DrOmnibus Dev Diary #2: Familiarity vs Freshness.
5 June 2018
Natalia Iwan
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In my previous entry, I described the process of making a soft-reset in an ongoing project, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but which needs to be very well tuned with your R&D to make the transition smooth and constructive.


Today, I’d like to talk about something that is equally challenging, especially for young companies with limited resources.

It’s wonderful to have the comfort of building your dream app right from the start. However, not having such comfort in the early stages isn’t embarrassing nor uncommon. It’s pretty normal. As a young company, you often know pretty well what you want to do, but some of the goals are well beyond your current funds. From the positive perspective, what you do then is called forward thinking. From the realistic perspective, it is an acceptance of the fact that your dream version of the app is quite far away.

If you read my previous blog, you know that around a year ago we decided to focus on American behavior analysts as the primary target group for our product. Being aware that we couldn’t simply deliver everything in a couple of months, we had the choice to:

  1. a) focus on familiarity

The features I call “familiarity features” increase the chance your app will be well received because they are instantly recognized as helpful and valuable.

Example: the American behavioral therapy market has lots of data collection app. So if you go the “familiarity” way, you practically don’t need to explain what your app is about, and you are still likely to fit the established market perfectly.

  1. b) focus on freshness

The features I call “freshness features” are gamechanger features. They are what really makes your product innovative and cool. The drawback, though, is that you may need a lot of time to focus the minds of your target group on the novelty. If an industry is very used to one way of doing things, this can take long.

Example: the American behavioral therapy market has lots of data collection apps, but it doesn’t have many resource apps. DrOmnibus creates a recourse app to truly stand out among its competitors.

In DrOmnibus, “freshness” features made us true innovators right from the start, which is  important when you want to be in Silicon Valley at some point. Without that, we definitely wouldn’t be one of the first European companies in Google Launchpad Accelerator. On the other hand, it made initial establishment on the American behavioral market harder. Being “just another data collection app” would make a lot of customers think “Oh, I know what this is about”, and this is what we failed to achieve in some cases.

This is why DrOmnibus has just released a major patch that focuses on the “familiarity” features as a counterpart to our “freshness”. “Familiarity” in our case means data collection systems, a thing you see in most ABA apps. It’s the moment when coherence strikes in and you don’t need to worry that you have a missing link in your system.

If you happen to be in similar situation and choose which features to develop first, make the smart choice. Will you focus on “freshness”, risking that your customers may need a bit of time to understand what you’re doing? Or will you focus on “familiarity”, increasing the chance of initial understanding with your customers but potentially reducing the groundbreaking factor?

Ideally, you can do both; sometimes, however, you need to prioritize.

 

 

 

About the author

Wojciech Bieroński – psychologist, Head of Research & Development at DrOmnibus. Expert in video game psychology, he explores the fields of software technologies used in an educational and medical setting.