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I Made a Bad Call on Snapchat, but Here’s Why I’m Totally Cool With It

By July 24, 2014No Comments3 min read

One of the things I love about talking shit (aka talking about anything I think will happen in the future) is the fact that sometimes I’m wrong. Go figure.

Back in 2013 Snapchat released a feature called stories. Just after that I was at Le Web whereI basically shat all over the feature in front of a live audience. My opinion was mainly predicated on my concern with the way they were making me move away from the main screen in order to access people’s stories. I didn’t like that user experience. I thought it was high-friction and that it was a lot to ask of users. On top of that, I really liked the one-to-one nature of the app, and so the move to add a one-to-many feature really felt like a half-pregnant idea (especially since it was “hidden” in a different screen).

Fast forward to now. For months, I’ve watched how popular and powerful Snapchat Stories have become, and just recently, Snapchat themselves came out with some data about how successful the feature really is.

I firmly believe that you learn the most from being wrong, and what this experience has taught me (because I was indeed 100% wrong) is this:

When people really love a product, they’re willing to do all kinds of interesting things.

I remember when I was willing to be a very happy iPhone user back in the old days when the first versions of the software were, if we’re all honest with ourselves, average at best. What Snapchat has always had going for it is that it’s been underrated, and that has developed an enormously sticky, devoted fan-base (and yes, I’m linking to a piece where I was right in order to massage my own ego after being wrong). They laugh at my complaints of “this is too many clicks” because they love the app so much.

So kudos to Snapchat. Kudos to them for building a loyal following, and kudos to their product team for executing this so well.

I’m stunned by the way people are crippled by the fear of being on the record.

They’re scared of the fact that there is no erasing history, or massaging people memories with “well that’s not what I really said” anymore. Maybe I’m lucky because I’ve managed to stay on the right side of history more often than not, but very honestly, in a very sneaky way, I actually kind of like being on the wrong side sometimes, too.

Because the learnings are just so valuable.