Google sent me a helpful email.

Thank you, Google. I removed more than half of the apps that I had, once-upon-a-time, granted some shockingly liberal access to.

nice email from google.png

I wonder if this email negatively impacted some product manager’s KPI, like “connected apps”, and I wonder if there was debate internally about the value of sending it…

I once had a product that relied on monthly subscription revenue. We sent a receipt every month, even though it likely increased cancellations; we thought it was the right thing to do.

Do you have customers? What kind of helpful, KPI-reducing email could you send them?

 

/MC

I won!

I was one of the winners of HQ Trivia tonight. I split the $100,000 prize with a couple thousand winners. Proof:

Image uploaded from iOS

Like many others, the Men Without Hats question tripped me up; luckily I had an extra life. Feel free to refill my extra life by using my referral code. Which is, no surprise, whoismattclark.

If you haven’t played the game, I highly recommend it. There’s so much more the entertainment industry could be doing in the interactive media space; it’s refreshing to see a tech company take a real stab at it. Experimentation with interactive media or multi-optional storytelling isn’t gated by technological advancement, and I’m pretty disappointed we haven’t seen more in this space. Netflix’s feeble attempt at “chose your own adventure” feels more like a 90’s DVD menu, and it’s been 16 years since American Idol burst onto the scene with 100 million votes cast through their toll-free numbers.

Why aren’t we seeing more of this engaging content where you feel connected to the outcome—and in the case of HQ Trivia, actually rewarded with cash in addition to personal satisfaction—on VOD, OTT, or OTA?

 

/MC

Do NOT use this door

When a negative declarative improves clarity.

My family patronizes Hanabi Sushi about twice a month. It’s one of the few Japanese restaurants that make us feel safe with our peanut-allergic daughter; it’s surprisingly good—and I’ve been to Tokyo twice, yo.

This is a picture of their front door.

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Every time I approach these double doors, I pull the door on the left. Maybe it’s just me. Maybe I’m more of an anarchist than I care to admit. But I pull the door on the left because the note on the right—”use this door please”—reads like a suggestion, not a directive. The door on the left is bolted shut. I yank it. It doesn’t budge. I get frustrated.

I know Hanabi management is trying to be polite. I also think they are trying to be clear. But there’s a usability lesson here. Not only does the sign read like a suggestion, it doesn’t inform me that the other door is inoperable. Even if the note curtly stated, “Use this door,” it wouldn’t communicate that this is the only option.

In product design, we may prefer to phrase things using positive language, but this is an example where a note on the left saying, “Do NOT use this door. It’s locked. :-)” would be much clearer. Do not forsake clarity for politeness. Telling users what not to do is often the fastest way to direct them to what they should do and why.

 

/MC

Vintage Cars in 2038

Vintage cars from the 60’s sell for thousands, even tens or hundreds of thousands, of dollars as collectibles. Was there anything made in the 80’s, the decade of my youth, that will be revered and sought after in 2038 like the cars from the 60’s are in 2018?

I’m not so sure. Camaro, Firebird, Mustang, or Corvette? They were still going strong in the 80’s but their heyday was in the 60s (50s for the ‘vette—the 1955 Corvette may be my favorite vintage car… breathtaking).

I think this Cadillac Allanté may be a contender.

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Base price in ’87 was a stupendous $56,533 – equivalent to almost $160,000 in 2015 dollars.

Just 2,569 were sold.

Read more at: https://www.ericpetersautos.com/2015/03/08/1986-1993-cadillac-allante-they-got-it-right-too-late/

I’m scoping this query to American made cars. What do you think? Is there anything out there that rare enough and beloved enough to make it into a Sotheby’s auction in 2038?

 

/MC

P.S. There’s one close by (https://houston.craigslist.org/cto/d/1989-cadillac-allante-hardtop/6556600398.html) if anyone wants to surprise me with a nice gift. 😉

A fiend for Donut Friend!

Donut Friend is a popular donut shop—like people waiting in line at 11pm on a Friday night popular. It’s located in the hipster mecca of the West Coast: Highland Park, CA.

I always thought it was named Donut Fiend until my daughter corrected me on our latest trip to Los Angeles.

fiend | fēnd |a person who is excessively fond of or addicted to something: the restaurant’s owner is a wine fiend.

Wouldn’t that be a better name?

Zipper UX

One of these zippers is not like the other; one of these zippers is different!

Wow. I’ve had this bag for 5 years and just discovered this little design choice. The zipper with the circle pull is for expanding the storage. All the other zippers open pockets. Brilliant! In product design we classify that as low discoverability, high learn-ability, high memorability. I won’t forget it anytime soon. Lovely little feature. I don’t know how many times I’ve pulled that zipper trying to open my bag. No more. Even in the dark, I’ll be able to distinguish the different zippers. Delightful!

 

What features have you added, or want to add, to your product that have low discoverability, high learn-ability, and high memorability? Don’t leave out the delighters, folks!

Featured image by @kaptainkobold

Saving money with a PlayStation​ 2

I was playing Sly Cooper with my 8-year-old daughter this weekend and patting myself on the back for how much life I’ve squeezed out of our PlayStation 2 and how it fits into our minimalist leanings, serving both as our DVD player and our only gaming console. My wife and I have never been gamers. We bought the PS2 on a lark when we were still a duo to play the whimsical — and borderline psychedelic — Katamari Damacy. We’ve also enjoyed pulling it out with friends to play social games like Karaoke Revolution or DDR. It really started gathering dust once our daughter joined the family, but in the past few years, I’ve bought a couple of games for her from Half Priced Books. We picked up Lego Stars Wars that way, and it was a big hit. She’s only ever known iPhone games and has no idea that a PS2 is way behind the times.

I forget this sometimes, too. In fact, I was impressed with the graphics in Sly Cooper, so I paused the game and did a quick search to find out when it was released. I assumed it was recent-ish and backported to the PS2. Nope. 2002. The game is 15 years old! My console is 10 years old! Wow. The pats on the back got louder. Good on me for making it a decade with one gaming console. Now let’s pull out the calculator.

Lifetime ownership cost:

$100 — 10 games @ $10 (another benefit of staying behind the times)
$200 — PS2 Slim Console
$50 — Controllers, dance pad, mics, cables
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$350 total ÷ 10 year = $35 a year

While keeping a console for 10 years sounds like a high-five moment. $35 a year actually sounds pricey to me for an object I feel like I’ve rarely used. In retrospect, I’d much rather have bought a nice bread machine.

I do like the $10 used games as a price for some cheap weekend entertainment, but I’m still paying off that initial cost of the console. Though, I figure I’ll get the amortized costs down to $25-$30/yr by the time I retire our PS2 in five to ten years.

How much have you spent on video games in the past decade? What’s their lifetime cost of ownership?

 

/MC