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About the Episode
How do you create simple, beautiful, useful apps? Well today’s guest walks us through HotelTonight’s approach to product design and how that has led to the app’s success. Also, stick around towards the end of the interview, when she shares the story of running her own company and having to shut it down.
Product Design for Simple, Beautiful and Useful Apps
Audrey made sure that their app is easy to use by catering to the quickest way to book a hotel: Booking one in three taps and one swipe. She had loaded the app with features that are useful to the user such as weather forecasts, promos for getaways that are seven days ahead, and comparison with prices that are ten days ahead. The goal was to make the decision to book a hotel for a getaway as easily as possible.Initially, the app linked the hotel amenities or things to do around the hotel with the weather forecast. The feedback on the weather forecast, however, was so ambivalent that Audrey had to take it down as it seemed to confuse users more. In other words, Hotel Tonight is the total user experience geared towards the obvious need for a hotel with just enough features to accommodate related needs.
Shutting Down Your Company
As a founder of the company and having pulled out or convinced people to work for you and then have the company fold up is a position you would not want your worst enemy to be in. The responsibility is immense and, when put in this position, one must face harsh realities. Audrey’s personal take away from this experience was to reassess her personal goals and set her personal bar. She came up with 3 important considerations, namely: 1) Does the world need this product? 2) Do I believe in this product?, and most importantly 3) Am I willing to dedicate ten years of my life for this? No matter how hard the decision to close have been, Audrey advises that for her personally, a 10-year benchmark to work on a product is the maximum.
As a founder, what advice would you give on how to keep on being together when things are not going so well?
Being a founder is being a source of positivity and a source of vision. This is just not being a founder but about us being all part of a team and building trust among everyone.