The Best Time to Plant an App

Planting an idea which turns into money

There is an old Chinese proverb that says:

The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.

It fascinates me how the words people say can apply to so many different situations and circumstances. This particular saying is a perfect example and is completely appropriate to the internet and tech industry.

From little things big things grow (Paul Kelly & The Messengers)

Think of the tallest, widest or most solid tree you have ever seen.

It was once a tiny seed, dependent on the right conditions and vulnerable to the world. In a crowded forest floor, a field full of competing plants/weeds or even in the middle of a rocky outcrop, that seed with very little chance of survival took on the world and became what it is today.

You know that App idea that you have? Yes that one... the very idea that you have, is like a seed. The market may be crowded, you may be unsure of the demand for it or perhaps you just don't know how to go about moving it forward - but that doesn't mean it isn't worth pursuing. Facebook started in 2004 in what was an uncertain market and 12 years later it now has over 1.79 billion active members.

Visible and Vulnerable

John A. Shedd once said:

A ship in it's port is safe, but that's not what ships were built for.

Similarly, a seed while it is in the ground is safe. Safe from birds or other seed eating animals, but that is clearly not what seeds are for either.

In much the same way, your App idea while it is just an idea in your head is safe - but that's not where it should stay.

Seedlings are visible and they are vulnerable. They are small, dependent on water, sun, soil nutrition and they are up against the challenges of the world. Being trampled, eaten, starved of the very things they are dependent on.

Once your app idea is no longer just an idea, you too are visible and vulnerable.

There will be people who say it will never work, there will be those that tell you the market is too crowded or that someone has already thought of it. Keep the goal in sight and continue to work on providing the right conditions. Are there people you need to speak with, obstacles you need to overcome? Sometimes it is even possible to take the criticisms and use them to work out what you need to do to overcome the obstacles.

Acceptance and Respect

As trees grow, people start to see their usefulness. The trees provide shade, screening, a place for the kid's tree house, or they may even bear fruit.

As your App grows, people start to realise how they can use it and how it can help them. They begin to accept the App and the obstacles and criticisms become less. Just as trees require less maintenance as they grow, your App also will start to take on a life of it's own with the way people use it guiding you as to how you need to make changes to ensure it continues to grow strong.

Stand firm and proud

Young twigs will bend, but not old trees (Dutch Proverb)

As your App grows "tall and strong", it will be useful, it will inspire many people and will challenge others. If you have made it this far, you'll look back and know that you've created something beautiful. You've overcome the challenges and you can stand firm and proud.

Have you got an App idea? One day you'll look back and be glad you started it today...