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Excitement is a terrific metric.

It's possible to get people involved with a product if they're not excited about it. There's still growth involved. But the difference between that and a project people actively fall in love with is extraordinary.

Yes, making it exciting is more important than making it easy to develop for.

"Excitement" is a benefit, not a feature. This distinction from advertising is obvious, but hard to drive into engineering (even when it's me).

I was looking up information about the book Punk Marketing a few days ago, and somebody gives an anecdote about a presentation they gave where the first slide was titled "How to Market to Generation Y", and the second slide was titled "You can't.", and that was the entire presentation. And there's some truth to that. The more people advertise, the more people get bored. So excitement becomes the only thing that matters.

Until my current project I always thought that excitement was something that you simulated to get users. The guy who built and marketed Zoints, the start-up I did work for in high school, would IM me and talk about these campaigns he wanted to run on forums where Zoints employees would become forum members to talk about how much they loved the network (it was a social network for forums, essentially). And I thought, Oh, this is how you generate excitement. Then I started demoing Cirqueti to people in January, and suddenly I was getting absolutely ridiculous feedback. Things like, I'd talk to somebody about it on IM, and they would go to their college and talk to their professor or their class about it. One guy keeps bringing friends onto his IM account to ask me questions about it.

It's insane, and it's a terrific feeling, and more than that it's genuine. I love it, because it means I don't have to lie or oversell what I've got: from the initial reaction it doesn't at all look like that'll be necessary, and I can focus on just making it better. And the best part of that is it's not marketing. Like, this isn't some cynical attempt to gain users. It's much more honest, because they're doing it on their own. I've seen that with a lot of web sites, in particular Facebook, which ran no ads on competing web sites (unlike TagWorld, which people thought was a big potential competitor, and which would advertise everywhere). I love it. It shows that if you've actually made something good, then you don't have to worry about advertising and you can just be yourself and do your own thing.

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