users can both feel how much care you put into a product, and how much care you didn't put into it.  this is often why big companies can't win because they have to scale.  or at least they think they do.

actually doing things that don't scale is difficult in practice, but your users will notice the difference and feel the love you put in and the time you took to make everything just so.  a great example of this is acompli versus inbox, wherein you have a small startup trying to make a great email app and inbox, which is google's latest email evolution.

i'm actually a fan of inbox and use it for my personal email on my laptop.  lovely animations combined with easy navigation make it wonderful, except that google refuses to do things that don't scale.  

in a day where i took both an uber and lyft, google inbox has put these in different buckets.  you'd think they would take the top 50 or 500 apps vendors and create specific rules for them.  manual, yes.  tedious, a little.  but perfect.  your email app, especially google, should know the top 100 finance companies, top 100 travel companies, etc, etc.  if you want to algorithm results after that, fine, but get the fat part of the curve exactly right.

meanwhile acompli has a better 'focused' inbox than google's priority inbox.  it recognizes actual people better, while also pushing aside newsletter type stuff that truly isn't priority.  just guessing, but i'm assuming a lot of this was done through very inefficient means.  at least at first, while they were ramping up.

the result was microsoft bought acompli for $200 million, and to microsoft's credit did not undo the magic.  they kept it open, kept it beautiful, and didn't make it too outlooky.  i'm still getting used to having outlook on my phone, as i hadn't used it for a decade, but it's still the best email/calendar option i've found on the iphone.  i just hope they keep putting the same care into the product.


Authorjonathan hegranes