Thursday, 20 January 2011

The Case For Simplicity

Great comment on Quora as to why dropbox beat out its competitors by Issac Hull who co-founded a competitor product called Synchplicity.

"After I left Syncplicity, I ran into the CEO of Dropbox and asked him my burning question: "Why don't you support multi-folder synchronization?" His answer was classic Dropbox. They built multi-folder support early on and did limited beta testing with it, but they couldn't get the UI right. It confused people and created too many questions. It was too hard for the average consumer to setup. So it got shelved."

Hull suggests that no matter how loudly your users may want functionality, if it doesn't work for at least 80% of your users then it isn't worth it.

I think this is a lesson in marketing that can never be stated too often - fewer, smarter, better. Middle gray or just being good is a sure path to failure. No matter how big or small your budget is, be brilliant or be gone.

At the end of the day, it's the business case for simplicity.

Friday, 7 January 2011

That Screen Formally Known As The TV

"Sure my kid watches primetime TV. Only he doesn't watch it in prime time and he doesn't watch it on his TV"

When my daughter was five, we walked by a house on garbage day with an electric typewriter on the lawn ready to be thrown to the trash. She walked right up to it with a quizzical look on her face and turned to me with one hand in mine - and simply asked - what's that mommy?

Boy did i feel old.

And I guess that's how people feel when they start to debate about if people want Internet on their TV.

TV? What's that? Oh you mean that flat panel screen on our living room wall?

Richard Bullwinkle, chief evangelist at Rovi, says that an entire generation is going to have to stop watching TV before app enabled TV's cross the chasm. It's true that most people haven't really figured out how to get the wireless in their devices to synch and up and running.

But this isn't going to be a ten year proposition.

With the ubiquity of smartphones finally becoming a reality (more kids own a cell phone than a book), the always on pervasiveness of the network will finally have people realizing that their focus should no longer be device specific - because there won't be three screen strategies over at the cellular and cable companies anymore -

There is only one strategy:

- the single screen strategy -

Meaning whatever screen i happen to be looking at in any given moment - be it my cell phone, my book reader, my ipad, or that thing formerally known as the TV screen on my living room wall.

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