Be nice. Or else.
CEO at Highrise Joined over 4 years ago via an invitation from Allan G.
Something Really New: Three Simple Steps to Creating Truly Innovative Products
This is one that hasn't been rehashed over and over. Premise is simple: find tasks people have, create recipe lists of people doing those tasks, remove steps for folks. Really great way of organizing your thought in here on making products people are going to find super helpful. Has been a key thing in my own work.
Hello! Thanks for posting this Gadzhi! I'm happy to help anyone I can with any questions or whatever is on your mind! If there's any questions too that you want Jason or I to tackle on the show, please shout. Would love to fit them into our discussions.
Thanks Paul! Highrise is getting a lot of love too since we've spun off from Basecamp. Please feel free to reach out (email@example.com). How can I help? Not just on CRM stuff, but would love to be of service to anyone here in the community.
Where do you go for web design inspiration? Dribbble, etc?
Anywhere but other web sites.
The best places to find inspiration is to look outside of the domain I'm designing for.
Some of the coolest stuff I find other companies making are so far outside of their domain. For example, Wrigley's Gum studies paint (e.g. how do companies create such white paint) in order to find ideas on making better teeth whitening gum. And paint companies are studying nature (e.g. how do lily pads stay so dry) to understand how to create stain resistant paint.
Draft, which has done very well for me, was designed by taking a lot of inspiration from the Kindle Paperwhite. I paid a lot of attention to how Amazon provides menus, buttons, functions on top of reading, while still keeping reading the main focus and without distracting folks with lots of chrome. For colors that I used for the color palette, I spent a lot of time combing through art books and even taking photos of things at the Art Museum in Chicago, namely my favorites from Van Gogh.
And now with Highrise I spend a lot of time looking at anything but CRM/address book software. Instead I spend a lot of time looking at paper notebooks. How do those old Daytimers work or Franklin Covey planners. How does my parents rolodex of index cards work for them so well still today?
Of course I'm still looking at Dribbble and all the other web sites I come across to stay fresh. But the true bursts of inspiration I got creating things like web software for writing, was looking at anything but other writing programs and web software.
I dig it! Looks great. Very scannable. One thing that came to mind if you need any more brainstorming on where this could go -- Looking at this was something I wrote awhile ago:
I think most people creating resumes don't fail so much at the resume part as they fail at the cover letter part. They fail at communicating something that isn't obvious. They state "I'm made with real eggs" and they are a breakfast sandwich. Of course you're made with real eggs; you are an egg sandwich. Use the space to tell me something interesting and surprising about yourself.
People also fail at testimonials. The biggest reason I hire people is when someone else says something nice about them. But most people stick a "references on request" at the bottom of resumes. That's terrible! Testimonials should be at the top of your resume or cover letter.
I'm only mentioning that because that's where I think people need the most help, and could your solution help with that?
Maybe your resume could have a beautiful pull quote or two at the top for testimonials. Or a place at the top to call out what should be in a cover letter (e.g. a better Objective area). A short paragraph of your story, and how you're different. The anecdote that tells me how different you are than everyone else. The paragraph about how you surprised everyone in your last job, know one thought you could pull off XYZ, but you did, and you got a promotion for it. That kind of thing. Because really, most people hiring don't want to read the resume.
As I was thinking about your question I was reminded of this book: Trade Off.
The book's argument is that: - things that catch on make a trade off between Utility and Luxury, or in his language (Convenience and Fidelity). - Convenience is how easy or cheap you can make something for people. - Fidelity is luxury or level of experience. Its the difference between listening to a MP3 and going to a concert. Or watching a movie or being on set of the movie and having lunch with the actors. - If you try and do both at a high degree, you'll lose.
I won't argue the books points, but it is a very interesting lens. My inclinations then if I were building something like you're talking about that was going to be the "premium/luxury" app and thinking about Trade Off:
Again, I'm not saying Trade Off is right or wrong, but it is a very interesting way to look at things. I do think too many apps aren't making this choice and they fail to capture customers' attention. There are apps that do pack a lot of utility and that's what customers want, but they don't communicate that to customers because they spend too much time trying to communicate something else. And vice versa. It's been a huge help in crafting and marketing my own site: Draft http://draftin.com/ It packs a lot of utility so I didn't spend much time trying to communicate something else: no logo, no deep time spent on the marketing site, no beautiful product pics. I focused on communicating utility. I picked one side of the Trade Off and it worked well.
Razvan! Thank you very much for saying that. That's awesome to hear, and also inspires me to just keep trying to get better too. I appreciate you reading these.
I like the Steno Books form Field Notes. http://fieldnotesbrand.com/shop/ They're just big and stay open.
Looks interesting. One of the things I've always got on my mind with anything where you want some people signing up: put some testimonials somewhere that stick out. Over and over again, conversions go way up with some social proof.
37signals got some great conversion improvements sticking a human saying something nice about Basecamp on the homepage. We got some huge improvements on some Obama donation forms sticking a quote on the form. My wife got a ton more job interviews sticking nice things her boss/coworkers said about her in her cover letter.
I'm sure you have some people somewhere saying some nice things about you and this product.
This was interesting on Lifehack.org recently about finding inspiration from unexpected successes:
I also love finding inspiration from old things. Things people have forgotten and take for granted today. I think Aaron Draplin does a great job of keeping his eyes open for "old" stuff. Which inspires him on projects like Field Notes. I've got a blog post about finding inspiration from things people obsess about that highlights some of what Aaron's done and has a video of what he collects.