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.
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!
Also, MobME! This roller coaster ride wouldn’t have even started without their support. Thank you guys, love you for the audacity of your vision!
So what’s next?
I’m joining Uber as Launcher EMEA. Why? Because I thoroughly believe in their mission. NYC clocks 700k cab rides a day, I’m guesstimating Uber does 1.5mm rides a week globally; they are just scratching the surface. Even if Uber were to capture the transportation business worldwide, they’d have only grown to under 50% of their full potential. Uber is the next generation logistics company, and cars are just the beginning.