A Simple Fact That Will Help You Succeed

September 12, 2018

I’ve been thinking about my first app a lot lately, trying to reverse engineer it and figure out why it never took off. During one of my latest sessions, I stumbled upon a very simple but eye-opening fact: people go through pain if and only if the reward is worth it to them.

This is pretty intuitive, and applies to all areas of our lives. Everything we do, everything, is in anticipation of some kind of reward. What happens when the reward is not worth the pain? The action isn’t worth it anymore.

This Applies to Your App As Well

Your app has the potential to succeed if and only if User Reward > User Pain.

Forms of User Reward:

  • Relief of a real life pain - Whatsapp has made communication much easier
  • Social worth and a feeling of belonging - Facebook and Instagram make us feel like we belong and give us a sense of self worth when those likes and comments start coming in. Sad but true.
  • Material rewards - Snappcard is a loyalty app that allows users to collect points when buying from venues and then exchanging them for free meals and other forms of rewards.


Forms of User Pain:

  • Price - price can be a pain if it’s too high.
  • Registration and getting started with the app - if it isn’t easy to start and set up, many users will close and delete an app before they get to the point of seeing any value from it.
  • Too many clicks to get to the goal - WhatsApp are constantly updating their app to make sure that their most used features are 1 click away. Not very long ago, they made sending a photo a click away by adding the camera icon in the message box.
  • Hard to navigate - no one wants to get lost in an app.

Final Thoughts

As founders, we usually evaluate our products with bias. We tend to think our products are more rewarding and less painful than they actually are, mainly because we’ve been living with them and thinking about them for a very long time. This causes us to give the reward-pain equation less attention than it deserves.

Whether you have a product in the market or just starting out with an idea, seek feedback from your potential customers and make sure you listen, really listen, to what they have to say.

  • Are they getting enough value from your app? How can you make it more rewarding?
  • What are their pain points? How can you make using it less painful?

Good news is digital products are easy to tweak for the most part, and small changes here and there can make a huge difference.

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