From Kara Swisher’s Vanity Fair piece on Instagram:
But their real breakthrough was conceptual: “Instead of doing a check-in that had an optional photo, we thought, Why don’t we do a photo that has an optional check-in?” says Systrom.
Systrom’s question may sound shallow now. Given where the industry’s attention was at the time (Foursquare, Gowalla, BrightKite, Loopt, etc.) the question was, as Swisher states, a conceptual breakthrough.
We know how Instagram’s simple observation turned out.
We know how Mailbox app’s simple observation turned out.
If anybody knows of any other good stories where a simple observation helped frame a product in entirely new light, I’d love to hear them.