Creating differentiation in an overly crowded market is difficult. Infact, if you ask any VC, they will never put money in a startup which is attempting to build business in a market where there are too many big players.
But then, it’s all about understanding the customer pain and offering something which is refreshing and adds value. Here are a few examples of products I switched to in the recent times (and ditched the ones I have been using for few years).
Google Reader to Feedly
I have been using Google Reader for almost 2.5 years and needless to say, it’s the starting point for the day and pretty much the mecca for all things I am interested in.
My biggest disappointment with the product has been the amount of data that I end up consuming (well, it’s an opt-in as I have subscribed to 350+ rss feeds) and the cluttered look and feel of the Goog Reader.
Great products do not just let user do what he wants to do, but suggest what user should do.
And it took me just 2 minute to switch to Feedly.
Here is why
- Unlike several other products that expect you to upload the OPML files, Feedly integrates with Google Reader nicely and all you need to do is to login via your gmail account.
Feedly brings all your folders/tags from Goog Reader and presents them in a eye-candy manner.
- Most importantly, the experience.
Google Reader, like a typical Google homepage is all-texty, while Feedly does a great job of showing the content mashed up with rich media content.
Be it about the predictable shortcuts or the font type/size, Feedly takes the cake and is one of those products with “F**King Cool” experience.
Feedly has purely played on user experience in the feed reader market, which is ofcourse overcrowded and questions are being raised about the future of RSS.
Twitterfeed to Goo.gl
Apart from the fact that feedburner’s service is fast, what really impressed me is the auto hash tags that Feedburner generates for each and every article. If you say, what’s the big deal with has tags, well you haven’t explored much of Twitteristan then.
Simialrly, I moved away from hootsuite to tweetdeck (though I keep oscillating between the two) – there are quite a few products that bring in an incremental-yet-substantial value that you end up using them.
If you notice, none of the above mentioned differentiations are big features by definition, but then great products are built on user intent and customer pain (Read: “Small is Big” – Of User Intent and How Great Products are Built on Small Features).
What’s your opinion? Do you have similar experiences to share?
And if you are a startup building big features, does something ring a bell?