I have been using Periscope for a while now, and I am really enjoying it. If you don’t know it, Periscope is Twitter’s new live streaming app, that allows anyone to stream directly from one’s smartphone, and it will notify you as soon as someone you follow is live-streaming.
The concept of live streaming is not a new one, but Periscope (alongside with their competitor, Meerkat) has made it really easy to do so from a mobile device and, most importantly, to create a community of followers around it.
If you are on Twitter, it makes sense that you’d want to give Periscope a shot. What makes it different from YouTube is of course the live element, what makes it different from, say, Google Hangouts On Air, is the sense of impromptu-ness and familiarity that it creates, as you’re literally speaking from your phone, but also the fact that you already have a community of followers that will be notified when you start streaming, so there is no need to plan it in advance.
Personally, I have been using Periscope as a watcher, rather than a streamer, in order to follow some of my favourite people that I already follow on other social media channels.
What’s great about Periscope
When you use Periscope, two things will become obvious to you after a little while:
- The app is beautifully designed. It’s elegant yet simple to use.
- There is still a lot that can be improved.
I find this great, and I think there is something engineers, product managers and other people involved in building apps and online services can learn. It’s something that has to do with focus, with avoiding being a perfectionist and with not wasting time. Here’s what I think are the lesson Periscope’s creators can teach us:
- Core business. Spend some time understanding what exactly your core business is about, and focus mainly on that until you know it’s absolutely awesome. In Periscope’s case the core business is live streaming. There is much more they can do to make the app better and better, like a better player for re-watching videos, a landscape mode, perhaps even a web/desktop version of the app. But, the things that are there, are absolutely great. The app does only a few things, but it works so well! It’s smooth, it’s elegant, it’s simple. In other words, it’s addictive. Just like Twitter.
- Perfectionism is bad. Saying that you want your app to be great is one thing. Trying to make it perfect is unrealistic. Once you’ve found your core business, make sure you deliver enough functionalities so that users can actually understand, and enjoy, the core business. When you use Periscope, it won’t take you long before realising that the app is all about live streaming and creating a community around live videos. That’s it. Like I said, there are so many functionalities they could add, but trying to have them all from the start, would have delayed indefinitely their launch, and would have probably confused people on what the app is about. Think of Google and their years-long beta version of Gmail: they kept it in beta knowing that they wanted to keep improving it. Yet, the core functionalities where there, and, frankly, they were great from the beginning.
- Don’t waste time. In the programming world, we talk about premature optimisation as the unfortunate situation where programmers spend too much time thinking about how to make sure the app is ready for a lot of functionalities that, from a business point of view, may not even have been decided yet. The solution to that, is to develop software that has a solid foundation, and that is flexible enough that you can keep improving it and adding to it without fear of breaking something in the process. Periscope seems to have done this. Since I have been using it, I have experienced no crashes. The app works really well and it seems to me to be pretty stable. Yet, as I have already said, there are things they could add to make it better. But what is there is enough to make people want to use it, and the foundation has been laid for adding new features that will make it even better.
In conclusion, Periscope is a great app, but what is making it a huge success is how they have handled the development phase. If you like Meerkat or other competitor apps, that’s great, but the reason why I didn’t like it, was that I found it overly complex and it just didn’t feel as smooth and simple to use. It lacks focus. On the flip side, Periscope developers seem to have gotten it right.
This is of course just my point of view, and I would love to hear yours! Let me know what you think.
- What I love about Periscope (Michael Hyatt)
- Periscope Your Biz: Live Video Broadcasting for Profits (Book – Amazon)
- Leveraging Twitter’s Periscope: Join The Community, Build Your Business, and Have Fun! (Book – Amazon)