Indie Tip #3: Don’t try to be cool

Call it a pet peeve, but it annoys me when I see “cool” applications with “cool” features that provide little or no value to real customers. Honestly, there are waayyy too many useless “Web 2.0” applications that look like they were designed by developers who want A-list bloggers to think they’re cool.

Here are some ways you can tell when a developer is trying too hard to be cool:

  • The product’s UI is littered with buzzwords like “AJAX” and “Web 2.0”
  • The home page brags about how their software integrates with all the popular social networking sites, but there’s no description of what it actually does
  • The documentation contains the word “Micro$oft”
  • They offer tech support on Twitter

“Cool” is fleeting (just ask the Fonz), whereas utility has staying power. So avoid the temptation to build something just to impress your peers, and instead try to build something that’ll impress end users with its usefulness. Then customers will think you’re cool, because you just made their lives a little simpler.

The way I see it, if you’re able to give up the corporate world and code at home in your underwear, then you’re already cool. So stop trying to be cool and focus on building something that’s useful.

9 thoughts on “Indie Tip #3: Don’t try to be cool

  1. “if you’re able to […] code at home in your underwear, then you’re already cool”
    I think that depends on the underwear.

    Like

  2. How ’bout…. “able to code at home surrounded by a bevy of beauties in THEIR underwear”…. ? Now that’d be cool.

    Like

  3. I always thought that if you have to tell others how “cool” you are, then you’re automatically NOT cool.
    Something that really is cool and useful will be noticed as such and you won’t have to point it out. Your users will do that for you.

    Like

  4. Nah, users don’t care about ‘cool’.
    ‘Cool’ wears off too fast and is not cool any more.
    For example CoffeCup’s HTML editor app (and I suppose all of their apps) use other words instead of ‘OK’ and ‘Cancel’ on their dialog. Unsurprisingly, this was not really cool, but can slow you down 1-2 seconds each time you decide to click the buttons since the caption is rather unfamiliar.

    Like

  5. Great Posts. Kind of an off topic development question for you… I think it is finally time for me to leave HomeSite behind me (Even though I do love it, and it has been a staple for a LONG time now) and I was wondering what editor are you using these days?
    Thanks,
    Scott.

    Like

  6. “The way I see it, if you’re able to give up the corporate world and code at home in your underwear, then you’re already cool.”
    That’s the funniest thing I’ve heard in a while – classic.

    Like

Comments are closed.