People Don’t Want to Use Software

“People don’t want to be using software.  They want to have used software to achieve their goal.” – Josh Bartlett interviewed on Mixergy

On my daily listen to Andrew Warner’s awesome Mixergy show, this quote from Josh Bartlett stuck out because it relates directly to what has driven my work on Skipper, the app I’m co-creating at the moment.

The spark of inspiration that led to the idea of building Skipper was my need to reign in the chaos of my rapidly growing team.  My end-goal is to grow my business, build a great team, improve my relationship to my team, and systemize and scale this growth.  If the Skipper app will have helped me achieve these goals, then I’m a satisfied user.

Every design decision, feature idea, and technology implementation is centered around the question: “How does this piece fit within the user’s goal of growing and scaling their team?”

As important as it is to keep things simple and avoid feature bloat, the real key is to keep things focused around the end goal of the user.  Sometimes that means a few extra bits of functionality, sometimes it means stripping out the unnecessary.


  • Agreed. People just want to get things done!

    A common recommendation I’ve seen lately is to list “benefits” instead of “features” when creating marketing materials. Products that list benefits have higher conversion rates, so the market validates what you’re saying here.

  • Huh, I’ve heard the “Don’t bloat an app with features” 37Signals-esc argument countless times before, but…

    “People don’t want to use software” is a different, bold way of saying it.

    I’ll remember that!