Start Up Blog

A Tiny Twist

Posted in entrepreneurship by Steve Sammartino on November 16, 2010

Today I sent this tweet which got quite a bit of comment:

There were over 400 video sharing websites when Youtube launched. Often it’s smarter to do it better, than build something new.

Immediately after the tweets started coming through about other businesses which entered the market late and taken a strong hold’.

The most recent example for me is Instagr.am

It’s ‘another’ photo sharing platform to add to the long list of mobile apps for doing just this, including but certainly not limited to Flickr, Twitpic, Yfrog, img.ly, Mobypicture…. I’m sure there are hundreds.

Next thing I knew all the photos being shared on my tweet stream had all converted to the Instagr.am format – so I had check it out. Turns out Instagr.am added a tiny twist which enabled it get busy with the ‘in’ crowd. By simply adding a filter feature, it made  photo sharing a whole lot more fun.  What filter does is transform the pic and stylise the look to give a retro feel, add few scratches and a white Polaroid frame and you’ve got the hottest new pic app on the entire web. It’s easy to use, and once again photo sharing has been reinvented.

So what’s the lesson here?

Design matters. In fact design is the thing that wins in the long run. Humans like things of beauty. It is coded in our DNA, we prefer the beautiful. Side note: beautiful is both usable and and nice to look at, it must have both.

Existing Market. Sometimes it’s easier to build a better version of something people are using, than to invent a new market. We don’t have to invest time convincing people it is worth participating. Rather, we just need to show them why we are superior. In an industry like we apps where the switching barriers are so low usability and design are often the catalysts for this to occur.

The question for startups is this: How do we sustain a leadership position against the next tiny twist?

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4 Responses

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  1. Josh Moore said, on November 17, 2010 at 12:15 pm

    Hey Steve,

    Given the importance of design, have you thought about giving your blog a design update? Just curious as to your thoughts on this one.

    Regards,

    JM

  2. Steve Sammartino said, on November 17, 2010 at 4:36 pm

    Josh,

    I hear what you are saying, and the design of my blog is actually deliberate. It’s very simple and white so that the information lives centre stage. It also allows visuals to own the space when I include them on blogs. Though, I will admit there are some restrictions on a .wordpress address which I’d hate to move because all of my equity and Google juice is under this name.

    That said, I like it clean and more journalistic in nature.
    Steve.

  3. Josh Moore said, on November 18, 2010 at 7:00 am

    I like it. Just wanted to make sure there was a method in your madness ;-)

    JM

  4. Alejandro de la Fuente Bellatin said, on December 5, 2010 at 12:39 pm

    LES AGRADEZCO QUE ME HAYAN INSCRITO ,YA QUE USTEDES SON LO MAXIMO PARA MI Y MI INSPIRACION,ESPERO QUE SIEMPRE ESTEMOS EN CONTACTO Y QUE NO SE OLVIDEN DE EL MIAL EN QUE LES CUENTO TODO LO QUE YO TAMBIEN SE HACER Y QUE ME ENCANTARIA QUE ME DEN LA OPORTUNIDAD DE MANDARLES FOTOS DE LO QUE YO HAGO,CLARO QUE PERSONALMENTE SON SUPERIORES Y LO MAXIMO PARA MI SERIA IR A TRABAJAR CON USTEDES Y SEGUIR APRENDIENDO CADA DIA MAS DE USTEDES,
    DESDE YA LES AGRADEZCO EL HABERME ESCRITO Y QUE ME TENGAN PRESENTE.
    ATT
    ALEJANDRO DE LA FUENTE BELLATIN


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