Unless you were living under a rock this past summer, you saw the massive success of the Pokémon GO app.

People everywhere were roaming the streets, catching virtual Pokémon, and raving about the app.

There were over 500 million downloads, along with over $500 million in estimated revenue.

The app was a huge success, and it’s something all of us can learn from.

With this in mind, here’s what you can learn from the success of Pokémon Go…

  1. Build Your MVP and Ship It

Pokémon Go was launched as a relatively bare-bones app.

There are a lot of ways the app could have looked better and performed better at the outset. But the creators decided to ship it anyway and start getting feedback.

It was shipped as an MVP (Minimum Viable Product).

They started with this video to get some initial feedback before writing a single line of code. The crazy part? Only 2 of the features from the video were included in the original game release.

In doing so, they were able to plan and build for the future features after they shipped the MVP.

So many businesses get caught up in trying to create the perfect product, but as we see with Pokémon Go, you don’t need to be perfect. If the foundation is there, you can validate the idea, start getting customers and improve on-the-go.

  1. Nail the Timing

Pokémon Go launched at the perfect time – right at the beginning of summer.

Kids were getting out of school, people were spending more time outdoors, and everyone was looking for an excuse to do something fun.

It was optimal for Pokémon Go.

Think about it: if it had launched in the dead of winter, a lot fewer people would have ventured out into the snow to catch Pokémon.

So when launching a new product, ask yourself what the biggest factors for its success are? Then, ask yourself how timing affects those factors.

Finally, if the timing does play a significant factor, aim to launch it at the optimal time.

  1. You Don’t Have to Reinvent the Wheel

Some of the most innovative, successful ideas have been combinations of past ideas.

A suitcase + wheels = a much better suitcase

Copier + telephone = a fax machine

Property owners + renters + app = AirBnB

Car owners + people who need a ride + app = Uber

Pokémon GO was a combination of social gaming, augmented reality, and GPS – all concepts that have been around for years.

Innovation often comes from older things, recycled and combined.

If you’re looking for the next big idea or product for your business, ask yourself how you can recycle and combine what’s worked in the past, to create something awesome in the present!

  1. You Have Some Control Over Virality

You no longer have to put virality up to chance. You can at least somewhat control whether or not a post, product, or idea goes viral.

Pokémon Go did just that. They didn’t invest much in advertising up front. Instead, they encouraged people to share the app and their experiences.

For example, the app gave users the ability to share images of their Pokémon directly to social media – and many people did.

Ask yourself: How can you encourage sharing with your product or service? Are there any features you can include that incentivize your customers to share it on social media?

By doing so, you can increase its virality.


Anytime an app or business hits it big to the tune of success even close to that of Pokémon Go, it’s a learning opportunity. Take these lessons and see how you can apply them to your business so that you can enjoy more success too!

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