Monday, August 18, 2008

Forget People Who Dont Like You

In a reflective moment, my frequently wise, 17 year old brother told me that he thought life was much too short to waste time on people who didn’t like him. The same is true when you’re building and providing a web application. It’s generally accepted that you should design for yourself before you start designing for other people, but as an extension – don’t waste time on people who aren’t going to like you anyway. There are a couple of good posts floating around this week on this topic:

“I think the best brands, the best sites have a large portion of their founders personality in them. Never be afraid to be yourself, after all there are 1/2 billion people on the www, not all of them have to agree with you. Concentrate on the ones that share your views, concentrate on making their experience the very best it can be, the rest forget them.”

“Faced with the excitement of making a CD and all the knobs and dials, they overproduced the record. They went from being two real guys playing authentic music, live and for free, and became a multi-tracked quartet in search of a professional sound. And they ended up in the dead zone. Not enough gloss to be slick, too much to be real.”
- Seth Godin

Here’s the correct progression:
  1. Build a product that you yourself love to use – if you can’t convince yourself, how can you convince anyone else?
  2. Delight the people who already give you the benefit of the doubt. Believe it or not, there are people who will invest an inordinate amount of time in your application and excuse all kinds of foibles – worry about these people, they are the ones who will churn out over time if you don’t serve them well enough, not the ones who abandon right off the bat – it’s too hard to convince abandoners anyway.
  3. When you’re creating value and inculcating loyalty, then go ahead and aggressively open the floodgates.

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