Angry Birds has been downloaded more than a billion times. Many a developer has probably slapped his forehead, drooled with envy and let out a demonic howl even, asking himself why he wasn’t the first to envisage such a simple idea of avenging birds. The same emotion perhaps coursed through his blood when he noticed Instagram, Whatsapp and other killer apps send the entire world into a frenzy. Heck, people were now buying devices just to kill those thieving pigs and send free-of-charge multimedia messages.

killer-apps Angry Birds, Instagram and Whatsapp: Some of the many killer apps that changed the world. Source:

If you are like many-cookie cutter app developers, you would have thought to yourself, “Wait a minute, let’s ride on the Angry Birds craze. Let’s develop a better version with angrier birds, cuter pigs, more levels and a futuristic-sounding music.” Another developer: Let’s release a better photo-taking app that has more filters and more borders that give the user a whopping 10 million photo permutations.

Well, yeah, you would have created a different app and carved out a niche for yourself. And you might have secured thousands of downloads and made a tidy sum of money.

But would you have made a difference?

Angry Birds caused prepubescent brats all over the world to kick and scream for a piece of Angry Birds paraphernalia in every mall they visited. Instagram created instant pro photographers out of the masses. Suddenly I, of all people, can take the most boring photo of my sleeping 12-year-old lab and turn that tattered dog into a masterpiece. Whatsapp effectively superseded the fee-based SMS, sending mobile operators into a panic. Their dumb data pipe just caused them more revenue losses.

Are your angrier birds and cuter pigs gonna change the world? Is your 10-million-permutation photo editing app gonna make worshippers out of your users?

I doubt so.

We are not impressed with apps that are different. What we need are flashes of ingenuity that transform into apps that make a difference.

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