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04/24/2006  — 

Startup moments

What's the deal with small companies? I had a classic start-up moment today when we met to talk about our community. The CEO of the company shared some ideas, which became requirements. even to the point of 'put that button on the left'. This kinda made my skin crawl for a few reasons... where is he getting this info? How does he think his suggestion is the remedy for the problem? Is this our feedback mechanism?

It brought me to this conclusion (hardly conclusive): how the hell do you get a product out of beta? Beta isn't a time-period, it's a quality threshold. Kinda seems like the path outta beta includes having some specific/measurable goals, maybe a spec to start. Then, someone had better have an idea about how the service isn't meeting those goals... This leads us to where we are now: new features or band-aid fixes to perceived problems are easier to deal with than performance/compatibility/clarity/usability issues.

There have been several prominent blogs that mention the appalling quality of software. I am a somewhat-silent co-conspirator with my current project. Here are some irrefutable facts about our situation:

  • The site is slow.
  • The features are hidden or confusing
  • The site is not usable by some set of users (browser compatibility issues)
  • Low payoff, missing proposition.

It seems like the best use of the group's time would be to address these classes of issues rather than forging ahead with this motto:

'Let's put some makeup on this pig'