One common misconception that I’m hearing over and over is that popularity of a product is an indication of its quality. I’ve met (and worked with) many that were convinced that a game, for instance, had to be popular to be “good”. By that logic, McDonalds is the best restaurant in the world.

It’s just not true, on so many levels. Popular products don’t even necessarily make more money! Designing your product around popularity can be very dangerous: Many require a social viral effect to take off and “whales“, meaning a single big spender for hundreds of thousands free consumers, or finally simply huge amounts of users due to the fact that the only monetisation in place is advertising. “Too big to fail” is a myth, and rightly so.

I’m much more excited about products that make money through their first customer and scale up organically. They too become popular if they’re great, but popularity is not their main asset. They don’t require large scaling operations upfront and are generally much more maintainable.

Please don’t build the next McDonalds. Thanks!