I’m sure by now you have heard of the simple game, Flappy Bird, that went viral with over million downloads everyday. As expected, articles started flood the internet trying debunk the ‘myth’ of Flappy Bird such as 10 reasons why Flappy Bird is so addictive or why is Flappy Bird so popular?.
Frankly with all the speculation that has been going on, no one REALLY knows why. Not even the developer, Dong Nguyen, himself. This app was uploaded to the App Store in May 2013. It didn’t gain any traction until November 2013 when the game simply went viral. The charts went off the roof. This was the same with other games by the same developer. Of course the overnight success of the game drew all the attention to why it is successful? How can we replicate this success? The more skeptical crowd will try to find how did the developer game the system. But not many looked beyond this success and see how this developer has been creating games since 4 years ago with little to no success. Maybe the answer to his success is beyond what the game is about but rather how he faced difficulty and learn from every challenge. Was there any help rendered to him during this 4 years of game development?
A lot of countries or universities have been trying (very hard) to nurture the next big thing. In the Silicon Valley, we have numerous startup incubators / accelerators such as Y-Combinators and AngelPad. Founder Institute has expanded globally from places like Finland to Singapore. In Vietnam there is Topica Founder Institute as well. Apart from startup incubators, there are also those who seek to create startup ecosystem for those who have the courage and passion to change the world. Closer to home for Dong Nguyen, there is Singapore that has managed to build startup community and provide entrepreneur support.
With the sprouting of startup incubators help people like Dong Nguyen, the question we should ask ourselves is, do these support really help to nurture the next big thing? The seemingly random success of Flappy Bird puzzled the world and played with our expectation of success. Dong Nguyen said in an interview with the Chocolate Lab that the popularity [of the game] could be his luck. Luck? That is probably the last thing that those who tried to debunk his myth wants to hear. People want to replicate success. Just go to the self-help section of the bookstore and you will see how enormous the collection is. Books such as 7 habits to highly successful people or Strength 2.0 top the chart every year. But how many truly and obsessively desire success that they will endure the pain that comes with it.
A friend of mine (recognizing that I’m a saddist at core) sent me an article that truly sums up what I believe in this matter. The most important question you need to ask yourself is what pain would you endure to get what you want in life. I will leave you to ponder about what Mark Manson wrote in his article.