Design is in.
Consumer startups no longer need to argue about product quality – it’s a prerequisite to even an initial launch. This is a good thing, but this post isn’t about that.
For social apps, what you design directly is only half the user experience. The people are just as important! So if you build a really great linksharing site that’s extremely polished and full-featured, but the community consists of Nazis, it won’t work for people.
I’m often reminded of this fact when trying XBox Live, which consists of prepubescents killing you repeated on Halo while calling you gay. The Halo content is amazing, of course, but the community around it is… um… different than me.
Dribbble as an example
Similarly, you could build a product that was an exact replica of uber-design site Dribbble, yet still fail if you didn’t have their users ...