Based on the fossil record, it's estimated that 99%+ of all species that have ever existed no longer do, thanks to natural selection continuously operating at a micro level and extinction level events playing the role of macro sweeper.

It's a tough world out there!

Which is why Howard, grippingly played by John Goodman in 10 Cloverfield Lane, ensconced himself in his well-stocked, well-researched bunker. He even had the foresight to bring puzzles and games to play with his friends!

No extinction for Howard.

Woven into the 2016 thriller is a Schrödinger's cat dilemma: are things inside or outside the underground fortress worse? There's only one way to find out: exposing yourself to the outside, which will either liberate you or kill you.

Everything By Design

Like Howard's bunker, our product UI may be tough, but it's not impenetrable. We allow users to funnel in — carefully, of course, and then look: here, here, and here are three, count them, designated entrances and exits.

And if anyone really needs something? We've got encyclopedias over there, a mail slot here — hell, we've even got an intercom! They can just buzz us.

Let them in?! Haha. No. We charge $12/mo. We never let them in. That would kill our unit economics.

If we want to observe them, we stand on a chair and stare out our product analytics porthole. And if they want to tell us something? They can follow any of our clearly-marked, scalable channels.

Did I mention we got to revenue within 30 days of our first release?!

Self-service, bottoms-up adoption, product-led growth: we have them all!

We Want To Believe

This approach, of giving our users the most product-like experience possible, as early as possible, creates a very efficient interaction model.

And efficiency sounds a lot like winning.

Except it doesn't feel like winning right now, does it? Word of mouth 🐙 is meh. Most of their messages are bug reports or complaints. Churn is frustratingly high, but they're not explaining themselves on exit. We're nonplussed; the UI is phenomenal! With the latest frameworks, all things are possible.

The Truth Is Out There

It turns out we're doing a lot of things efficiently — except growing.

Before fit, what is an interaction supposed to efficiently accomplish, anyway? Is it about resolving the issue with minimal investment?

And what is the outside environment, really? Is it a meteor? An alien invasion?

If not, what's the role of an interface that sits between us and our users? Should it be protecting us from the costs of engagement?

When we put our customer's journey on tight rails, what we gain in margin, we lose in signal.

Margin is the right move when we know what we need to be to thrive.

But when we're just entering the world, we've got to stay steeped for in those messy, high-cost, high-fidelity feedback waters for long enough to learn, adapt, and find our wedge 🐙. Or to rediscover what it will take to break through.

What's your UI for?