When I see developers create a new product to take on the market leader or into an existing category, I like to look for something that is completely different.
Something that will sweep me off my feet.
More features is typically not the thing I look for.
It’s some combination of extraordinary team, design, thoughtfulness, a fresh new approach and how the app feels.
(That last one is the toughest one and why I’m not surprised many enterprise VCs that decided to become consumer VCs are switching back. )
I can’t tell you how many Twitter & Tumblr clones we have seen over the years. They may have a different approach but the look & feel are practically identical. We wouldn’t invest in a competitor anyway but I’m always surprised at how competitors think about this.
Or consider how many folks are ripping off the Pinterest look and feel.
All of this came to mind as I’ve been using an iOS app called Clear.
It’s a to-do list app.
Sounds pretty dry right?
That’s because every single to-do list app ever created has the same point of view and a similar user experience. They are heavyweight apps where you put in dates, priorities, notes, etc. And all of the to-do lists I’ve seen take a desktop or web approach to their mobile apps.
Clear thinks about to do lists entirely differently. It’s completely designed for touch. It’s designed for mobile. And it’s a fresh perspective an old, tired category.
I love it.
I would encourage all startups to put this much care into their apps if they are going after an established category.