#nwplyng Shuts Down. Founder Shares It All “Fell In Love With The Solution, And Not The Problem”

[Editorial Notes: #nwplyng, the musical app has shutdown (read NextBigWhat coverage : Of 10,350 Miles Roadtrip, Music and Why #nwplyng is Hot). Founder Utsav Agarwal* shares some candid lessons learned along the way.]

We are officially shutting down #nwplyng. What does that mean? We don’t intend to take down the apps (iOS & Android), but there would be no further development. If you noticed, we haven’t shipped an update since December’13, so this was on the cards for quite a while.utsav

Let me list out a few key reasons why the product failed:

i) Fell in love with the solution, and not the problem: I had this idea for a Foursquare for Music app in October’11, and since then I’ve always been too attached to the idea; so much so that I convinced myself that sharing music is a product in itself & not just a feature. Classic rookie 1st startup blunder!

ii) Zero business model: We didn’t have a business model. I was too smitten & blinded by the success of a few social apps, and used that to convince myself against a sound business model.

iii) Times changed, we didn’t: Remember I had the idea in late 2011, and when we released a full flushed out product on May 1, 2013, the idea hadn’t evolved one bit. I feel #nwplyng stood a slight chance in 2011, but by 2013 it had to be different & more *with* the times.

iv) Too much importance on design: Don’t get me wrong, design is super important but we used that as an excuse to delay shipping. If you think your app won’t be successful unless the UX & UI is perfect, chances are it won’t fly anyways. Apps that stick have a genuine use case, and not because they are designed beautifully.

Think about cars for a second. Learning to drive one isn’t the best user experience (especially a stick shift) but people are ready to put in the effort. Think about cars in early 1900s; they had an even worse learning curve. Point is your product needs to have an inherent need, otherwise it’s fluff & you’re hiding behind designs.

Nevertheless, I’m extremely proud of what we were able to achieve with the product. I’ve always felt Indians lack quality & attention to detail when it comes to building world class products, and we proved that wrong. This wouldn’t have been possible sans the team, so a big up to them!

[* Utsav has joined Uber. The article has been reproduced from his blog.]

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