Stupid but addictive – What’s the deal with Flappy bird?

Tap and fly the bird through the obstacles. It couldn’t be more simple than that! I’m sure that you are aware of the Flappy bird already and its astonishing 50,000 dollars it has made per day and its over 50 million downloads on iTunes and Google Play. It’s crazy right?


The simplicity

But what made Flappy bird so awesome and so addictive? It was so stupid and simple, but also unique which meant a perfect formula for people to fall in love with it. It was a time killer at toilets, lines, train stations, airports, office, streets, everywhere. It was so addictive that I read reports of people closing themselves in their rooms just to play the god damn game.

Often when talking to startups or entrepreneurs there is a constant discussion on how important it is to keep the product simple and sexy, and yet most of them fail to recognise in their first months. It takes them a year maybe or sometimes a startup, to understand this point. That’s the lesson to be learned here with Flappy bird as well. It was simple. And people love simple things. Things that they can use so easily and it doesn’t take a YouTube tutorial to learn how to use/play.

In 1997, when Steve Jobs returned back at Apple, he saw that the company had been producing multiple versions of the same product to satisfy requests from retailers. Unable to explain why so many products were necessary, Jobs asked his team of top managers, Which ones do I tell my friends to buy? When he didn’t get a simple answer, Jobs got to work reducing the number of Apple products by 70 percent.



The positioning in the ads in the app is not annoying. On the top central part and in a small size, the ads to not interfere at all with the experience. And yet it made him over 50,000$ per day.

Thats another lesson to learn here for the apps out there that kill everything you love about them the second you start experiencing the ads. That’s why there are companies out there researching methods to make ads more attractive for users and also less annoying to them, but also make more money for the developers.


It’s over

You all saw probably the news today from the developer Dong Nguyen, when he tweeted:

I am sorry Flappy Bird users, 22 hours from now, I will take Flappy Bird down. I cannot take this anymore.

“Flappy Bird has reached a state where anything added to the game will ruin it somehow, so I’d like to leave it as is, he said. I will think about a sequel but I’m not sure about the timeline. He afterwards send a couple of tweets stating that he will continue making games and he will not sell Flappy birds, but in the end one has to remember that the game was created in mid-2013, and only gained recognition over the past weeks as a sudden rise in popularity brought it to the top of both the iOS App Store and the Google Play Store.


Lessons learned

There are plenty of lessons learned here as stated above. A sequel might come someday, but when the day comes Nguyen is a popular developer now and surely his next product will be something crazy again. He is taking some attention of him which developed a bit too fast than expected, and he wants to give people more free time again. Let’s just hope he will continue to make simple ones like the Flappy Bird. You can check his website with more games here: and play Flappy bird until sometime tomorrow.!

Plenty of lessons learned here which can be applied in other fields as well, and yes, of course, there is tons of luck in this regards as well.

Original Post on Medium.