You want an app and it isn’t in Apple’s App Store or Android’s Market? Order it and get your order fulfilled by a team of people that forms to respond to your order. Better yet, be a part of that team.
We’ll be at a couple billion smartphones with broadband Internet access within a few years. That will fuel an incredible demand for apps. An on-demand, crowdsourced type model of app development will evolve over time to respond to that market.
I want a custom app so I float a description, mock-up or prototype across the internets and build a specification with the feedback. My app spec then goes into a queue of sorts with 50 customer names behind it. Or maybe 5000. Folks that want to help develop it – design, architecture, programming, testing, documentation, support, GTM…any part of the life-cycle – can then form a team to build it (and as the “requester”, I may also be a part of that – a dev, a tester, etc. – the traditional boundaries between product type folks and dev type folks start to go away). The traditional product or dev cycle becomes more open, peer-produced and crowdsourced.
From another perspective, I’m a pure application developer. I review a queue of requests (ideas) that are looking for a dev to join the team and hand-pick the ones I want to develop – the ones I care about the most, the people I want to work with. I have at least one customer that has expressed interest, maybe 5000, so I also have some requirements, a pilot user group, a feedback loop, a QA group and people to market the app if I get it right.Inefficient layers between idea and execution are eliminated.
Product shops will be disrupted, at least the weak ones. We don’t usually know what we want, and we tend to extend our current world, rather than leap into new ones, so the truly innovative, game-changing, reality-distorting product shops will still thrive – e.g. Apple, Amazon, Netflix etc. It is the shops that build the other 99% of software-based products that will be disrupted.
We need software in the middle to make this really tick. A combination of GitHub, Amazon, oDesk, Elance type layer to optimize collaboration, manage the queue and transactions, provide reputation and recommendations, manage signal to noise, etc. Probably done by a start-up. Similarly, start-ups will evolve to take care of the business, operational and support models.
Most of the rest of the ingredients are coming together: high velocity software dev enviros, third party components, libraries and platforms, open source, market of billions, ability of people to virtually work together across the world, ability to market and distribute without enormous budgets, cloud computing and storage, etc.
The software product industry is going to be disrupted by this type of disintermediation, democratization, unbundling and crowdsourcing that we’ve seen in media, entertainment and news.Google+