Simplicity

Joel Spolsky writes:

Making simple, 20% products is an excellent bootstrapping strategy because you can create them with limited resources and build an audience. It’s a Judo strategy, using your weakness as a strength, like the way the Blair Witch Project, filmed by kids with no money at all, used the only camera they could afford, a handheld video camera, but they invented a plot in which that was actually a virtue. So you sell “simple” as if it were this wonderful thing, when, coincidentally, it’s the only thing you have the resources to produce. Happy coincidence, that’s all, but it really is wonderful!

What works for bootstrapping, I believe, will not work as a good long term strategy, because there’s very little to prevent the next two-person startup from cloning your simple app, and because eventually you can’t fight human nature: The people want the features, says Norman. Just because handheld video was perfect for Blair Witch, doesn’t mean every Hollywood blockbuster will use it.

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