Thursday, February 16, 2012

Pinterest: Product Evolution from Delicious

My wife super-like Pinterest lately (moving away from craftgawker), and it lead me to think of how Pinterest is an “evolution” of past product like delicious and twitter, and how to mesh elements of different product together and how to get it “right” at the end. Though I’m a programmer cum entrepreneur, I am kind of a late adopter in terms of product and technology (I totally missed the Friendster boat, and I use Facebook only because I need a Facebook Page for my startup). Let’s get to know Pinterest a bit more, shall we?

My wife told me that Pinterest is successful because it is beautiful, and she like pinning beautiful photos under her collections: design, craft, travel places, etc. Beauty is attractive, and collecting is addictive, sounds like a deadly combo.

Thinking of collection, it reminds me of delicious, and further back with bookmarking on browser. In the beginning of Internet experience for me, I try to scout for all my favorite sites and bookmark them properly into folder (tagging was invented much later). It’s quite an addictive exercise; I am guessing “to collect and organize” is human nature. Then came delicious (the social bookmarking), where the power of the crowd comes into play: not only you can share your bookmark list publicly with others (no naughty stuff here), you’ll know how many people share the similar links as you did, and which links are the most popularly shared (sounds interesting and powerful). Sadly, Delicious was sold to Yahoo and innovation kinda stop there. Later we have Foxmarks and Google Bookmark, but those are just useful but boring tools. So that’s the end of social bookmarking.

My wife reminded me that Pinterest is like StumbleUpon, where there is a button on your browser toolbar to share site with others (which sounded like delicious as well). I never use or cross path with StumbleUpon, but why did Pinterest gain more prominence? I am guessing visual beauty (picture can be attractive, webpage might not), and perhaps the application is simple and easy to use. Having said that, it also means Pinterest is not good at sharing website with great information, but not visually attractive.

Is Pinterest like Twitter? Twitter focus on spreading or sharing of Text, and Picture as secondary (no great Photo or Video integration yet, perhaps Weibo is doing a better job); Pinterest share Picture, you can follow it, collect it, repin it :) Isn’t it something like a Twitter for Picture (or Delicous for Picture).

It’s kind of amazing where such a simple and mundane idea have such great traction and make an impact. Thinking of it, Twitter is simple as well.

I do admit I like the space of consumer Internet, where there is so much fun and innovation. As someone who comes from product development, I believe in the mantra “solve a pain” (build something of value to your customer, which is good). But does Pinterest or Twitter really solve an existing pain when it was launch, or it just creates a new and fun opportunity where you can do new things which are not possible before? Is twitting really micro-blogging, solving the pain of writing lengthy blog? Perhaps twitter is our voice on the Internet, and also to hear what others have to say or share; Pinterest solves the problem of finding and sharing beautiful picture. I am guessing these are not “serious existing problem”, but the outcome is equally unpredictable. Something like luxury goods? Not much of a real purpose, but it feels good :)

 What can we learn from Pinterest?

  • UX Rulez: Layout and Usability; Mansory Layout and Infinite Scrolling, simple and barrier free 
  • It’s still about Social Sharing (and Follow), and bookmarking (collection), and also a Passion Pit (narrow into categories which interest us). 
  • Still have to be easy and fun, right?
Idea: Any Pinterest for Video coming up?


KC said...

Pinterest for video? It's called Chill.

d_luaz said...

Thanks for the Tip :)

KC said...

Steve Jobs is the top video contributor on the site :D