In this episode, Steli and Hiten talk about the importance of design, especially in the early stages of your startup. Hiten shares how easy it was to stand apart from the crowd just 12 years ago. Now, a good design is so easily and conveniently made and copied. So, just how much attention should we put towards having a creative and beautiful design? According to Steli and Hiten, that depends. Tune to find out the importance of taking cues from your target market and how your ability to solve a problem should always come before a pretty design.

Time Stamped Show Notes:

  • 00:09 – Today’s episode is about why design is important in the early stages of your startup
  • 01:22 – Steli is curious about design and its importance and how to be competitive when everything else is so easily copied
  • 01:52 – Hiten says that 12 years ago, it was easier to stand out by having a better design than other people as it was also harder to create a good design
  • 02:12 – It is currently easier to have a good design, but startups don’t think about it as much
  • 02:33 – If you’re building an engineering-focused tool, it is much more important that your APIs work and that it’s user-friendly rather than having a fantastic design
    • 02:47 – On the other hand, if you are building a product for designers, you have to consider that there is a level of design you need
  • 03:06 – The context of who your customer is matters
  • 03:40 – It is still more important to have something that is usable, well-researched and feels good to use rather than something that is just super pretty
  • 04:21 – Design will have different weight according to who your customers are
  • 05:03 – You can differentiate whether a company is focused on the branding and marketing rather than on the actual product itself
  • 05:37 – Steli says he did not focus on the logo or branding as much
  • 06:12 – The quality of design in software has gotten much better
  • 07:29 – Hiten thinks designing has gotten easier because there are more designers and certain patterns that have emerged which you can imitate
  • 08:29 – Uniqueness in design is not as important as being able to solve a problem
  • 09:28 – The more products that are in the market, the worse the user experience has become
    • 09:36 – People tend to copy popular products
  • 10:16 – Base Camp keeps on changing their design
  • 11:03 – If your team does not have the skill set to innovate design, then do NOT do it
  • 12:01 – You can copy but you must have your own customers—tune your product and design to cater to them
    • 12:16 – Get closer to your customer and gain insight from them; make them the source of your inspiration
    • 13:09 – Steli says he and Hiten should write a book that would be about staying focused on the customer
  • 14:25 – Facebook was focused on “un-designing” and wanted to have as little design as possible—the clean format worked for them
  • 15:07 – They had self-awareness about themselves
  • 15:34 – Join the email list and give us a rating on iTunes
  • 15:50 – End of today’s episode

3 Key Points:

  1. The design of your product should be dependent on your target market—therefore, draw your inspiration from your customers.
  2. Do not focus so much on the design that you end up forgetting about your product.
  3. It is MORE important to solve a problem than it is to have a nice design.