You have no personality (and other reasons why I’m uninstalling your app)
A short rant in three acts, to all my brothers and sisters in the startup trenches out there.
1. You have no personality
Well, of course you have, but what about your product? Bringing to life a sensible, cookie-cutter, that aims to please everyone (or at least not upset anyone) is a sure way to deliver an underwhelming product.
Grow some balls. Once you decide what your product’s personality and tone should be, go full in. Don’t water it down, and don’t try to please everyone. Some will love it, some won’t care, and some will absolutely hate it. Make peace with it (unless everyone hate it, then you have a problem).
2. You follow the rules
Both Android and iOS provide an extensive guidelines of patterns and native components that help you leverage users’ existing knowledge, develop faster, avoid typical pitfalls, and minimize risks.
One tiny problem though: your product is probably not delivering a patent-protected-one-click-teleportation-technology (if it does, please ping me. I’m interested). Which means, you’re more likely enjoying a healthy dose of competitors, and you’re struggling to impress your users and stand out.
While users may allow your app to exist on their phones, they are also flirting with everyone else out there.
3. You think Growth Hacks are a strategy
Beside the occasional buzz, growth hacking is the worst thing to relay on for long term growth. Your entire product team need to feel committed to produce something that connects with users.
The moment you assign someone to own growth, you signal developers, designers, and everybody else on the team — that this is not their problem. Michael Rome wrote a great piece on this back in 2012, and it’s more relevant than ever.
It’s hard work, but it isn’t rocket science.
While simpler said than done, the investment in bonding with users (finding the right tone of voice, being playfulness and authentic, pleasantly surprising users), is at least as important as investing in your value proposition.
One of our biggest flaws as humans, is what also make us awesome:
We care about things that really shouldn’t matter that much.
We stay friends with people not just for some transactional “value” they provide, but just because we like them.
We forgive the ones we like, even when they fail us sometimes.
Be it people, services, or apps — the logic remains pretty much the same.
Dare to be you
find your voice, dare to step outside the guidelines, develop an authentic message, depart from the (false) safely of “best practices”, breath some personality into your product!
Otherwise, you’re practically counting down to irrelevance.