Regular Bump users will notice significant changes in the recent Bump 3.0 release. By changes, I mean Bump has ripped everything out of the app other than contact and photo sharing. Why? Because few people regularly used anything other than those two features, and the ancillary features were hurting user retention.
Bump’s 12 million monthly active users were sharing roughly 2 million photos every day, but only 7,000 calendar events. Dropping calendar and other unnecessary features was for the greater good. “If [someone] didn’t try contacts or photos, we had a low chance of them becoming a repeat user.” After today’s streamlining, “you’re nearly guaranteed to have a great experience”, co-founder Jake Mintz told me. (via TechCrunch)
The new Bump experience is certainly streamlined, featuring only three panes: your personal contact information, your photos, and your address book. While some may look at this as a ‘pivot’ from the small company back to core competency, it’s in fact a necessary next stage in the startup app lifecycle.
Stage 1: determine MVP (‘minimum viable product’). Build and launch.
Stage 2: enhance core app with functionality based upon user requests, but pay special attention to how users actually use the product.
Stage 3: refine product back down core popular features for simplicity, retention, and growth.
Bump co-founder, David Lieb, affirms the importance of such focus on growth in the recent video interview with Robert Scoble embedded above. “People not in the tech world have a hard time figuring out how to move photos easily from one phone to another,” he says. Providing a clear and streamlined solution to that problem will lead to more users, which is especially important to an app like Bump, which requires as many users as possible to be useful. The technorati might crave more features, but not the casual users needed for critical mass. Focus equals growth.
So what’s Stage 4? Monetization. This is something Lieb is well aware of, who tells Scoble that Bump has a business model, but has been holding off implementation. As Lieb says, a bussiness model “doesn’t matter unless you can get millions of people to use Bump on a weekly or monthly basis.” Focus also equals money.
Hurm, sounds like a great topic for the next ‘Where’s the Money?‘ episode.