Thursday, October 2, 2008

Reader Mail: The Popularity of Superpoke Was Just Luck

More and more, readers are writing to me to express their opinions and ask for mine regarding different aspects of the social gaming space. I think this is awesome, so keep sending those emails.

Being excessively voluble, I write wordy screeds in reply. Hmm, looking at that previous sentence, it appears I must have swallowed a dictionary for breakfast. Being excessively lazy, I've decided to repurpose my responses rather than writing a new post from scratch. Enjoy the sharing.

One of my reader made the offhand comment that Superpoke's success was due to luck. Here's my response, cleaned up for publication.

Superpoke's Success

I think Superpoke's success was anything, but luck. Here's a few reasons why Superpoke succeeded:

1. It was an extension of a feature of Facebook that was already extremely popular. As I've said many times, Facebook is a communication platform. Pokng was an already understood communication tool. Slide didn't need to teach people about its product, people got it instantly.

2. Slide had extensive experience with the social networking audience due to their popular Myspace widgets. As a result they understood the audience, unlike most developers who then (and still) develop applications for themselves. Unfortunately, for most of my readers, you're not normal, deal with it. You are building things for the people you hated in high school. If that realization strikes you cold, then you better get out of the consumer space.

3. Slide wasn't afraid to excessively leverage the viral mechanisms in Facebook. that's the polite way to say that they spammed the hell of out of people. They weren't alone. Unfortunately, many indie developers weren't willing to leverage those channels, both because they found it unethical and because they figured that if they wouldn't accept invites, why would any other else. It's the same logic that kept some developers from using advertising.

4. Slide had the money and manpower to run a data-driven company. Max Levchin is smart enough to know he's not normal and uses collected data to improve Slide's products. So should you - my friend Andrew Chen will tell you how.

5. Slide was one of the first developers on the platform, and was able to take advantage of it. Yes, life is unfair, some companies get preferential treatment. Move out to San Francisco, make some powerful friends and maybe you can get in early on the next platform launch.

Hope that was informative, and please keep those emails coming. I need something to entertain myself, now that I can't afford to leave the house.