Screw the super angels, we need a super user collusion table at Bin-38

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.

How boring.

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).

Just look at Google. There are 3.1 million results for “super angels.” But there’s only 298,000 results for “super users.”

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.

Oh, and how do you get more than 100 apps? Use Chomp. Appolicious. Or Appsfire.

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?

About Robert Scoble

As Startup Liaison for Rackspace, the Open Cloud Computing Company, I travel the world with Rocky Barbanica looking for what's happening on the bleeding edge of technology and report that here.

76 thoughts on “Screw the super angels, we need a super user collusion table at Bin-38

  1. I don’t make quite make the cut, with around 70 apps on my android devoice. But I’ve tried a lot more. I just cut out the ones that I don’t use, don’t like, or that don’t work.
    I do love apps and enjoy finding new ones and using them to make my life more productive or more fun.

  2. I have over 100 apps on my iPhone, and beta tested many more (apps) during my days with the BlackBerry Alliance team. Would love to get more involved with mobile apps, especially in the sports field.

  3. While I agree with the need for more input from the users, even the Super Users, like Christofer says above, this isn’t always a “better” group in and of itself. According to iTunes I have downloaded 288 apps. Most of those are free, but of the 30 or so paid apps the only ones I don’t use are Command & Conquer and Sim City. Both of these had a lot of nostalgia value but neither is really playable in iOS. I have 89 apps (looks like installed but all of them get use even if, like your flashlight, that use is occasional but important. And except for Tricorder I think all of them actually “do” something. Apps are definitely suited for wisdom of the crowd – 200k (and growing) apps per OS? Not even a Super User can master one category unless it is very niche. However, lots of people can learn a few apps each and use them thoroughly.

  4. Super Users are just a differing myopia, like anyone REALLY productive is going to wade thru that many apps or actually use to full potential, or be all that concerned when the product doesn’t work as advertised (hype doesn’t play in Peoria), real users will be, putting up hard-earned money, expecting results. Just richie geeks being geeks for the geeks sake of being geeky, and for being in the in-know-cool-kids-crowd, gotta collect them all.

    Any MBA worth a half penny (or within eye-shot of a decent Product Diffusion Curve diagram) can tell, you focusing on Super Users/”Innovators”/Early Adopters is the surest way to ruin a company, bored in 60 seconds, onto the next new newer app.

    And the venture market has long been sub-prime…

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