Rephrase your product/service as a question. Then answer it.
My last installment took a look at understanding the actual moment when someone might use an app. Now, let’s take a look at something totally different: the information exchange between consumer and creator.
Since launching our Peck App, we knew the next piece of our Big Idea was the ability for anyone to build something that is peckable. Because, really, Peck App is simply an opinionated client — a “window” to get information.
This new window only works with something even bigger in place. No, not the new Internet of this season’s Silicon Valley, but more of a reimagining of how we think about the data out there hidden behind people, places, and things.
How does that happen? Let’s go back to the information exchange. Today, designers and builders are all too frequently sidetracked by features and benefits, fonts and photos, copy and creative, problems and solutions. Yet, at the heart of every application there is (or should be) a question.
And a great application should have a great question.
The road to this seemingly obvious idea has not been straightforward. It never is. We spent a lot of time trying to build some original micro-apps (aka peckables) that focused on content. And in that process and in discussions with folks who like to think about this stuff (h/t John Battelle), we started to realize that the truly elegant and useful peckables succinctly answered a simple question.
Our peckable for Uber answers the question, “How long will it take for a car to get to me?”
And one for the Larkspur Ferry, “When is the next boat?”
Most will enthusiastically agree that building today, an app, a website, a voice skill, are all a giant pain in the ass. These platforms have evolved with such arcane technical requirements that they exclude 99% of us.
We’ve built our Peck Platform to enable anyone to build and publish. And it all starts with a simple constraint: answer a question!
Stop, and think about a useful question you can answer for yourself or for a group of people in a certain context.
Then build it with blocks of content. Sprinkle some context. Instantly see it as a website, mobile web app, inside the Peck App, talk to it with Google Home or Amazon Alexa. Share the magic of creation.
Trust me, anyone can do it.
The era of democratized content creation has been amazing. Beyond amazing. Twitter as a network now answers the sh_t out of the question, “What’s Happening?”
But while Facebook, Instagram, Messenger, Snapchat, et. al. engage in a mortal battle for your attention, their focus narrows to content for content’s sake. Their interactions depend on psychological hooks.
We are still in a phase of self-indulgent tech (one could argue borderline fetishist). I suspect in the next 5–10 years we will become more introspective, even existential about the role of technology and information in our lives.
In contrast, the Peck Platform is founded on the notion of the high order bit where utility is the prize. Built from the bottom up, not the top down.
If you want to start playing with Peck Studio, let us know.
Just be prepared to answer the question!