Less Is More

I attended the local tech meet-up last evening and the topic was being lean.  No, not how to lose weight unless you’re counting the weight of excessive costs.   Or as it said in the event description:

Lean and Agile are two related approaches that use startup mentality and an iterative approach to deliver results and new possibilities. We’ll take an overview of Lean, its opportunities and pitfalls and some broad approaches to adopt Lean thinking for you and your organization.

Great presentation (thanks, Dan), and it stimulated more thinking on yesterday’s topic, Facebook and its new set of features. So at the risk of beating a dead horse…

Why do most people, who are not tech experts, use Facebook (and you can substitute “your product” for Facebook)?  To stay in touch with the friends, family, college buddies, etc.  Most people don’t know the difference between a “fan page” and “personal pages”, “brand pages” “like” and “subscribe.”  They just want to know what their friends are up to and where to meet for drinks.  I won’t bore you with a discussion of how analytics are affected behind the scenes if you’re running a brand page and get to today’s point.

Last night’s theme was about stripping away anything that isn’t core to the product.  It was about rapid development and deployment and using feedback to pivot the product if required.  Facebook is going to other way – adding crazy features that aren’t core – and turning off users.  They’re listening to engineers and watching their competitors (as if they had any) and not paying attention to their users.  We’ve seen this movie before as Microsoft bloated the Office products with dozens of features that only a tiny minority wanted but which made the products more complex, expensive, and slow.

Less is more.  If it’s not something users are demanding, even if they can’t define what they want, why bother?  I’m not against growing and improving any product.  As an example, Facebook’s incorporating Skype was refining chat and adding the ability to video chat.  That corresponds to why people use the product.  We need to serve our customers and not our egos.  Why does Facebook get to tell me what I want to see more of?  Why do you get to tell your customers?

And THAT will be the end of the Facebook rants.  I promise.

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