The last couple of days I have taken a well deserved time off, and took my daughter on a little trip into Connecticut, where we just spend some time together since her summer vacation was almost over and both me and my wife have been very busy with work lately.
So, we packed out bags and took of for Mystic county, Connecticut. A place that I only remember vaguely ever hearing about, or passing on the highway on our numerous trips to Boston. And we had a blast, just, nothing special. Going to the aquarium, having a great hotel and good food, and go on the steam train and river boat. Nothing special on their own, but just spending fun times together.
And while we were there, again I was shown that what I try to preach most to my clients, and with this blog, has been proven again time after time; the best experiences with anything have nothing to do with looks. After I have written numerous postings about it, still, I am encountering so many clients who have such a thing with making their products look absolutely awesome in their own opinion, that they bypass their goals, spend way too much money, and in the end, find out that customers do not care since too much time has been put in the look and feel, and not the overall experience.
One of the places we ended up at was a little breakfast restaurant that we found in Mystic, CT, stuffed away far from the beaten track, in a marina called Kitchen Little. Having checked it on Yelp first, this one got the best ratings for their breakfasts. So, we packed our bags from the hotel, and set off.
This little restaurant is something you rather would pass by. The looks are not amazing, the ambiance is not what you are looking for when you are a tourist. It sits there, in the middle of a parking lot at the marina. But we were greeted honestly joyful, my daughter’s heart was won over by giving her an extra large glass of perfectly mixed syrup chocolate milk (here too, it is about the taste and experience, not always that it has to be home-made chocolate milk that might taste like crap), and I was surprised by a absolutely decent plate of breakfast. Now, when I say decent, I have to admit to one thing; nobody makes an egg breakfast like me. I am sorry, but hands down, I make a killer omelet, and almost everywhere I am always disappointed with the breakfast. Not here. Good service, nice food, and happy customers actually made up for the atmosphere that was reasonable at best. I absolutely understood the good ratings from the customers, and why they were voted best in breakfast by numerous magazines – what they loved to show off on the wall. Again, they do what they are best in… making breakfast. Which is the only thing I asked from them; and they delivered.
The other thing was going on a steam train slash boat ride on the Connecticut river, which I read about on the internet. The site was so-so, and I ordered my ticket prior to visiting online, only to be receiving a message that I had to pick up my tickets at the station, which I wrote about in my previous posting. I was honestly worried about the hundreds of things that could go wrong. And when we arrived, and the location felt a bit out of place, some old western style music was being played, and some characters were walking dressed in the style of a hundred years ago, I felt my heart drop in my chest. My daughter was excited though, which it was all about. So, on we went. And I immediately was shown again, that although it was not a stream-lined polished experience, it was actually something done very well; an older man walked up to me and asked me what kind of tickets I wanted. So I answered him that I ordered them online, on which he found my name, and handed me over my tickets, guided me to the 1st class wagon, and we were pointed to our seats in a lovely setting. Not perfect, but perfect knowing that these were the original wagons, and the treatment was simply nice, kind and fast.
We enjoyed every bit of it. None of the dressed up characters were pushy or were there to try to achieve some Disney-like experience. No, they were there only to set up the mood, but nothing more. They did not bother you, it was just some added decoration. The boat ride was just like that. Simple, but good. Run by people who have done their job over decades, and just did it how they knew best. True, the guy reading the stories about everything we passed was clearly inexperienced, but everything else went simply smoothly.
Overall, it is always these kind of things that really cheer me up. We forget that it is not all about looks these days. And we all tend to forget. First, become good at something, and then, start dressing it up.
Also, it has no use to start out by trying to look the best, and then spend all your budget and time on it. Because you will find out that you have to change everything again – if it is because of new experience or requests from investors or users – and having everything polished up by then, causes everything to fall apart.
I do think that both the Kitchen Little and the Steam Train / Boat Ride could use some polishing up, but that is simply because I think they have already their processes down to an art. But it will not be very necessary that they do – if they reach the clientage that they are aiming for right now, that is.
So, to everyone who is still so focused on looks and feel before even an initial launch or beta launch; drop everything, leave your phone and tablet at home, and take a two or three day trip anywhere… and just enjoy; see what actually makes you feel best; the polished feeling, or a great experience with people who know what they are doing. Some deliver both… but even then I can guarantee you; that is not how they started out.
Success is not in being perfect; success is in being good.