Jan-Lukas Else

Thoughts of an IT expert

The Success of Boredom-Inspired Apps

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Short link: https://b.jlel.se/s/2df
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Boredom might be good, maybe.

Boredom has two sites. On the one hand-site boredom is very negative for productivity: Boredom decreases motivation. Motivation decreases productivity. More time spent, less done.

But there’s a tricky thing. Because we don’t like boredom, we try to escape from this bad-feelings-whole. We try to find ideas to change boredom into a satisfying and fulfilling activity.

This let’s us become creative. We start getting crazy ideas — many bullshit ideas, but also nice, probably genius ideas. We start trying to realize some of this ideas. We will probably fail with most of them due to there “bullshitness”, but maybe we’ll also succeeding. It’s worth a try.

An example from my own experience

I was bored (oh what a sensation 😂). I started opening hundreds of tabs browsing through the internet (I do this most of the time when I get bored). And I discovered something.

I found out, that Telegram just opened the API for their Medium alternative called Telegra.ph. It’s quite a nice service with all the basic tools, in terms of publishing a text. Just a simple text editor with some basic formatting tools, no sign-in required (but optional), no comments, no post list, … It’s enough for writing a text, publishing it and sending it to someone. When you send it to a Telegram contact, you’ll also get something, that’s called Instant View. It’s probably quite similar to AMP (by Google) or more than that similar to Instant Articles by Facebook. A button appears, and faster than you can see, the article opened inside the app. (Just to clarify it, it’s also possible with Medium and TechCrunch — probably more soon.)

I tried creating some test articles via the browser. Worked pretty well. Then I got the — genius — idea, to do the same on my phone. Ooops, what’s that? Formatting doesn’t really work, it’s somewhat a pain to make already written text bold. There must be a fix.

Why not creating an own app?

I just did. And look there, some days after publishing the update (I created the app itself much earlier, but there it was just a wrapper for the website itself), I got a ton of request regarding this app and this app also got featured by a big channel on Telegram, which is providing insider information about Telegram updates and other Telegram related stuff.

And now the app has 500 downloads (300 of them are still active ones).

I don’t try to create apps, to get a big back of cash (would be nice though 💸). I create apps to improve my skills and to improve the user experience. Both successfully with this app. I learned how to use JavaScript interfaces on Android’s WebView and I improved the user experience. It’s much simple to open an app and start writing, than opening Chrome (or whatever browser you use), typing “T-E-L-E-G-R-A-.-P-H” and then sucking at formatting text. It also has some more nice features. For example you can bookmark posts (ok, possible with a browser too) and seeing a list of published posts (not possible via the browser yet). All with a clean and minimal interface.

And just, because I was bored.

Not every app will succeed like this one. Also not every startup will become a multi-million or even multi-billion startup like Google. But there’s the chance. And it’s a good way to learn. At least you’ll learn, that boredom is sometimes helpful at getting crazy app ideas.

I would say: Just do it!

How I Built An App For Telegra.ph


Jan-Lukas Else
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