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Saas Applications and Manuals?

Software Manuals anyone? Who reads them?  For interactive products like Video games or phones, who reads them?  My 4 year son started using iPad like a pro and now he even tells me this is PBS kids and this is netflix.  When I got an iPhone I never read a manual and havent so far for last 2 years.  As Kids we never read manual for video games. The game developers just made level1 easier and you learn as you play and get better.

Recently I had a chance to compare two APM tools AppDynamics and NewRelic at a large scale at my employer and both took me 5 min to setup and get going. But what sold me to NewRelic was their ability to deliver value without doing any additional configuration. Their Level1 itself had so many aha moments that it sold me immediately.  Dont get me wrong, Appdynamics is a very  powerful APM tool but you have to configure it, tweak it like an ERP solution to get value out of it, it felt so 1990s. In past 3 months I never got enough time to tweak and configure Appdynamics.  Whereas NewRelic felt more like a game where you configure this plugin and you get more value and you use this view and you get things to optimize and this continued on.

We are soon realizing the limitations of NewRelic and now I have to read manuals to configure it and tweak it to get more value out of it but its a Sunk Cost theory and I would try to live with it as not me but everyone in team has invested in it. So I would now try to Configure AppDynamics to get advanced things that NewRelic cant.

In short the lesson to be learnt is now a days no one likes to read manuals and millennials need instant gratification. I occasionally do read manuals but only when you are dealing with very custom thing like Configure an active directory or configure custom instrumentation or you want to use advanced options of sed or awk or using a totally new tool or api that is not intuitive like credit card processing.

In real life there are many things where I read manuals like assembling a wood furniture because once you have put the screw in wrong place you are toast so you have to be careful. But when it comes to using software applications the unconscious bias is always to play with it without reading plethora of documentation as what can go wrong, you can always retry it.  When designing Saas products if you can make it a game there is a very good chance of higher conversion.

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