Thoughts on entrepreneurship, startups, and tech.


The Struggle For Features Is Useless

A lot of startups I work with struggle to squeeze into their app or website, as many features as they can. I don’t blame them for trying, it’s an honest endeavour but the result is most often the opposite of the intent. Feature overload.

Recent Social Science has shown us what we instinctively have known about ourselves for centuries, we get inspired by (and remember) things that are singular and emotional. When we describe objects, moments or people we start off with one word, the one that astonishingly jumps first into our mind and then we tend to weave a complex association of other words only to reassure ourselves (and audience) that we really meant what we said in the first place. That’s right, one. Try it next time when you taste some wine for the first time, it’s very difficult to sway away from that initial word (emotion).

Same thing applies to the mobile and web apps we use daily in our personal and professional lives. More often than not, we keep coming back to the same app because consistently serves up that same unique sentiment we received when we first used it.

Let’s take for example UBER. When you first opened the app, you were initially seduced by the simplicity of it all — a couple of little black cars driving around your vicinity. But the true excitement came from the simple visualisation of how close your ride was to you — that visible cue alone was enough to satisfy any other of your needs.

And what about Shazam or Tinder, similar simplistic and uncommon interfaces keep us returning because these types of applications answer single and precise needs, and they do it well.

I contend that a majority of today’s aspiring mobile or web founders are trying to jam too much, into too little. It’s not about screen space, ergonomics or UI — it’s about functionality vs time. A confusing mixture of features, all aimed at attempting to satisfy multiple, and often disparate needs, only increases the complexity of the experience and unwittingly depresses the emotion of it all.

People are starting to acknowledge that technology is increasingly ubiquitous in their lives and they are consciously starting to adapt new behaviours to better integrate it and one of them is simply using it when needed. And enjoyment is the bookmark.

The hype is gone, technology is a utility, emotions are the driver and not the contrary.