Jason Bosco

Full Stack Web Developer ; Generalist

The Exposure-Usefulness Theory of Apps

Here’s my theory: “The usefulness of ANY app is directly proportional to the amount of exposure it receives, i.e., the number of people who try the app out, assuming the app is bug free.”

My observations so far seem to corroborate this theory. Why else would any company invest in marketing? Every company believes that if they could reach out to the right people, their app would be successful. In doing so, they try to reach as many people as they can to get to the right set of people. Exposure-Usefulness.

All of use have unique tastes and preferences. Wouldn’t there be atleast a handful of people on the face of the planet who would find a particular app useful to them? The very reason the app exists is that someone from that set of people thought it would be useful and decided to make build it. Exposure-Usefulness.

For several startups, two items on their marketing checklist I imagine would be: “Get to the front-page of HN” and “Get featured on TC”. Their idea is to get their app to a large audience. They of course don’t expect everyone in the audience to like it. But well, if they could atleast get a few people interested, that’s good enough for a start. Exposure-Usefulness.

To see if this Exposure-Usefulness theory actually stands good, here’s an experiment: What if, we had a platform in which app developers post links to their apps - apps of all platforms. And we have a review / commenting system. So you could call it a HN just for developers to unabashedly talk about their apps. And no the exisiting HN doesn’t seem to be the right place for this because, the sheer volume of news articles and the “don’t spam the system” comments seem to discourage people talking about their apps. HN is a news site and let it stay that way. Let it not be polluted by developers trying to get exposure for their apps. Instead, we need a HN just for developers to talk about their apps with no one telling them to stop spamming. 

With such a platform in place, and sufficient audience viewing the apps posted, would every app posted there be useful? I have reason to believe so.