Watch What They Do, Not What They Say

Many of our portfolio companies struggle with the idea of changing something fundamental about their service, such as Twitter’s recent change from stars to hearts. It incites fury from the loyal users who believe they know what is best for the service.

I always encourage our portfolio companies to A/B test a change in a relatively small but representative sample of their users and to watch what users do and don’t spend too much emotional energy on what users say.

Twitter’s switch to hearts has resulted in more engagement with the favorite function. I would bet that Twitter had that data and understood it before deciding to make the change. You can’t make such an important change without first testing it to see what happens.

Loyal users are always going to hate a big change to a service they use every day. I recall the outrage when Facebook rolled out the news feed, which has become the central feature of its product. It was as if they had destroyed the service.

Users’ actions will tell you what they think about a change more than what they write (on your platform and elsewhere).

For what it’s worth, I loved to move to hearts the minute they did it. I feel like I favorite way more now. But Twitter would know. They have the data 🙂