Keep it Simple, Make Millions

May 9, 2011  |  

In the fall of 2007, Stanford students were exposed to a profitable idea: create a simple app and make millions. The 75 students who were enrolled in what was called “The Facebook Class,” were part of a landmark class that popularized the idea of the lean startup. Remember, in 2007, the iPhone had just launched and android phones had not yet arrived on the scene.

The idea of the class was to encourage entrepreneurship and motivate students to create a simple app, without heavily investing time or money. More than two dozen students ended up making some type of money from their apps – some sold their businesses for six figures and some sold for millions. Working in teams of three, the students created apps that collectively had 16 million users in just 10 weeks, according to The New York Times.

One of the most notable success stories is that of Dan Greenburg. Remember the app that allowed you to throw pillows? Yup, that was him and a business partner who started it all.

The then graduate student created an app that would allow FB users to send hugs to one another. It took he and his partner, another grad student, five hours to create the app. Needless to say, the app took off and they went on to create apps that allowed users to send kisses, engage in pillow fights and do other virtual things provided by their 67 other apps.

Greenburg decided to drop out of his program to manage the business which was soon bringing in $100,000 per month in ad revenue.  Today, at 25, he is CEO of his company, which employs 3o people.

The tech revolution has taught the world a lot of things about innovation and entrepreneurship, especially that big ideas can go a long way. But what was remarkable about this Stanford class is that it demystified the process of making it big in tech. You don’t have to be the next Zuckerberg to strike gold, but just have to have the wherewithall to take your imperfect idea to market and tweak it to perfection along the way.

Although the market has changed drastically, making it harder for new app entrepreneurs to enter the game, the idea of simplicity still guides the forays of young techies.




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