Introducing Graham Gram. The Next Instagram.
I just launched my first app to the App Store! It’s called Graham Gram.
I don’t want to jinx things, but I think it’s going to be huge. It really has the potential to be the next Instagram. It’s got all sorts of great things baked in like virality and sharability and engagement. It really hits on a niche that no one has addressed before, so there’s a real unmet need.
Download it now!
At least that’s what I might have written, if it were actually the case and I really loved marketing buzz words. For the record, I really did make an app, but I don’t think any of the above is true. I made an app just to prove a point.
This post is a manifesto, so stop now if you’re not into them.
Is it just me or are so many new mobile apps out there all trying to do the same thing?
It seems to me like every one of them is out to become “The Next Instagram.” So, it’s no wonder that there are hundreds of photo apps in the App Store that all have the same functionality. Some of these even are promoted by Apple in the envious position of “Featured” apps.
And what do we get from all this?
More apps that let you put a filter on your photos to make them even more awesome. Like this:
It’s the bottom of my shoe, but check out the filter. Doesn’t that make it awesome?
To be clear…I don’t necessarily have anything against Instagram. Good for them. They apparently found something people wanted and something that Facebook wanted even more. But let’s be clear on one thing: you aren’t making “The Next Instagram” when you put out your app that has one hundred-three filters (“you see, most other photo apps only have one hundred filters, so ours is the best…”).
You’ve got photo apps that create images that look like Polaroids. Apps that put one photo and its mirror image next to each other (which I thought already existed…it’s called a mirror). And there are apps that make fancy collages…hundreds of them.
And the “Gram” apps. I tried to count them all, but lost both count and hope around 40. I did find a few gems though. Mirrorgram, Hipstagram (not to be confused with Hipstamatic), Peekiegram, BabyGram, SimpleGram, and (seriously) Carpetgram. Look it up.
Carpetgram was probably the last straw. So, I started out writing this manifesto and I realized that it was a bit lacking. There are a couple of points I wanted to get across, but I wasn’t quite making them strongly enough.
The key points:
- Can we all stop trying to make “The Next Instragram”? That lottery is over and someone already taken home all the prizes. There are probably better places to concentrate your talent.
- It’s getting easier and easier to make an app and get it out the door. So, if you want a standout app, then you’ve got to come with something big.
- There’s apparently a niche in the App Store for everyone.
As I finished my first draft, I could tell that my points weren’t quite being made. It became apparent that a lot of what I was saying made me sound like a bit of a complainer/cynic with a pretty good view from the cheap seats. Then I realized that in order to really make my point, I had to make an app without anyone’s help.
So, that’s what I did.
Coming up with the concept for the app was pretty simple. It seems like photo apps all have to be called something like “<insert word>Gram”, so I stuck with that convention. I focused on trying to come up with the most ridiculous premise for an app, but one that maybe, just for a second, someone might think was real based on all the other things they’ve seen in the App Store lately.
And what could be more ridiculous than Graham Gram? So, that’s what I made.
Graham Gram: The best way to share all of your graham (or gram) related pictures with friends around the world.
Seriously…no bullshit. Head on over to the App Store and download it if you don’t believe that I actually made an app called Graham Gram.
I find Graham Gram no less absurd than any of the other “Gram” apps out there. Think of how many different things in this world relate to either “graham” or “gram.”
Head on over to GrahamGram.com and see the latest photos uploaded to Graham Gram or check them all out after you download the app. Here are a couple you’ll see:
Yep…that’s a gramaphone.
Or the more obvious…graham crackers.
So, back to my points for this manifesto.
First, I think we can all agree that creating “The Next Instagram” isn’t a great goal. It’s a great ambition, but creating “The Next Instagram” doesn’t mean that you have to make the same exact thing. In fact, it probably means just the possible.
Second, it really is getting easier and easier to launch an app. While still not a trivial task by any means, more and more people can do it. Heck, I did it. While my coding skills are still at the amateur level, this app got done. It’s in large part thanks to Parse, which is an awesome service that basically can handle the entire “backend” of an app. I also “borrowed” heavily from one of their demo apps and made some modifications to bring you Graham Gram. You can take a shot at making your own by following their tutorial.
15 years ago there were only a handful of people that could make you a website. Today there are tools that let anyone do it. Apps are going that same way. More and more people will be able to do it, so the competition is even tougher, which means the apps and the ideas behind them have to be even better.
And my final point, there is a niche for everything in the App Store. Hell, I launched Graham Gram right alongside Carpetgram. Not sure what my point really was here except to say that there’s something for everyone on the App Store.
Even Phil Gramm lovers.
So, that’s the manifesto. Feel free to bring the hate or nod in agreement. If you’re on the more agreeable side, why not download the app and contribute a picture of something graham or gram related? Consider it a badge showing your pledge to stop trying to make “The Next Instagram.”
Yes…a badge…that’s the ticket. Graham Gram even has gamification built in.
It’s going to be huge.