The Button


I’ve been trying to think about how to build neat shit. Not just neat shit, but shit people will use, lots, and really enjoy using.

Most of the things that I enjoy using work by turnings complicated tasks into simplistic outcomes. Uber is the most trivial example; it’s literally a button. A button for food, a button for transport, a button for human nature. It orchestrates a complex system of things and turns it into “Your food/ride will be here in 3 minutes”.

When I think about shit I like, it’s always a button. To move a train, a plane, a person, etc. Simply turning the complicated into the simple action seems to largely be a foolproof

And yet, people don’t seem to put buttons on their homepage. They don’t make their product one-click accessible. People might say “Oh this is hard we make a complicated product that does a lot of things”

No. Fuck that. If you make a product that cannot be distilled into a button, I think you’ve lost it. I think you should really consider if what you’re building is too complicated for your user. What do they want to do, can that be distilled into a button? Why not?

I chatted with a founder the other day who builds a mail templating company. They’re doing quite well in enterprise, but they want to increase their growth in, idk what the opposite of enterprise is, commercial? I basically said “Why don’t you just put the mail templating engine on a page, and let people design and shoot off emails?”. Now, everybody who has ever done a LICK of email CSS knows how ass this is. It’s terrible. If I know there was a drag and drop editor to send nice mails, and it hooked into an API, I’d be all over that shit. Instead, it’s buried inside a signup form, an onboarding process, and a few other things.

Think about the button. What does your product ACTUALLY DO. You’re going to have plenty of people window shopping your site, if the entropy to show them that “ahah moment” is really high, fucking nobody is going to actually do the thing you want them to do. This is why Uber, Airbnb, Google, Pinterest, etc are all GREAT at what they do; they’ve managed to convert something extremely complicated into a trivial action. That’s the button.

There’s some stupid ass quip in here about how the only resource people have is time but whatever. I don’t know how to end this blog post nicely, and I’m not in the habit of deleting or sitting on a blogpost, so I suppose this will mark the end.