Concept, Design, and Hype

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Concept, Design, and Hype

From The Rise and Fall of Everest (the App).

I fully acknowledge that I’m inclined — perhaps overly inclined — to be critical of anything related to Product Hunt, but the final sentence in the paragraphs above really captures why I roll that way.

“The concept, design, and hype around the app strongly signaled its future success.”

If you asked me to rattle off a list of things that are incredibly unlikely to be indicators of future success for any product, “concept, design, and hype” would hold at least two of the top three slots.

Sure, it’s great if everyone’s talking about your app, but when that coverage notes that the product was “beset by bugs,” or asks “can they really replace the old pen and paper?” it seems like “hype” might not be the word you’re actually looking for — and further, that maybe the concept (while cool) is not actually resonating with the world at large.

Reading the full post-mortem I’m left with a strong sense that getting wrapped up in concept, design, and hype to the exclusion of all else is pretty much exactly what caused Everest to fail — and yet the Product Hunt introduction seems to miss that fact entirely.

It’s nice that Product Hunt is now exploring followup on apps and companies after they’re no longer the Official Shiny Happy It Thing of the day, but the tone that they take in presenting this piece still rubs me the wrong way.

I can’t help but read the Product Hunt introduction as the question “how could a startup this hip have failed?” And I can’t help but read the rest of the post as the answer “because what matters for actual companies is not what gets you to the top of the Product Hunt leaderboard.”