Apple App Store has 700,000 Apps. Google Play has 450,000 Apps. Number of Apps submitted on iOS App store alone nears a 1000/day. Any statistics in terms of Apps is astounding in numbers – millions & billions.
And to imagine that none of this even existed few years back!
What’s amazing here is not just the numbers, but also the growth trajectory. What makes it possible for this phenomenal trajectory? How many developers would you need to develop these many apps everyday?
Let’s turn the story upside down. Imagine having to write a bubble sort algorithm to begin with, and then building upward to create the simplest of an App that exists on any App store. Think of putting together the servers (let’s not even worry about even scaling part for now) – just configure the hardware, put together the app servers & databases if required, and so on. You’d need few person years to be able to do that. Just one App! And if you have to do that all in the amount of time a developer gets this done today in, you’d probably need a Development Empire of the size of an IBM or a Microsoft or a Wipro or a Cognizant workforce.
Matt Ridley, in his book Rational Optimist – the one that I read with enormous interest & crazy nodding of the head, argues about the fact that Humans are different from every other living organism on the planet because they exchange ideas, build upon each other ideas, barter to get the maximum output. Here’s an interesting video on TED that really talks about how the combinatorial and cumulative evolution of human prosperity happens when Ideas have Sex! Matt takes an example of how Kings in the past had 498 people working just on the King’s dinner. And now, you can have the same luxury and probably a more expansive & better quality dinner without having to be a King. You enjoy the Kingship, nevertheless.
At any point of time, anything that we consume has the effort of thousands & millions of people from the growing of trees, to harvesting, to transportation, to rigging of oil, to manufacturing of plastic, to design & to creation of those amazing products, to the delivery of what we consume. This is how we prosper, this is how we get in 5 minutes, what otherwise would have taken years to build on our own. Not to mention we on our own wouldn’t even have 5% of all skills required to do all that.
Here’s the 16 min video clip of the speech that Matt Ridley delivered at TED.
Where am I getting at?
Apps today have the leverage of the hundreds of years of effort that has gone into creation of these platforms that serve the developers the phenomenal leverage in the form of infrastructure, Development Frameworks, Methodologies, Best Practices, Pre-integrated Platforms, Built-in Auto-scaling, Disaster recovery, and even the Plug-&-Play and visual IDEs. The cloud technology is doing to Apps Economy what transportation (ships earlier, then Air travel later) did to trading in industrial economy. That is – “Provide Accessibility to shared combinatorial and cumulative resources”.
And, to think that exchange is the biggest difference between the humans and other brainy folks like Chimps! This is one of the reasons noted earlier that multi-sided Platforms are one of the biggest game-changers in the new millennium.
You don’t need to be own the Development powerhouses or Kingdoms to build these Apps any more. The Developer is enjoying the Kingship. IaaS (Amazon AWS, Rackspace, Cloudscaling, Joyent), PaaS (Google App Engine, Windows Azure, force.com, OrangeScape, ), and even the new kid on the block MBaas (Mobile Backend as a Service – Parse, ShepHertz’s App42, Cloudmine, Stackmob) are the super-efficient servants. Not to mention end-consumers are enjoying this kingship with SaaS already (Salesforce, Success Factors).
Don’t think of building from scratch any more if you are an App Developer. In fact, you can’t afford to. Unless of course you are one of those who is involved in building these underlying platforms that are born when ideas have sex – making the underlying services even better for the developer mankind. Even the platform-makers leverage on the pre-exisiting foundation.
App Developer is the new King. Hail Platforms!
PS: ‘When Ideas have sex’ Image Curtesy – SplashItElsewhere