Earlier this week I downloaded Rando, a new photo-sharing app by the humorous and quirky folks at ustwo. Rando isn’t just another Instagram clone but a unique experience where (in their words) “serendipity rules the day and users send and receive random photos to and from random people all over the world.”
I love ustwo’s philosophy - JUST FUCKING DO IT (#JFDI). The product is very simple and intentionally goes against standard photo-sharing, social engagement patterns. There’s no liking, no friending, no comments.
We often assume our product design needs to adopt “proven” mechanics to increase engagement, virality, and monetization rather than focusing on creating a unique experience for our customer and problem/solution.
Snapchat, an undeniable success (so far), exemplifies many perceived anti-patterns, lacking Facebook authentication to connect with friends, social network sharing, or even photo persistence.
Quibb, a private community of entrepreneurs and others in technology, is the anti-growth startup. With a 40% acceptance rate, the majority of people that apply are not accepted.
Svbtle is remarkably minimalistic, both in design and functionality. Unlike nearly every other blogging platform, you won’t see a “like” button, “tweet” button, commenting, following, or other common growth patterns.
Candy Crush, currently the #1 grossing app in the U.S. App Store, goes against several freemium game “best practices”. The game doesn’t have a secondary currency, forgoes in-app purchase up-sells until several levels into the game, and lacks any form of advertising or cross-promotion.
Startups live (and die) in a rapidly changing environment and entrepreneurs must live in the future. What worked yesterday won’t necessarily work tomorrow (and visa-versa).
This old adage doesn’t just apply to jumping off bridges (which is incredibly fun, don’t let mom tell you otherwise) but also applies to product design.If all your friends jumped off a bridge, would you jump too?
Don’t blindly follow established patterns. Pay attention to perceived anti-patterns, question them, and create your own.
 Although I argue Snapchat’s lacking an element of investment to remain defensible and keep users engaged long term.
 In Episode #20 of the Walled Garden Weekly podcast Arash and Kevin do a deep dive analysis of Candy Crush.
Photo credit: Shane Pope