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About the Pivot of a Corona-Protection-App

What is your disaster story?

Last monday I took part in a Disaster Night at the Shoptalk conference in Barcelona. The event inspired me to think about my own disaster stories. Oh yes, there's a lot to tell, but unfortunately I'm not allowed to talk about everything 😇... But I did think of one story that I'd like to share. 

Young lady in red and blue light

In the middle of the coronavirus pandemic in mid-2020, I was contacted by an entrepreneur who was planning a coronavirus protection app and asked for my help with the concept and market launch. The idea was good and, of course, very topical at that time: the app would use a GPS tracker to locate people infected with coronavirus before they approached, a kind of anonymized coronavirus radar that would tell the user if they should change sides of the street or train compartments.

The aim: to avoid infection instead of warning about an increased risk of infection.

So far so normal. Then the following happened. The regulations for the publication of coronavirus apps were changed from one day to the next. Suddenly, only public authorities and health institutes were allowed to publish coronavirus apps. The end for many corona apps that were developed at that time, but not for ours, because the entrepreneur decided to pivot without further ado. 

And here it comes: the coronavirus radar app became a hooker app overnight.

Instead of protecting against people infected with coronavirus, the app was now supposed to locate ladies for sale. The corona warning app became a prostitute locator app. Before I knew it, I was on video calls that were no longer about fighting the pandemic but about analyzing courtship behavior in Dubai 😆. It was pretty weird and it all happened over night. But as I was in an ongoing contractual relationship, I initially bowed to my fate and learned a lot about the prostitute scene in Dubai and other major cities ☝️🤓.

The end of the story: the app never went live and the spook was soon over. But I have to give the entrepreneur in question credit for one thing: he was right to pivot, because the sudden change in regulation meant the project had no chance. And while many other coronavirus apps were still burning money, we flipped the switch. Also, kudos for the consistency with which my client at the time made this “slight” change of direction. If you realize that something isn't working, you should admit it to yourself and change or quit rather early than too late.

So now it's your turn? What is your disaster story? I have also published this post on LinkedIn. Maybe you'd like to share your disaster story there too. It would do the platform good. Only the brave dare to share! 😎


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