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Software with an opinion

Choice sucks. Have you ever found yourself standing in the grocery isle faced with the daunting decision of which diced canned tomatos to buy? Petite or large, with chili’s or without, roasted garlic or not. The amount of choice we have in this country (USA) is insane and it can be paralyzing.

Photo Credit: TheeErin

So it is with software which is why we should work hard to give our products an opinion.

Software with an opinion doesn’t have 10’s or 100’s of configuration options just so it’ll work for everyone. For consumer software, configuration choices are burdensome barriers to adoption. Too many choices in an enterprise software package makes it expensive to implement and extends the time it takes to get a customer live.

Software with an opinion makes the hard choices required to support a set of targeted users directly and unabashedly. Choose the primary users who must be satisfied by your product and do everything in your power to delight them, even at the exclusion of everyone else.

Don’t try to be all things to all people because your product won’t be relevant to anyone.

Categories: 100 words per day, Business of Software, Design, Minimum Viable Product.

  • Disqus

    A case in point: the Gnome desktop.

  • bp001

    This is essentially a description of the iOS v/s Android approach. Apple unabashedly goes after a specific type of customer and relies on a halo effect to attract the general populace. Android is all about choice. Only time will tell which approach will win in the long run

    • Jay Nathan

      I would suggest that Google initially did the same thing with search, catering relentlessly to the search user with a clean, one-box search capability. Because they built such a huge business upon the back of search, they were able to create Android which doesn’t share the same focus, but exploits a huge market with a “good enough” product.

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