We should design simple consumer products
016. On building within new paradigms
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I co-hosted a web3 dinner last night and it was such an illuminating experience. The attendees were 10% web3 builders and 90% otherwise—you all know how I feel about these distinctions. Anyway, the conversations we had were fascinating and more insightful than sitting on Twitter all day drinking the eth kool-aid.
One person talked about how confusing and consuming this new world was. Who has time to spend 20 hours on YoutTube or wherever learning about blockchains? Especially when they’re smart enough to quickly make thousands of dollars with their existing knowledge? What’s the point of trying to flip an NFT and risk getting rugged?
Speaking of risk, how do you assess it? If you’re lucky, you end up in great group chats that help validate a project. But, what if you’re not so lucky? Maybe your luck can run out. What are the odds that you won’t pay 25eth for a Mekaverse NFT only for the going price to be 0.4eth a few months later because the project has crashed and burned? Is everything just speculation and you hope you get in and out in time? Maybe so.
Mostly, we discussed how simply and easily people expect to experience products and experiences. I swear I didn’t seed this suggestion, but someone brought up Apple as a prime example of a company that made sense out of the complicated dial-up era of the internet. The suggestion reminded me of my favorite (design) principle: keep it simple, stupid (or, KISS). The idea is that most systems work best if they are kept simple rather than made complicated; therefore, simplicity should be a key goal in design, and unnecessary complexity should be avoided.
I can hear the crypto chorus now saying, “we’re so earlyyyyyy.”
Yes and we can still do better.
The question is … who are we making products for? And how can we keep them as the north star that guides the infrastructure and products we build?
This question is open-ended because ultimately everyone has different motivations. But if the goal is to usher in a new era of the internet, then certainly people, instead of money, should be the motivation, no?