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Visual differentiation without substance isn’t a moat

Here’s how some of the biggest technology companies looked when they started:

Here’s how billion dollar revenue companies look today!

Compare these designs to the classy user interface of the now shut

The bottomline: Owned Identity or brands are built over years by delivering on your core promise. All you need is a design that is good enough that won’t kill the launch.

  • Google’s focus was its Search algorithm.
  • Amazon’s focus was on faster shipping, lower pricing, and greater variety.
  • Once you’ve cracked your core value proposition, the unique design can add to the experience, thereby allowing you to charge a premium.

In comparison: The Outline has overinvested in design relative to their size and earning potential and that capital could have been better deployed in experimenting with and iterating on their core editorial proposition.

  • This typically happens because editorial teams tend to mix up brand, design, and content.



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