I've been wondering why there isn't an app store specifically designed for products (predominantly web-based apps) created by bootstrappers and smaller creators.
Think of it like like an independent art studio supporting new and upcoming artists, a place where innovative products could be discovered without the 'establishment' products dominating the limelight.
I'm aware there are hundreds of "start-up product directories", such as those listed on SaasLaunchr, but I envisage something with a bit more functionality than just a product listing
It would allow users to easily locate and sign-up for products in a friction free way, keep track of all the products they use, and provide a single place where all accounts and notifications could be managed.
For iOS and Mac you have Apple's App Store, the Microsoft Store on Windows and whatever Google call theirs on Android.
But there's nothing similar for the web, which makes finding and trying web apps a bit harder.
The Rise of Bootstrappers and Independent Creators
In recent years, we have witnessed a remarkable surge in bootstrappers and independent creators who are making their mark with innovative solutions and disruptive ideas.
But coding is the easy part - marketing and distribution is the real challenge.
Existing directories and platforms like G2 and Capterra aren't a great fit for products created by independent creators. They're both enterprise focussed (as well as just being horrible to use) and do little to really showcase the apps and creators in their catalogues.
I love hearing the motivation behind new products and how they came to be on podcasts like Startups For The Rest Of Us and Indie Bites. Giving a space for creator profiles right next to their products would be a great way to learn more about them.
I'm a big believer in "people buy from people" and existing sites offer no way for potential customers to "meet" the creators behind the products.
The Vision: An App Store for Bootstrappers
Imagine an app store that is more than just a marketplace - it's a thriving ecosystem designed to empower bootstrappers and independent creators.
By catering specifically to this niche, the app store could create an environment where creative innovation flourishes amongst smaller developers and where users can discover exceptional apps tailored to their specific needs.
But the main objective would be to solve the distribution problem for creators, increasing app sign-ups and driving engagement.
The main objectives would be to solve the distribution problem for creators, and make apps easily discoverable.
Benefits for Creators
For bootstrappers and independent creators, the benefits of the app store are multiple.
Features to make it easy for users to discover, register and access the apps they use would drive engagement and growth.
This platform will grant them exposure to a broader audience, allowing them to gain traction and build a loyal user base.
Moreover, by being part of a community that supports one another, creators could receive valuable feedback and collaborate on projects, fostering innovation and improvement.
Sure, some of this sounds a lot like Product Hunt. But I think the key differentiator here is PH is really ephemeral with the emphasis on a "launch day event". The creator puts a huge amount of effort into the launch and it's all over after twenty four hours. It's "one-and-done" whereas an this would be an ongoing source of new users.
Benefits for Users
The app store's unique focus on bootstrappers and independent creators brings tremendous advantages to users as well.
They will gain access to a treasure trove of niche and specialized apps that often go unnoticed on mainstream app stores.
The site would offer users a unified way to find and register for apps, and give them a single destination to track registrations and "favourited" apps to check out later.
Users can expect a tailored experience, finding apps that genuinely cater to their needs, interests, and preferences.
What do you think?
In terms of paying for all this - before anyone chimes in ? - I'm not proposing anything along the lines of the Apple's egregious 70/30 split. That just won't work here.
I have to figure out another way to fund development. I have a few ideas (the usual suspects being advertising, extra paid features, etc.) but need to think it through more.
Enough rambling. I'd love to hear what you think.