How 1 becomes 260

Last week a customer called and asked me if we would add a check box for something he would like to have included in our software. He said, “I know you are trying to keep Schedulefly simple, but this is just one checkbox.” I told him we’d love to, but we needed to pass because we are relentless about making sure our app is straightforward, clean and simple. He said, “But Wil, it’s just one checkbox.”

I could tell he felt like we were being unreasonable, so I explained how 1 can quickly turn into 260. You see, every week we get a call or email asking for a “small addition” to Schedulefly. A check box. A link. A setting. A field. It’s always a seemingly minor addition, and it’s almost always a first-time request – something that particular person would like to see that nobody else has requested. Sure, we could add each of thee requests, but then in 1 month we’d have four or five new buttons, checkboxes, etc. In six months we’d have 26. In a year, 52. And in five years, 260. Our software would almost overnight go from being simple, clean, crisp, and straightforward to a clunky, complicated mess. And the people who love it today for it’s virtues would wind up despising it.

Back in 2008 I asked Wes if he kept a notebook with a list of suggestions. We were still making regular changes to the software and we received tons of suggestions at that time. I assumed the answer was an obvious “Yes.” But he just shook his head and said, “Nope.” Wes knew even then that we would never add something unless it was in very, very high demand and presented a clear gap in the app. We didn’t need a list, we just needed to pay attention. The necessary changes unveiled themselves. Eight years later, we might make a small tweak here and there, but for the most part Schedulefly is what it is. It’s not perfect for everybody, but it’s perfect for the perfect customer, and close enough for the rest.

When I explained the 1 to 260 scenario to the guy who called, he laughed and said, “Wil, I never thought of it that way. I’m so glad y’all look at it like that. Man, no worries at all. Please don’t change anything – I love what you are doing!”