Today we’re taking a look at a recently announced new tech startup; showoff.io. It stood out as a clear example of some early errors start-ups make on the key basics. These are becoming more frequent as of late as more programmers move into becoming entrepreneurs and are worth highlighting.
You can find the startup website here:
Name – looking at the name of showoff.io, the first thought that sprang to mind was YouTube clone. After reading the text on the front page from a mid-tech level perspective, I still have no idea what it does exactly.
First Click – Clicked on the empty space to the right about half way down the screen to try to regain focus on showoff.io (see below for explanation). Didn’t do anything.
Jargon/Copy – Its fairly clear a programmer wrote the copy.
Examples of bad copy:
“Share a project on your laptop using the ‘show’ command.”
Average user asks: Whats a command?
“Showoff creates a tunnel”
Average user asks: What on earth is a tunnel?!
“share localhost over the web”
Average user asks: Whats localhost?
Again and again we see the same marketing errors appearing in startups.
Here would be one solution to this predicament:
Thinkpiece 1 – Which market will maximize revenue?
Step 1 – build product with that group in mind.
Who exactly is showoff.io targeted at?
Well, from the language on the homepage it seems to be targeted at programmers and “Linux professionals”. Not average joe, not designers and not business MBA holders. The use of phrases like localhost, tunnel and command would suggest the user needs experience of running their own server hardware or linux at the minimum just to understand the front page. Why would a linux user want to use a paid service to showoff? What do they have to showoff? I have no idea.
Needs a targeted redesign, focused on color and copy. From recent comments and reviews of noted tech entrepreneurs has some conceptual potential.
Note and disclaimer: This is feedback only on the design aspect of the front page, as before, the software has not been tried and therefore the feedback is not indicative of the quality or possible lack thereof of the software and web technology solutions offered by showoff.io.
I believe they’re targeting a power user customer base first with an application that allows sharing local servers. Non-developers don’t normally run servers on their desktops (or aren’t aware of them), so targeting them for an alpha doesn’t make much sense.
What is possible is that future versions will become easier to setup and run so that non-developers could deploy local servers without knowing all the details. There are dangers in security etc, but I don’t see them as impossible to overcome.
Designers, or other users who lack technical knowhow to run a server, can quickly get cheap or free hosting for web files…it really does seem like a total non product the more I look into it. Further, I don’t see a non techy needing a localserver when its so easy to use a quick ftp program to fire files up into real actual hosting….