The answer is simple, and you already know it: because they have to.
If the application developer didn’t provide updates, the app would slowly lose relevance as trends changed and competitors provided substitutes. Additionally, users of the app would become frustrated if part of the app was difficult to use, or worse, unsecure. Finally, because all of the other developers provide updates for their apps, users of the app would feel neglected, left out, and eventually, even ripped off if they paid money for the app. Clearly, we can see that providing continued updates for an app is a good idea, and a practice that isn’t even disputed. What is the point of all of this, then?
Not All Entrepreneurs Act Like Application Developers
It’s true. Think about it, a practice of providing improvements to an app is essentially expected and mandatory, while for other products and services, such improvement is not. Oh, improvements to other products can be nice, but many entrepreneurs do not see it as a crucial part of success. The belief that their product is “fine as it is” can further be encouraged by the success of their existing product. Perhaps their product or service is doing just fine and people are happy with it. As the old saying goes “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”, right?
Wrong. If it ain’t broke, you can still make it better. As a matter of fact, having this kind of stagnant attitude about innovation can result in unrealized losses for a company. Of course the product or service might be doing well as it is – but how much better could it be doing if improvements were made? How much money is being lost because you could have sold more of a better product or service? The answer is that no one knows. You can’t tell how much product you could be selling, and it is that very reason why many entrepreneurs never attempt to improve upon their existing ideas. Yet just because something cannot be quantified does not mean that it ceases to be a valid concern. Improvements for products and services, just like updates for software applications, can make a profound difference on the success of an idea.
Improve Even the Successful Products
One product that comes to mind when thinking of successful products that have not received updates in a very long time are the calculators of Texas Instruments. The company essentially has a monopoly on the graphing calculator industry for schools. Because of this, it might seem that there is little or no use in innovating the product since nearly every students uses it anyway. But what other needs or opportunities might be out there for an improved (modernized) version of the calculator? Perhaps the calculators could be used more often outside of school and in settings like small business if they were marketed to that audience. I have personally seen many businesses using $3 calculators for their operations, when a simplified version of a Texas Instruments calculator could have sped up their process exponentially.
The point of it all, in the end, is that we should never stop providing improvements to our products and services just because we have achieved success with our existing products and services. Just imagine if we all used the original version of Windows because Microsoft saw it as a success and decided to stop improving it. But finally, remember that improvements to your product or service may very well not need to be huge or revolutionary. Even small tweaks can go a long way in improving both the value to the customer and their overall experience.
Shussler, Steven (2010). It’s a Jungle in There. Newyork, NY: Sterling Publishing