Hi, I'm Jan König 👋. I'm one of the founders of Jovo, 28 years old, and live in Berlin. < Go back to learn more.

What's the Emoji in Your Product Update Strategy?

We launched v2 of our Jovo Framework last week. 🎉

While this was very exciting (it has been in the works for a long time), we were anxious that many people might resist to update to v2 and just stick to v1.

"Never change a running system."

How can we make people update their software?

Let's be honest. No one likes software updates, mostly due to bad experiences from years ago, where they would take ages to complete and sometimes just freeze at 95%.

However, making sure people update is important for a lot of reasons:

  • Fixing security issues and bugs
  • Reducing the number of support requests for older, buggier versions
  • Less code examples and open source code from outdated versions

So, how can we make people commit time to something as unsexy as a software updated? Apple has a strategy for this:

The Emoji Update

"Apple brings more than 70 new emoji to iPhone with iOS 12.1" states a press release by Apple. Usually, every new emoji update generates a lot of buzz.

Most iOS updates come with a lot of features. Yet, most people care about the emoji. There are even guides like "How to Update Emoji on an iPhone" (= how to update iOS). And it even has some kind of "viral" effect: If you don't have the update yet, you will just see a black box instead of the cool new emoji:

Source: Turn A Question Mark Box � Into An Emoji

If this doesn't make you upgrade, what else?

Our "Emoji"

So, we thought, what can we add to the "boring" stuff to make people really want to update?

A better architecture under the hood? → not really

TypeScript? → maybe for a few

More modular and extensible? → hmm

Those are all necessary updates, but didn't really feel like moving the needle enough to make people love the new update. So we added a new type of integration that usually required people to invest a lot of time to set up: A CMS based on Google Sheets:

Learn more here: Use Google Sheets as CMS for your Voice App.

And so far, people have been upgrading to v2. We can't really measure the reason for it, but the CMS integration has had several hundreds of downloads since we published the package.

What's your "Emoji"?

I'm interested in hearing what you've been experimenting with!
- Jan


(Images from EmojiOne)

Sign Up

In this newsletter, I try to reflect on my learnings of building an open source startup. Join 135 subscribers who receive a weekly email from me: