Rootstrap makes a lot of claims about being able to help you create a clear roadmap for your product’s successful development.  We can make those claims because we have the success stories to back them up.  We’re also not shy about telling you if your mobile app is going to have trouble in the marketplace, but bringing your idea to Rootstrap can help you find out at an early stage, before you’ve spent thousands of dollars, if your idea even has a chance.

That isn’t a scare tactic to drum up business — it’s a big part of why storycarding is crucial to mobile app development.  Not every big idea is going to be successful, but that’s definitely something you’ll want to know before making a bigger, more costly commitment.

Shotgun was one of those ideas…

What is Shotgun?

For users needing to travel from place to place without a car or the hassle of taking a bus, Shotgun would offer a ride-sharing service accessed through your mobile devices.  As a driver you’d be able to post your trip details (where you are headed, what you are driving, how many seats you have available, etc.).  As a passenger you could connect with these drivers and plan a trip by hitching a ride that best fit your needs, all from a convenient, user-friendly mobile app.

Where Did Rootstrap Come in?

The idea was brought to Rootstrap, and we took it through our thorough, detailed storycarding process.  We identified users and found that college students and young travelers would be Shotgun’s main audience.  We mocked-up sketches, custom wireframes, and visual designs that would make Shotgun appealing for the tech-savvy and noob alike.

We also built a detailed backlog of user stories that covered all of the app’s functionality.

For example:

As a User I should be able to register and log in to the App using my Facebook account as my credential
As a User (driver) I should be able to define how many passengers I will accept
As a User (driver) I should be notified thru Alerts when a passenger book a ride on a trip I posted
As a User (passenger) I should be able to define my pick up location
As a User (passenger) I should be able to scan my drivers QR code to verify the ride
As a Passenger I should be able to rate the driver after the trip

These were just a few of the nearly 75 user stories we wrote to make Shotgun’s user experience as clear as possible.  As a physical product, Shotgun was beginning to take shape, but the next step in the storycarding process would pump the brakes.

How Did Shotgun Fit Into the Marketplace?

Determining the market fit for Shotgun is where the app’s chance at success began to unravel.  While Shotgun did promise a unique product, one that certainly filled a need in the marketplace, there were plenty of competitors.  You may have heard of Sidecar or Lyft, and we’re sure you’re familiar with Uber.  All of these mobile-based services have long been working their way into the ride-sharing marketplace.   They’ve already gained consumer trust, they’ve been validated by the public, and they’ve narrowed the market in way that would make squeezing in nearly impossible.  So, would Shotgun stand out against these majors?  We think there was a chance, but you’re talking about tens of thousands of dollars worth of development for what basically amounted to a slim possibility.

Add to that Shotgun’s scope which was beginning to steadily expand.  The additional services and functions needed to compete with pre-existing powerhouse products would likely push the MVP cost to over 100K.  It simply became a case of being late to the market.  Shotgun did offer something services like Uber didn’t (city to city, state to state travel), but these established companies were already moving in that direction.  Unfortunately, a tight market share and expanding operation cost made Shotgun less and less viable.

What Was Learned?

Even the best idea can have flaws.  Many times those flaws can be overcome by pivoting or a calculated redesign.  But sometimes the root of the idea itself simply isn’t a moneymaker.  Fortunately, the creators of Shotgun found out early, saving themselves over 90K and 6 months of development.  Without the detailed market analysis offered by Rootstrap, it could have been a very different story.

What Does It Mean For Your Mobile App Idea?

We’re Los Angeles product strategists.  We love big ideas, we love innovation, and we love entrepreneurs that are excited about their ideas and can get us excited about them, too.  Rootstrap is here to make sure your idea has the best chance at success, and we’ll save you a lot of time and money if it doesn’t.  So, if you want to chat about your idea and see how Rootstrap can help make it a reality, please contact us anytime.



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.