A “Super App” For Montana?
QUICK: How many apps are on your phone?
If the answer is about 40, you're perfectly normal. We have all kinds of apps on our phones, and each one is designed to connect you with a specific company or purpose. Check your account balance on your banking app, swipe left/right on your dating app, check your followers on your social apps, and order food with your delivery app.
But what if there was one app to rule them all, a "super app?" The race to develop one has been ongoing for several years, as the biggest technology firms scramble to get the most users on their platforms. We'll look at who might win the race for super app, and what one made exclusively for Montana might look like.
What Is Super App?
Instead of having to open several separate apps depending on what you're trying to do, the idea of "super app" tries to combine the following common things into one platform, owned by one company.
- order food
- make travel plans
- online banking
- get social / date
With over 180 million users, Grab is the closest example we can find. The Singapore-based tech company which started as a taxi-hailing service has expanded to include mail service, third-party digital payments, and also functions like Uber for food and grocery deliveries. In 2021, Grab went public and was valued at over $40 billion.
Who Is Best Situated To Develop A Super App In The U.S.?
Of the four biggest technology firms (Apple, Amazon, Meta and Google) it would seem that Meta or Amazon are best positioned to win the race.
- Meta - has Facebook & Instagram (social) as well as integrated payments
- Amazon - has top-notch infrastructure and an endless stream of cashflow for acquiring companies to serve under its umbrella. Easily has shopping covered.
However Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos seems more interested in feeding his ego than he is in anything else. Likewise, Meta's lackluster (OK, we'd say "abyssmal") history of development and customer service makes us question their ability to develop anything of consequence.
We honestly can't tell which one is more out of touch: Mark Zuckerberg or Jeff Bezos.
And what about Elon Musk finally agreeing to purchase Twitter and turn it into "an everything app?" It's possible, but Elon's chaotic flea-sized attention span doesn't bode well for it.
So getting to Mars and ending gas-powered vehicles just took a backseat? OK, bro.
While Twitter is a dominant social network, it is light years behind Meta and other social media because it's terrible at selling ads, and Elon would have to raise an ungodly amount of capital for the missing 4 elements of a super app; travel, online banking, shopping, and food service. If Elon has a plan for "X" it's an ambiguous one.
A Montana Super App?
According to non-partisan research from the University of Montana, the issue that concerns Montana residents the most is conservation, and by proxy the Montana way of outdoor life. A super app made exclusively for Montana would have to include all kinds of outdoor activities as well as connecting people to how public lands are managed.
Turns out, there's already an app for that: the MyFWP app from Montana Fish & Wildlife. You can find parks to visit, (city, state, and national) register for hunting and fishing licenses, validate your E-Tags when you do harvest game, plus get updated research information for wildlife management. There's even a section for teachers and students to connect with FWP on education programs.
So perhaps there's no need for "one app to rule them all" in Montana. We're doing just fine with what we already have. However, for the times when you need a little company no matter where you are in the Last Best Place, we have another app in mind for you: