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Less and more

Many consumer web services start out in life very specific and very simple.

Then they start adding stuff.

In the best case, it works because the company innovates and users are delighted with the new capabilities

In the worst case, the product becomes heavy and complicated.

Truthfully its never this cut and dry but I believe the point stands.

Yesterday I was at the Tumblr board meeting. The service is growing faster than ever which would make most CEOs happy

David Karp, Tumblr’s founder and ceo, said that while the Tumblr Dashboard has gained a tremendous amount of functionality over the past three years, many of the newer features are simply unnecessary for first time users.

For example, things like number of followers, or number of “likes”, messages or even Radar don’t mean much for day 1 users.

So they are trying out something different.

Now when first time users sign up for Tumblr, they don’t see many of the newer things. They get a focused Tumblr dashboard that gets them engaged. Then after a few posts the social features start to elegantly appear.

I think that’s brilliant and not intuitive.

Last night I was at small gathering in nyc. One of the entrepreneurs for a cool local startup said out loud that he thought Tumblr’s onboarding was the best out there.

I think he’s probably right. And I love the new approach that they are taking to balance keeping things simple while adding new functionality.

Its moving from a pure ‘less is more’ to a “less and more”. Its not easy to pull off but its a powerful idea.

Bravo.

(Pls excuse typos and lack of links. Wrote this on my phone)