Not all apps are created equal and as recently showed us, some are created by total creeps.  As Los Angeles product strategists whose business it is to help product owners decide if their mobile app is worth building, it’s important to know why some fail.  So where did these apps go off the rails from well-intentioned to unintentionally disturbing?

The Offender
First up is a collection of apps that you’ll never actually get to see in action… because you’ll be dead.  Apps like DeadSocial seem like a bad idea right off the bat.  It allows you to schedule social media posts including images and videos for future release.  It’s like a time capsule that will help you continue to annoy your friends long after you’re dead.

Then there is which claims to create a “computer version of you for when you die.”  This virtual version of you will be able to interact with others after you’re dead by collecting data and emulating what it believes your responses would be.  It seems like there are good intentions here, maybe even a market, but the real issue is that the technology doesn’t seem to be there yet.  A premature release could make it ripe for ridicule.

The Take-Away
Know your audience.  Successful mobile apps solve problems, the more prevalent the problem the better the app’s chance at success.  Post-life apps seem to rely on gimmicks not real-world issues.  Look for problems in the now… the right now, those affecting your daily life, not the afterlife.

The Offender
Another app on their list allows you to receive texts from strangers just by entering your license plate number.  It’s currently available in China, but it doesn’t take much to realize why it might not go over well in the States.  It’s being marketed as a way to get a hold of a driver if your car is blocked in and you’re unable to move, but even in their demo videos they show motorists asking each other out on dates.  The issue here is privacy.

The Take-Away
American drivers might not want the profanities that are being screamed at them by other motorists to be displayed in front of their face.  Plus, texting while driving happens to be fairly illegal.  If you’re designing an app make sure it at least won’t cause multi-car pileups or get users a ticket.

The Offender
SocialRadar is a location-based app that will alert you to what you have in common with strangers in the area.  Creators are calling it a networking app, something like LindedIn for your mobile device.  It monitors Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ and Instagram to give you the most relevant information about the people around you.

The information that is being shared is already public, but privacy concerns are what landed this app on the list.  The app, however, promises complete control of information by users.

The Take-Away
Privacy.  Privacy.  Privacy.  It’s always a concern.  The stalker comments have already been making the rounds with this app, but honestly it seems well-intentioned and a natural step in mobile information sharing and networking.  We’re reserving judgment on this one.

The REAL Take-Away

You need someone with legitimate experience in the field to help vet your mobile app ideas and find your true target audience.  That’s what Rootstrap does, and we promise not to be creeps about it.

Source., ‘,’ Kathy Benjamin, July 26, 2014.
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CEO and Co-founder of Rootstrap Ben Lee is the co-founder and CEO of Rootstrap, a digital development agency with a mission to destroy the development model and rebuild it from the ground up. After a brief correspondence with Fidel Castro at age nine, Ben decided to start doing things his own way, going from busboy to club manager at a world-class nightclub before he turned 18. Since then, Ben has founded or taken a leading role in 5 businesses in everything from software development to food and entertainment.