Apr 30, 2023·edited Apr 30, 2023Liked by Thorsten Ball

For me, the presence of papercuts affects my rating of a very useful app between 4 and 5 stars. Maybe 3 if there are really annoying glitches.

Will I still use it? Yes, if it solves my problems.

Will I be enthusiastic about it and recommend it? Way less likely.

Example: Upwork. I used it for years and hated it because of its random glitches (and the lack of ways to give feedback and feel heard). I even recommended it to others with a strong warning that "it's crap but I have no better idea".

I think if one just wants users then fixing papercuts might not matter that much, but if you also want a high NPS, it does matter.

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There will always be obscure paper cuts or edgecases you can chase forever. Like the UI allows you to input Chinese characters but it errors trying to save them... But who cares?

You have to pick your battles with the paper cuts and edge cases. You definitely want it to work perfectly 95-99% of the time.

Congrats on this epiphany. Next you will also realize technical debt doesn't matter much. 😜

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Never heard the term papercuts in tech before. I like it. Papercuts are a warning sign to me. For example, if a company doesn't spend time fixing papercuts, what does that say about the future of the product you're investing in? Generally I agree though - obscure papercuts that need effort to fix are probably not worth fixing.

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How much papercuts really matter depends a lot on the market your product is in.

Jira vs. Linear is a great example in the issues trackers market. Jira is notoriously slow, full of papercuts, and bad UX. There was room for a very high-quality product with less papercuts.

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