The World of Apps and Lateral Thinking


Neomobile’s glimpse into the labyrinth of App monetization strategies

Let’s start with 2 difficult questions:

  1. Which came first, the chicken or the egg?
  2. How can I make money in the world of Apps?

The eyes of the digital world are pointed to the thriving world of apps. We need to underline a very curious fact: as the app market grows, the revenues grow too, but on a much smaller scale than expected.

The reason why is probably related to the increasing number of talented developers who are able to create great apps that immediately catch the users’ and investors’ attention.  In the end, very few manage to find the right business model that can yield and monetize a digital product, even though it is used by millions; those that succeeded used old fashioned ways.

If you present your idea to a marketing professor he will probably tell you: “That’s great idea, but don’t waste your time on an app, it will never be profitable”. Unfortunately in most cases this is true. Trying to make money in a new market (the app ecosystem was born just 6 years ago) using the outdated web models cannot be effective in this rapidly expanding economy.

So what are the possible solutions?

The answer might be in the lateral thinking – the ability to look at the problem from different angles and to solve it in an indirect way. Its logic might be the key  for “money making” in the world of apps, and we’re not talking about advertising or in-app purchase, but the need to create a new business model that can function in perfect synergy with the app ecosystem.

The greatest economic successes of recent years have one thing in common: Steve Jobs (lateral thinking inspired Apple’s slogan since 1997), Zuckerberg and Larry Page all created new products even though PCs existed before Jobs, social networks before Facebook and search engines before Google. They managed to improve existing products and build an economic empire. The world of apps reached the right moment: all we need is someone able to tame it and earn his place in the hall of fame with Zuckerberg, Jobs and Page. This being said we can answer the first question (obviously the egg), but unfortunately the second one remains unanswered.

You think you can do it?

While you prepare to move on in the footsteps of Jobs here is an exercise for you: There are 2 closed rooms, in the first one there is a light bulb and in the second one there are 3 switches. Only one can turn on the light. The starting conditions are:

  1. Light turned off
  2. All the switches are off

You can turn the switches on and off as many times as you like, but you can enter the room with the light bulb just once – how can you find out which switch turns it on? P.S. Searching the solution on the web does not mean you are using lateral thinking. 🙂

Luca Ceccon

Sr Product Planning Specialist