Charles Peters

Designer / Developer

It's Revolutionary & I Don't Care

There are sometimes when a product or a service or an app comes along and it’s so awesome that I can’t possibly care. They fall from the hype too far and there’s nothing really novel about it. The new James Blake album Overgrown or Barack Obama’s second term in office or Code Academy or this season of Parks and Rec or THE MAILBOX APP FOR IPHONE are all great examples of things not living up to their hype.

Oh boy the new Mailbox App for iPhone! What a complete and totally mundane app that doesn’t do anything novel, compared to the half dozen other email related iPhones like Gmail, Sparrow, Mail Pilot, or I don’t know the NATIVE MAIL CLIENT on iOS (which you can’t change as your default).

So what the fuck was so revolutionary about Mailbox? It was well designed (a plus) but nothing else, really. The gestures were clunky and kept telling me I had some 5,000 odd emails to answer. Oh I know what was so revolutionary about it, you had to wait in line for it. How awesome, a free service that’s nearly identical to the free readily-available services like it , but you get to wait in line first! You had to wait for several thousand other people to get an invite before you got your invite. All because this app convinced its users that they’d be able to live more structured lives with Mailbox and emails would some how magically (with the swipe of your finger) become more manageable.

Totally revolutionary right?

You can’t market something as revolutionary anymore. It’s a word that’s lost its merit and its fury. It implies that will change something. Most things marketed as revolutionary don’t change anything in a grand sweeping way. They just make you think you’ve doing something groundbreaking (like Adobe Muse).

Now you’re right; I could be less cynical and jaded. That’s true, but there’re a thousand things in plain sight (on top of the hundreds of thousands of things I don’t see) competing for my attention, most of them are ads, some of them are blog posts and books I want to read and some of them are people and some those things are worth engaging. Calling something revolutionary just puts a buffer in my way to keep me from investigating the things that are novel and unique. Not everyone can where the mask of being a game-changer and still be a game-changer.

The best revolutions are silent and consistent and that’s how they’ve made a significant difference. Not buzz marketing words.