Would Instagram Make it Today?
I recently received a (form) email about a new startup on/via AngelList:
"GoPollGo just launched a cool new iOS app for great polling on the go. I’d love to hear your thoughts on both the app and the company. We are VERY excited about both."
My first response was the usual “Meh, I’m on Android vs iOS.” Usually it begins and ends there. This time something strange happened. I was kind of mad. In 2013 is it really ok to keep assuming you can blast out an email for an iOS only app without even the slightest reference to other platforms and users?
I bought the 1st version of the iPhone (still have it - now essentially an Touch). I went all the way through to the 3S. Was a HUGE fan. Then the small incremental changes, and the plastic 3S's, made me look around. Curious, I got a Nexus S. And I suffered. For a long time. Only with Jelly Bean and Google Now in the last few months did I feel like maybe just maybe it was worth sticking with the platform.
When I first moved to Android it was clearly an inferior platform and users were second class citizens. No case in point better expressed that than Instagram. They didn’t even try to have a crappy version of an Android app - they didn’t have one at all! Worse, they kept promising one was coming soon while months and months went by. It sure irked me but I couldn’t blame them. iOS was crushing Android. Android was for budget conscious people and some cutting edge developer types. So I was never insulted by the slight - just disappointed. I’m sure I was a Day 1 release downloader from the Play store when it became available.
This was life on Android. You suffered but you didn’t complain. Maybe that’s how new immigrants feel. Sure, they understand that they’ll suffer some discrimination at times as a result of not speaking the language or understanding the culture. They knew this when they made the move so they suffer it with a passive smile. It’s worth the sacrafice as they know they won’t be new immigrants forever and their children have opportunities they couldn’t get in their homeland.
Maybe this email was like the first time an immigrant group realizes their political power put someone in office. Suddenly everything changes. We’re tired and not going to just smile at all those little snubs and jabs anymore. We’re not an inferior platform. We’re equal to or better than iOS! I don’t think you can just ignore Android any longer without looking out of touch.
Which comes back to the title of my post. Would Instagram make it today purely on an iOS only strategy? One answer is Yes. There are many more iOS devices in play today then when they launched. The potential audience is therefore much larger. So they numbers would indicate it’s more than doable.
Yet what would we think of someone who tried to just support one platform? Would it indicate closed mindedness? Elitism? Out of touch with the broader world? Would it say “These guys just don’t get it!” - even to many iOS users? Would it make you wonder about just how good a product they can build if those are some of their foundational qualities?
It would to me. It did to me. For the very first time. Viva la Revolucion!
P.S: Again this really has very little to do with GoPollGo. For all I know they have an Android version launching one week later. It’s just the presumption that you can send out an email to a list with iOS only and assume that it’s relevant enough to most recipients that you don’t need to do any further qualification or comment.