Your App Is Not a Game Changer

No, it’s not. Stop calling it that.

Shush. No, just shush.

A “game changer” comes about when someone finds a way to change the dynamics of a market—the “rules of the game”—to their competitive advantage, leaving their competitors scrambling to figure out these new rules. A game changer is, to use another hot little term, “disruptive.”

The iPhone? That was a game changer. The game was mobile phones. Mobile phones sucked, because their displays and input methods sucked and their utility was limited by that suckiness, and whatever applications ran on them sucked. We didn’t even know how much they sucked at the time, so happy were we with the sucky technology prior to June 2007. Then the iPhone introduced to mobile devices the direct manipulation of apps and content through a touchscreen, dramatically expanding the utility—and the improving experience—of using a mobile device.

So the game was mobile phones. The rules were displays and input methods. And the iPhone changed the game by changing those rules. A game changer. See?

There are very few game changers. They are RARE.

You are playing the same game everyone else is, hoping to hit it rich just by being a player. You are following the rules of the game very strictly. That’s OK; there’s no shame in playing the game.

Your app is also the 14th app I’ve heard about this morning that is two out of three of the following: mobile, local, and social. And that’s just fine. I like those things. Your app doesn’t need to be a game changer to be useful, delightful, well-crafted, profitable, or even innovative.

I wish you the best of luck with your new app; I’d be happy to give it a try. But if you call it a “game changer” again, I will have 1000 cheese-only pizzas delivered to your rented garage.