ottoneu Pick Six launched on april 28. as of writing this, 4789 entries have been made by 505 users, and 201 entries have been made so far for today. these are pretty good numbers, and especially rewarding because i made my first check-in to the project on april 12.
for some background, Pick Six is a daily fantasy baseball game. there are six positions to fill – catcher, corner infield (1st or 3rd base), middle infield (2nd base or shortstop), outfield, starting pitcher, and relief pitcher. you get a budget of $120 which you can’t go over, and every player is assigned a value. fill out your lineup, stay under budget, and your players get (or lose) points based on their production on the day. there are some more nuances, but that’s the basic overview – $120, 6 positions, fill all your positions without going over budget, unlock achievements and beat your friends.
Pick Six was a pretty quick, iterative process. the initial launch had an all-time leaderboard and the ability to pick your team. i quickly added more information around the player selection process (opposing pitcher, batter and pitcher handedness, etc). it became clear however that focusing on the all-time leaderboard was preventing new users from playing, so i changed all the leaderboards to focus on smaller time segments first (daily, then weekly, then all-time).
still 207 entries
the other big portion of feedback has been around the social interactions of the game. i started by adding the ability to follow other users, so you can build your own personal leaderboard. while this has been good, it hasn’t been great – users still can’t communicate with each other on the site, and it’s not quite satisfying enough to beat your friends. not just yet, at least.
achievements have been another fun thing for people to look at, and feedback led directly to a few of the more clever achievements, such as the rays achievement (spend $80 or less and win the day) and the mariners achievement (spend $110+ and come in last place). while i don’t want the number of achievements to get overwhelming, i think there is still some room to add some interesting achievements to both encourage users to accomplish certain tasks and to reward users for completing otherwise monotonous tasks.
still 208 entries
i would say 80% of what i’ve added since launch has been at the suggestion of users or at least reinforced by users. followers and achievements were kicking around in my head before, but clarity on how to implement these features came directly from feedback. something as subtle as changing around what leaderboards are emphasized wouldn’t have been on my radar had it not been for user feedback. so, i’ll say what everyone else in the startup world says, which is “listen to your users”.
but how do you find out what your users want? this is really the interesting question to me. aaron has been encouraging me to do more user surveys and a/b testing, so users can show me what they want via their browser. while i cannot argue with those methods at all, they both seem a bit… dry to me. my approach has been slightly different – i’ve made myself available, via twitter, email, fangraphs chats, and any other method i can imagine. by virtue of making myself available, users reach out to me when they have issues or new ideas on their own. i remember a long time ago reading that for every 1 person who bothers to leave a comment or emails you or whatever, there are probably 10+ more users who would agree with that person but just didn’t email you. the ratio might even be higher now. so, if 2-3 people agree on a way to move forward, odds are that your user base is going to be pretty happy with you when you implement the new feature.
still 210 entries
the other thing to remember is that users don’t always know what they want. this is why responses to open-ended questions in surveys should be taken with a grain of salt, i think. you’ll get some gems, but you’ll also get a lot of people who haven’t really given thought to your product on the same level you are thinking about your product. you can’t blame users for that, it’s pretty understandable behavior. however, sometimes you’re going to (as aaron just told me in an email) go with your gut rather than listen 100% to your users. it’s a fun balance, i guess. except it isn’t that fun sometimes.
after 750+ words about everything and nothing, i think its time to go make Pick Six more social. after all, it is what my users (who have thought about it enough) (think they) want, kind of.