graphic courtesy of David Castillo Dominici / FreeDigital Photos.net