Pay No Attention to that Man behind the Curtain

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We test drove our site with a limited number of alpha users and despite the clunky interface we were pleased by the results. We pushed people through a rather long survey and got an So we knew that people were willing to fill out some forms.

So you can imagine our surprise when our first chunk of 50 alpha users decided not to post any business ideas or pitches. We now realize that social proof and user experience is going to be more and more critical for us. A classic chicken and egg problem which makes our alpha testing more difficult.

We'd love to invite you in

Aardvark allegedly ran for 9 months in Wizard of Oz mode see their video at the Startup Lessons Learned conference here. Meaning that there were a number of employees sitting around looking up answers to questions manually and punching in the answers.


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A number of other services seem to do this as well using Mechancial Turk or a small army of outsourcers. The point of doing things that way is to see if someone is willing to use or pay for your service before you waste a lot of time building something obscenely complicated.

We thought we were doing that by testing our assumption with customer interviews, mockups, and alpha testing. We always asked if entrepreneurs were willing to post their ideas. Read why here. There is a powerful feeling to being the the same room as a thousand other people drinking the same kool-aid.

Pay No Attention To The Man Behind The Curtain by Xanvier Allison — Kickstarter

We can make more value by building less. Continue reading Notify me of follow-up comments by email. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed. But it will require recognizing the forces that are at play and combating them. Engaging people and consuming attention, personal data, and ultimately money are the goals.

We are being cynically and profitably manipulated by a small group of people with an understanding of human psychology — to the level of neurochemistry — and cutting-edge technology. They get better at it every day with advanced analytics and machine learning.

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We the residents and our relationships are the Village of Key Biscayne. Three trends are responsible: Social Media. Facebook is 15 years old; Twitter is 12; WhatsApp is just Twitter and Facebook have gone into politics in a big way. Protests and lawsuits, once last resorts, are now elevated in our thinking to be honorable and clever — even when, or sometimes especially when, they are not preceded by significant efforts at resolution and compromise.

Everything is an emergency. School facilities are an emergency.

I adore the Wizard of Oz.

Bridge and road and park improvements are emergencies. And, of course, underground power lines are an emergency.

The Wizard of Oz

Because often the worst thing you can do in a real emergency is nothing. It was also because they were understood to be complex. Social media is a social gathering — a place to share small talk, photos, jokes, and simple ideas.

About John Zimmer

The sooner we recognize and honor this, the better. Avoid claims that are corrosive.


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