A Legendary App Idea from a Pair of High School Entrepreneurs
Editor’s Note: Alex and Matt are high school seniors from Larkspur, Calif., just north of San Francisco. They recently emailed ArcTouch with an app idea — to help people discover local urban legends in different regions — as part of a class project. Their cleverly written email, shown below, was one of the best (and most humorous) pitches we’ve ever read – so we invited them to join us at HQ for a brief app discovery session and one of our all-team lunches. This is what they said and wrote about their visit:
Throughout the discovery process, we learned a lot about how to take the step from an app idea to an IDEA. Our original idea was good and it had potential, but it was nothing but a simple idea. ArcTouch showed us how to really transform our idea and make it realistically possible and how to make it sellable. With this IDEA, we felt like if money was not an issue, this app would be in development today.
The single most important thing we learned during our session was how to prioritize the features of our app. This allowed us to add to our idea but also cut back and clarify our idea. By prioritizing our idea, we were able to pick the most essential pieces of our app and decide what should be in version 1. Know how we did this? Well with the help from our fellas and bellas at ArcTouch we learned that having an app with a ton of operations wasn’t good. Swiss Army knife apps with lots of functions may sound cool but these functions all perform very poorly. We were advised to build an app experience like a steak knife – have focus and do a small number of things, perfectly. We put these functions into our idea of version 1 of our app to make it effective but still very interesting to app users.
- LinkedIn Pulse: “What a Couple of High Schoolers Taught Me About the Art of the Pitch” by ArcTouch cofounder Adam Fingerman
Our app changed greatly throughout the session. Coming into our meeting with ArcTouch, we envisioned an app that would find legends around you. That’s all we had, but after our session we a had a great deal more. We thought up a scavenger hunt-like feature to make the app into an interactive game where people could earn points by completing challenges. This point system would reward people with badges and unlock the next clue. Eventually, with enough points the app user would be able to send us their own legend map. This would allow the public to add more content as long as we approved it. This was only the structure we created. We thought of many more details and how version 1 may look and how we would jump to version 2. Also the ArcTouch team advised us to include in-app ads, a buy-able version with more maps, and/or bundles that app users could buy to unlock more maps. Our idea turned into a profitable mold of our app.
The ArcTouch team was extremely helpful and our idea wouldn’t be an IDEA without them. #Transformative #RealWorld #TakesMoneyToMakeMoney #ThanksYallWeAppreciateIt
Original Legendary App Pitch Email
FROM: Alexander Grant TO: ArcTouch DATE: Wed, Mar 11, 2015 SUBJECT: App Ideas
Howdy there ArcTouch!
What up fellas and bellas. My name is Matthew “Fun Size Farquaad” Carrasco and I am a senior from Redwood High School in Larkspur, California. What up 415. I along with my classmate and close confidant Alexander "Fly Hands" Grant were given an assignment to invent a product. And if we were to get response back from a company on our idea we would receive extra credit. #Moneyindabank. Our initial idea was to create a website where you can post pictures of yourself and friends and whatever you want. People can follow you to view your pics and you can follow others. We came to realize this was just Instagram. #Bummer. So we decided to come up with different ideas that we think you might like. So let's get jiggy with it.
1) LocateThatLegend(TM)--Wherever you go you can search urban legends that are in that area. These legends would be generated by the people who live in that area and would be voted upon to guarantee authenticity or whether it is a popular notion in the given area.
2) Video Screen Shot--Did you ever want to take a screen shot that was more than a picture? Now you can with the Video Screen Shot app! Take videos up to 10 seconds long to capture those moments that are worth more than just a picture!
3) RateThat!(TM)--Have you ever gone somewhere and you want a rating for how good this restaurant or hotel is? Are you tired of opening your hotel ratings app and your restaurant rating app and want them all in one app? Then we have the solution for you! With the RateThat (TM) App you can find all your public and private business rated in one location. But how is this different from Yelp? The name and businesses can't pay to have good ratings. Also public places that are owned by the government are rated as well. Rated by the people for the people.
So hit us back cool cats. Catch you on the flip-flop.
Gracias para su tiempo,
Matthew "Fun Size Farquaad" Carrasco, Alexander "Fly Hands" Grant
ArcTouch Response Email
FROM: Troy Petersen TO: Alexander Grant DATE: Fri, Mar 13, 2015 SUBJECT: Re: App Ideas
Dear Mr. Fun Size Farquaad and Mr. Fly Hands,
#bestemailever #moneyindabank #futuresobrightgottawearshades
We get lots of email every day from people with app ideas, vendors trying to sell their stuff to us, and other randoms who spam us and 100,000 of our closest friends. #delete
We liked your message so much that one of the co-founders read it at an all-company lunch this week. That’s never happened. #legendary
Beyond being entertaining, we like your LocateThatLegend™ app idea. The first thing we did is check in the app store to see if Snopes.com had an app like this, and turns out they don’t. So you may have something there.
Typically big companies hire us to develop apps for them -- so our business model isn’t to bankroll ideas. In other words, we can’t build it for free. #gottapaytherent #wahwah
But we’d encourage you to think about the business side of your idea and what the app (literally) might look like. Answer some difficult questions like, how would you acquire the content for your app and keep it up to date? How would you market the app and connect with potential users? What minimum feature set does the app need for version 1? How would you pay for the app development? And the biggest, scariest question all startups face: How would you ... (wait for it) ... monetize the app? #buddingentrepenuers #gottapaytherent
Last, after you’ve answered some of those questions, let’s talk. Seriously, if you cats ever make it down to the southern 415, we’d be glad to give you a tour of our office, introduce you to a few smart people (i.e. NOT the marketing guy), and take you through a brief discovery process that we’d normally charge our clients #cha-ching big bucks for. #freeadvice #lunchonus
In the meantime, keep up that entrepreneurial spirit and take some time to read about lean startups. And hope this gets you some of that extra credit. #betterthanbitcoin #gottagraduate
Cheers, Troy “Aceman” Petersen
Troy Petersen, Marketing Lead ArcTouch - App Development Studio