"Twitter is nothing but a blog that limits your post to 140 characters" and "Instagram is just uploading photos and putting a filter over it, I can build that in a weekend"... those are the kind of ignorant things I used to say. I used to think I was funny and was throwing appropriate jabs at companies I thought got too much money and attention for simple products. But I was wrong, yes you can build a micro blogging platform and a photo-sharing app in just a couple hours but they will not be Twitter or Instagram. No one or team can build a true clone of what twitter and instagram is today over a weekend. These products have taken thousands if not millions of hours of design and engineering refinement and they have the scars to prove it. I learned that the hard way when I, and a group of friends found out Houtsuite and Buffer were raking in tons of cash "scheduling peoples' tweets" then we tried to create our own app that
failed never launched.
“A designer knows he has achieved perfection not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away”
– Antoine de Saint-Exupery
I used to get upset when someone trivialized an app I built, the way I trivialized twitter and instagram but now I take it as a complement. The more I analyze software that has resonated with people the more I realize it is because of how simple they seem and also how hard it is to stay simple. If someone can look at an piece of software that took you weeks and months to build and they say, "oh, that’s just X mixed with Y, very simple" I think you have executed correctly. I find that really good software rarely lose their way. It is easy for you to create a photo-sharing app that also becomes a music-sharing app and then also becomes a location-sharing app. It takes real discipline to know what the vision of the software is and every feature added does not expand the scope of the problems you are solving but make your app even better at solving that very first problem you set out to solve when you were creating your MVP (Minimum Viable Product).
So now when I catch myself about to criticize a popular app for being ridiculously simple, I stop and give respect instead. Because when you look closely the people behind it have a vision and they have executed it in possibly its simplest form, which is ridiculously hard to do. To me they are the REAL MVPs (Most Valuable Players).
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