I Don’t See This App Being A Big Seller…

On August 30, 2008

Maybe it’s my morbid sense of humor but something about the response to one new app amused me to no end this week.

This app definately isn’t going to be an App Store "Top 25". It won’t even be a "Top 2000".

The lack of current and future popularity isn’t because the UI is ugly (which it is) but because it deals in two areas we don’t want to know about- death and the fact that the choices we make may directly impact our longevity.

Let me go back and explain…



The app is called the DeathCalc. The principle is rather simple- it "asks" a variety of lifestyle questions and, based on your answers, gives you a general idea of what your longevity will or won’t be.

Boy did it strike a cord. Here are some of the "reviews" (more like comments to my mind) over on iTunes-

"I am suddenly depressed"

"This isn’t at all interesting. Ew"

"I do have to say that this is a horrible idea for an app. I can’t imagine who would buy it"

And finally there is this-

"Why would someone make this app terrible? I tell you. Plus it’s not free. Yea let me pay u to tell me when I’m gonna die great news!"

At least one person got the joke. S/he wrote-

"Oh come on, people! this a hilarious idea. Or maybe it’s my Irish black sense of humour popping out. Not that useful, but when you’re having a bad day and want to wallow, this is just the thing."

Here is the part that I find so funny- this silly little app isnt actually a joke. It is based on the real scientific work of gerontologist Doctor David Demko.

A number of years ago he developed “the death calculator”. Based on certain lifestyle behaviors and patterns he clams to be able to accurately predicate how long we will live. The "calculator" does this through a rather simple quiz, a series of 30 questions that either add or subtract years from the national (USA) life expectancy of 79.

For example, the test asks-

Do you have an annual physical exam? If so add three years to your life.  If not, subtract three.

Do you volunteer on a weekly basis?  If so, add two years. If not, deduct one year.

Do you smoke a pack of cigarettes daily? If yes, subtract four years.

And the quiz goes on.

Do you own a pet? Add two years for interactive pets add one year for passive pets

Are you a religious person and do you practice your faith? If so, add two years.

Just for fun, a few years back “Blender magazine” asked Dr. Demko to apply his calculator to the lives of some celebrities. According to his calculations, Whitney Houston should live until 2022.  Six years were added to her number because she is married but she lost four years because she was married to Bobby Brown. American Idol’s Clay Aken was predicted to live well into his eighties, while Courtney Love was given to just 62.
My favorite was Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones. According to Demko he should have died almost a decade ago.

So what’s the point of the app? The point, as Demko writes, is that, “Long life isn’t just a result of smart jeans and dumb luck. Most of the time, it is due to moderate living, sleeping, diet, exercise, work, and leisure. In fact,” he says, “80% of the factors that control how long we will live are related to lifestyle not genetics.”

So for $.99 you can now find out if you will be around long enough to see the release of the 20th Generation iPhone. Curious??? Download the app… Or you could always buy the book on Amazon HERE.