How BuzzFeed built value by designing awesome experiences inside other platforms

In some recent client work, an emerging theme is that consumer tech. / media start-ups no longer control the most important bits of their UI.

Today, if you’re a consumer technology or digital media company, nearly all of your customers will first encounter you through a channel like Facebook, Instagram, twitter, an app store or an email application. In each case:

  1. You, as the app developer or content owner have minimal control over how your application or content looks and works in these platforms.

    This means that you need some very good designers, engineers, and content creators who deeply understand each channel from both a technical and audience perspective. You need to excel within tight constraints, and be able to change your Facebook App or twitter strategy very quickly based on user behavior.

  2. Most of these channels are controlled by incumbents who set the rules for these channels and can change them at a whim.

    This means that you need to grow very quickly, develop your own direct connections with users, and find an early exit strategy that will work.

    BuzzFeed excels at both of these. And between all of the stupid top-N lists, and cat videos, they’re also producing some fantastic long-form journalism. So yeah, I like this deal.

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