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The Coffee Analogy

Despite what Apple would like you to believe, few people actually make it big selling apps in the iTunes app store.

A well designed app isn’t guaranteed to be a hit. The expected $1 price point on paid apps is already comically low, and developer’s struggle with the reality that most consumers will happily drop a few dollars on coffee every day, but are very hesitant to spend just one on an app.

Josh Lehman takes a critical look at the coffee/app analogy in a recent article…

I know I’ll like my cup of coffee. It will fully meet my expectations. For the $4 I spend I don’t expect it to change my life. I don’t expect it to even last beyond its last drop (and a trip to the bathroom later). It’s an experience I can fully trust will be pretty much the same each time. There’s no gamble here. Ask me if I’d like to drop $4 on a cup of your new “Instant Refresher Juice 1.0″ and there’s a very good chance I’ll pass. Or, maybe I’ll ask for a free sample to see if your $4 Instant Refresher Juice 1.0 is as good as Starbucks Coffee. In short, I know what I’m getting for $4 and I’m getting that same experience every time I hit the drive thru. Fact: Your $1 App is a Total Gamble

It’s a great piece on user experience, visibility of craftsmanship, and the perceived value of digital goods. Go read the whole thing.