Introducing Nice & Mean: My 10-Hour iPhone App Experiment

Some teams spend a year or more crafting an iPhone app that uses every ounce of their good taste and development talents. These apps are big gambles and a big payoff is needed to justify all the expense and self-sacrifice.

Other teams crank out apps every few weeks, throwing the proverbial app at the wall to see what sticks. To be frank, most of these apps are ugly and useless and they bring the overall bar of the App Store lower and lower. Unfortunately, some huge successes in the App Store have fell into this category: apps that nearly every developer has taken a look at and said, "I could build this in a weekend!"

The most recent trend-cum-scam in the App Store is the faux security app where you build background images that look like an Android lock screen graphic. These apps just make images, they don't really do anything related to security. Tens of thousands of people have bought these apps under the guise of enhanced security but, inevitably, leave low-star reviews when the app doesn't actually do anything it says in the description.

Which brings me to Nice & Mean.

10 Hours, 1 App

After discussing these Android-lock-screen-maker apps with my friend Kyle, I told him I wanted to do a little experiment: I wanted to build an app in about 10 hours that was made "for the masses" to see how it might do. I don't know why, but the first thought that popped into my mind was an app that showed reaffirming, positive messages to the user after they press a big red button. Very exciting. So I started working on it and I gave myself a maximum timeframe of about 10 hours to design it and code it.

After the design was done and the app was mostly developed, at about 2am one morning, I woke up with an idea. Why just show nice phrases? Why not show mean ones, and do the whole yin/yang good/evil thing? It adds a new dimension to the app and it might expand the audience to a wider demographic. So after a little bit more time than I had originally planned for, I had a finished app. Two sides, each has a big red button. One side tells the user Something Nice, the other tells them Something Mean. The icon uses the well-known greek tragedy & comedy masks.

May I present Nice & Mean, an app that can brighten your day (or ruin it!) depending on which side of the app you use. Find Nice & Mean in the App Store.

An Experiment

I have no idea what to expect. It could sell 10 copies, 100 copies or 10,000 copies. People might love it, they might hate it, they might think it's dumb or they might think it's hilarious. All I know is that even though it's a simple app, I put a lot of thought and polish into it. I don't know how it will sell, but I do intend to write a follow-up after a few weeks.

Stay tuned.

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