In response to Kayla’s post the other day, we were called out for not getting real enough. Aron’s right. In the rush to start building, we got ahead of ourselves. Team Crunchberry needs a mantra.

As the folks at 37signals put it in their superb book Getting Real, we’ve got to:

Explicitly define the one-point vision for your app

What does your app stand for? What’s it really all about? Before you start designing or coding anything you need to know the purpose of your product — the vision. Think big. Why does it exist? What makes it different than other similar products?

So! What is it we’re doing?

First, as you’ve already heard, we’re experimenting with the format of conversations around news. By changing the shape of comments, we hope to improve their quality — by guiding the conversation and by making it easier to participate.

Second, we’re experimenting with the possibilities of Facebook Connect, a very neat offering from Facebook that will launch in the upcoming weeks. The idea is this: instead of having a login on our site, Facebook users can login seamlessly with a button click.

Why could we want to do this? Besides lowering the mental overhead of forcing a user into signing up for yet another account, we’ll be able to play with real, established social networks. (And without expecting folks to set up a friends list on a site that none of my friends use!)

For instance, when a user makes a comment, we’ll push it to their Facebook feed. Will you be more likely to comment if you know your friends will see what you have to say? Will you be less likely to act like a jackass? We’re hoping so.

The Big Idea by luckyjimmy

The Big Idea by luckyjimmy

So! What’s the Big Idea?

I’ll be sure to bring up our lack of mantra as an issue at our iteration review tomorrow afternoon, bur I’ll try and start off the conversation with a few whacks at it…

Let people speak where they’ll be heard.

Don’t be a jackass, your friends are watching.

Or maybe:

Conversations need structure and an audience.

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9 comments until now

  1. Aron Pilhofer

    Didn’t mean to cause any agita there, but it’s an extremely useful piece of advice. If you can’t explain your application in a sentence (or two), you have issues. If you find yourself building a set of features without any real idea what the final aggregate product is meant to be, you definitely have issues. (For the record: been there, done that.)

    But now I see where you’re going with this a bit better — you’re trying to find ways to improve the quality of conversation around the news. Or maybe, you’re trying to move online interaction around the news from comments to conversation, which is a tough, tough nut to crack. Can’t wait to see what you come up with.

  2. [...] be automagically logged in to our site!  This enables us to do some very interesting things, as I wrote about on the Crunchberry blog: Besides lowering the mental overhead of forcing a user into signing up for yet another account, [...]

  3. [...] us a way to connect people to their friends and others through news and discussion. As Brian has blogged – it gives us an interesting way to keep the conversation civil: don’t make a scene, others [...]

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