Customers are the heart of every business. It’s the customer who decides whether or not a company survives, nay thrives. Recommending to listen and iterate on customer feedback is at the heart of every VC’s/thought leader’s content strategy.
If you think of a content marketing tool—or any other vertical tool/offering—the audience is quite clear. What would make content marketers use our tool more? What would make them happier? You can segment further and ask what would rejoice content marketers who already use our tool or content marketers with a 10K budget make the switch to our tool?
In the case of user generated tools, that advice gets a little murky. User generated software by their nature, have a more diverse audience than any other software out there. It offers primitives so anyone can build what they want and expand on its functionality.
And who they should build for can be unclear and vary wildly. In the early days, it’s unclear what benefit anyone gets from the platform. Put yourself in the shoes of the early days of Zapier with a few connections built out—what’s next? Focus on making those connections deeper or increase the number of connections offered? What about adding native logic? Zapier opted for the former and built out thousands of connections in the following years.
Logic within Zapier was therefore deprioritized. It took roughly 5 years to launch Paths
(conditional logic) despite that being at the top of every user’s wishlist! That “delay” was a conscious decision from Zapier to prioritize some users—folks who wanted more connections—over others—power users who needed logic in their flows. It’s not only about prioritizing features for different proficiency levels: Zapier may have had to prioritize connections in a vertical over another, Zapier apps vs native apps etc.
Multiply these trade offs amongst a very large group of folks, add in the complexity of building primitives
, and you’ve got a recipe for a frustrated user base, all asking themselves why their features aren’t being prioritized.
This discontent should not however make you feel powerless! I’d even go so far as to say that the most value you can bring as a user to a platform is your passionate voice about what they should build. But remember that your voice is one among many and that the way to be heard is by being persuasive, passionate and understanding!
This train of thought is brought to you by Matthew Cassinelli who has been arguing of the importance of mobile for prosumer tools (including Airtable) for years even if it would mean that we no longer used his Siri shortcuts
(his area of expertise)! Those types of passionate but reasoned pleas are exactly what gets platforms to budge (having a huge budget helps also, so I’ve heard).
I’ll end by saying that I am here for all of your complaints. Not because I have any influence on Airtable’s or any other tool’s roadmap but as a power user, I feel your pain and I like commiserating with you all.