Rapid Release or Slow Rollout: Meerkat & Periscope Analogy

The greatest strength and greatest weakness are one in the same.


The debate is never ending. Which is better, Periscope or Meerkat? One has more features but is less stable, the other has less features but is more reliable.

So the real question is, what’s better — to have many features that don’t always work, or a few features that work really well?

Each approach is both a strength and a weakness.

Rapid Release: Excitement / Disappointment

With Meerkat being the scrappy startup that is rapidly trying to innovate and release things, there’s bound to be many hiccups in the process. But some people love that. And why shouldn’t they — new things are exciting!

But what’s not exciting is when you go to use those new things and they don’t work. And then you spend the majority of time trying to get it to work rather than getting your message across.

I’ve seen this happen with other products and even social networks. What ends up happening is users get really excited, the company gets a lot of attention and activity buzzes. But after a while, people get burned out.

I’ve watched this happen a lot on Google+ as I was one of the early adopters who dug in deep. New features that promise cool things but then end up being more trouble than they’re worth — at least at first.

Google was able to fix this pattern quickly, but not without a lot of backlash. They’ve now learned their lesson and are releasing new features more slowly and with more stability.

Slow Rollout: Reliability / Boredom

Periscope was in development for over a year before it was released. And when it was finally released it had far less features and integrations than Meerkat. But those features worked and they were far more stable.

And even after several new releases and updates, Periscope is still far behind in the area of features. But what they do have is stability.

A more polished user interface, a more consistent user experience, and a more reliable platform in which to grow an audience.

The downfall? People get bored waiting for new things to come out. Excitement drops and people get fatigued with waiting for the things they really want.

This same debate can be applied to Apple vs. Android. And I’ll not get into that because that turns into a shouting fest really quickly.

But here’s the fact — Apple products are slower to release, there’s less of them and they tend to be more reliable and stable. Android products are far more diverse, always faster to release, and tend to have more bugs and glitches.

Wide Vs. Deep

This morning I was watching a Gary Vaynerchuk broadcast on Meerkat. In this broadcast I was having a discussion with one of the commenters about the stability issues with Meerkat’s new Cameo feature — this same debate about rapid release being unstable. I can’t remember his comment exactly but it was to the extent of,

“[Meerkat] is going deep rather than wide.”

But that’s not really true. You see, what they’re actually doing (like Google and Android) is going wide — release as many features as possible, as quickly as possible and then make them better.

Volume of features = wide.

Going deep means focusing in, like a laser, and ensuring that each feature that is released works well right off the bat.

So which approach is better?

Neither. Each approach brings specific strengths and weaknesses. For me it all comes down to personality type.

Some people prefer or even enjoy testing and tinkering with the latest and greatest technology and features, even if it’s not quite “ready” for mass consumption. Others prefer to use features and technology and not have to tinker and stumble through bugs or bumps in the road.

So the real question is not which is better, but which do you prefer?

I look forward to hearing your response!

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