OK, screw the super angels. You’ve heard all about those, right?
Well, I’m tired of hearing all about them. Why? They pollute every conversation with talk of valuations. Collusion. Exit strategies. Monetization strategies. Gamification strategies.
When I was on stage at Techcrunch Disrupt I had to sit through this kind of talk. Look at the sessions from the first day. It’s all about adding gaming systems to the web. What did they talk about? Pleasing investors (we’re already selling hundreds of thousands of dollars worth) or pleasing brands (we can help brands get more engagement).
Gag me with a spoon.
Did I hear anyone during our session say “users are gonna love this?” Or “we did this to make users lives easier/better/etc?” No!
But it’s worse than that.
When I talk with audiences that have lots of VCs and VIPs in them, like I did last week at Rackspace’s SaaS event, or the week before at VatorSplash (a great event, by the way), I ask them how many new apps they’ve tried on their phones.
Only 5% of those audiences have tried more than 100 apps (I’ve tried more than 500, but have kept 356 on my iPhone. Strike that, I was just at CardMunch today and got one more. 357. Great business card scanning app, by the way).
Why is that? Because money talks.
I’m sick of it.
Instead of the Super Angels alledgedly colluding against entrepreneurs, it’s time that the users met at places like Bin-38 and collude to get better products. It’s time that super users get the word out again. It used to be that the tech bloggers were all about users. But, lately, the best user conference, Gnomedex, has closed up shop and the tech press has decided to either talk about new products, people getting promoted/fired/hired, or funding events or exits.
I want a blog that says “Hey, did you hear what Kleiner Perkins sold today? WHO CARES! Did they build a better product?”
I’m to blame, by the way. Why do I say that? Well…
When Facebook opened up its new group feature, did I build a list of super users? No. I built a list of VCs, CEOs, and Tech Influentials.
Gag me with a spoon.
Did I get off my behind and build a Twitter list of super users? No. I’ve built a bunch of them, but none that focus on users.
Do I ask enough questions about how to use a product or service better? No.
Do I get technical info from companies about how to use APIs to build things better for users? No.
Do I hold companies feet to the fire for building crappy user interfaces? Not enough. Yeah, I bashed the first Kindle, but do I do that enough? No.
So, what can we do to make the industry more user-centric?
I’ll try to do my part. I’m looking for people who have more than 100 apps loaded on their mobile phones to start a group of super users. Who is in? Leave your Twitter info and Plancast info here so I can add you to a group.
By banding together we can put pressure on those Super Angels to give us better technology.
Why focus on mobile? Because mobile is seeing the most innovation and change of any platform, by far, and investment too. It’s where users still have some leverage because those super angels will be pushing their companies to get adoption and they’ll want to talk with super users who are willing to try new ideas/apps/services, etc.
Are you in?