We’re starting a new blog series – “Answering the Question of Why”.
The series was inspired by a recent conversion with a wonderful friend of mine, Todd Murphy, and as so many conversations in our world do these days, the subject turned to Pinterest. Now, this isn’t going to be another post about how Pinterest is the greatest thing since ……..EVER!
No, Pinterest was just the starting place for a much more interesting conversation about human nature. One of the perceived strengths of Pinterest is that it taps into so many base parts of the human brain. It provides evocative images, encourages aspirational thought, and creates connection without the dullness found on “other” sites. Not mention there tons food on Pinterest. What’s more base than that?
However, I promised this wouldn’t be one of those posts. The interesting part of the conversation was about why so many start-ups try to fight human nature rather than embrace it.
Take foursquare – it’s been pushed by Fortune 500 brands and the creators were showcased in GAP ads. It’s been covered by every major tech publication and many mainstream pubs, too. However, the application is still sitting between 10 and 15 million users, which is less than Pinterest already has (darn it there I go again).
Why? Because, unless you have a lot of friends on the site and live in a concentrated user area, it’s the real world equivalent of interruption advertising. How many of us have heard someone stop a conversation to say “hang-on, I just need to check us in.” Not to mention, going out for friends is not the time that I need my life to be more interesting. Who needs to gamify the portions of their life that includes friends, spirits and food.? (mmmm, food).
Not to pick on foursquare. Many of these geo-location apps, such as Gowalla and Facebook Places, also haven’t gained widespread interest. These applications are the anti-Angry Birds. Instead of providing entertainment when you’re bored, they force engagement when you’re already actively engaged with something else.
It doesn’t take a crystal ball to determine what will be a success, it takes the answer to the question of why.