Building the Right Mobile App

A free six-part email course—learn to build mobile apps your users are happy to pay for

Makers, does this sound familiar?

You think of a brilliant app idea — something you would want to use yourself. You head into the den and dedicate a few weeks or even months to coding up a solution. Then you throw your product onto the app store, hoping that the app store gods will feature it. The downloads start trickling in, and suddenly it’s time to monetize. So you experiment with a few new features, but none of them really stick—mainly because you’re unsure which features your users would spend money on. Maybe one day your app will take off, but you’ll have no idea how to replicate such success in your next big idea.

You are not alone — countless mobile apps are built this way everyday. Many mobile developers are satisfied when people download and use their apps, but rarely are they able to turn downloads into a sustainable revenue stream and loyal customer base.

I’ve talked to too many developers and designers who focused solely on implementation and ended up building beautiful apps that don’t solve real problems. There are apps we build for fun — to satisfy a curiosity, learn a new concept, or play with a new library. It’s how many of us learned to create mobile apps. Unfortunately, when we’re ready to launch our first mobile businesses, we continue to take the same approach: dream up a cool idea, then follow it up with countless hours of coding. If nobody downloads the app, we “fix” it by adding new features, resulting in the following cycle of death:

Product Death Cycle by @davidjbland

I’m here to offer an alternative approach. Instead of starting with a cool idea and building a slick but maybe not entirely useful product, we will focus on identifying a viable commercial opportunity upfront and then building a sustainable business around it. We want our users to use our product, love it, and tell their friends about it. We will do it not by building fancy features, but by solving users’ problems.

Everything I talk about in this course pertains to what you do before you write your first line of code. The end goal is to create mobile app solutions your users will both love and pay for.

If this resonates with you, sign up below to immediately receive the first lesson.

Here's what you'll learn

  • Lesson 1: It’s All About Empathy

    Understanding your users is the first step to success.


  • Lesson 2: Solve the Right Problem

    Refining our idea by solving your users' most painful problems.


  • Lesson 3: What Job Is the User Hiring Our App To Do?

    Using the Jobs-to-be-Done framework to think about your app in brand-new ways.


  • Lesson 4: Talk to Humans

    Validating and further refining your idea by talking to potential users—and then prototyping and getting feedback on your solution.


  • Lesson 5: Testing at Scale—The Landing Page

    Building a compelling landing page to test your app’s value proposition and start building an early adopters base.


  • Lesson 6: Testing at Scale—Facebook Ads

    Honing in on your product’s positioning by testing your value proposition at scale.

What the readers are saying

Kim Gardner
Agile Coach at New York Times
The content in this course is invaluable even for larger organizations. Read it before you start building!
Daniel Grieve
Creator of Hall of Storms
I'm glad that I came across this course before shipping my first iOS app. Engineering can only take you so far, make sure to read this before you launch.
Tim Lombardo
Product manager at Pivotal Labs
I've been using the learnings from this course for both my work and personal projects. Definitely recommend it to any makers of digital products.

About the author

I’m Feifan Wang, a web and mobile developer by trade. I learned most of these techniques building and launching web businesses for employers, clients, and myself. As a developer, I love building and tackling technical challenges.

As makers, the urge to build can derail our journey to product-market fit. I had been burned many times building complex features nobody needed. Through trial and error, I’ve learned to build products around human needs, instead of cool animation libraries.

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