Shipping it vs. adding features


(Mark Williams) #1

First off, Zwift is AWESOME!! I can’t recall being so excited about an indoor training option since getting my Concept 2 rower in the early 2000’s, when being able to see how many meters I’d rowed was the electronic nirvana :slight_smile:

I have a ton of respect for what the folks at Zwift are doing but have a perspective on how to move forward. Just one person’s opinion.

The basic “platform” seems pretty stable - for a beta product - but still has a good number of what I’d call “core” bugs, namely those that affect everyone, regardless of platform, interest in workouts vs. “game”, power meter or not, etc, etc. These bugs are acceptable for a beta but wouldn’t be in a released product that justifies a monthly subscriptions. They relate to things like the “physics” engine (finalizing how drafting works) and images (riders going off in random directions for no apparent reason). These are “non-negotiable” bugs in that, as I say, they must be fixed before Zwift ships V1.

With these bugs fixed I would suggest that the Zwift V1 is a fun and motivating platform for a large number of folks. It obviously doesn’t come close to the enormous potential of Zwift but those can all come in the future and, on an ongoing basis, allow Zwift to add feature after feature and make a bug noise about this.

I keep reading, from Zwift, how it’s a small company and difficult decisions need to be made. Every new feature IN BETA that is added now takes time away from fixing the aforementioned core bugs. And the V1 gets further away.

Another perspective is that while Zwift adds features like powerups with a single course and a single race, everyone involved MUST participate. I might not press the spacebar but folks I am potentially racing against have that option. That works fine PROVIDING there is a race I can join that allows me to “opt out” of being with folks who will use powerups. We don’t have that choice in beta,

Powerups strike me as a perfect V1.1 (or V2) feature. Get the basic platform out the door with all the prioritized core bugs fixed, bring in subscription revenue to support additional resources at Zwift and THEN add on powerups (along with multiple races that allow folks who don’t like powerups to opt-out - powerups and configurable races go hand-in-hand, IHMO).

Another aspect is Mac support. I TOTALLY understand why Zwift wants to add that - but is it really essential to take resources away from core bugs (which, by the way, are relevant to Mac too). Strikes me as another example of another Zwift press release after V1 :slight_smile:

In summary, I’d guess that Zwift could get a really good number of subscribers with the current feature set (with core bugs fixed) and then get on a real roll adding feature after feature.

Two cents, nothing more.

Mark


(N. Jekov) #2

Fully agree! I would happily be a subscriber with a few more courses and the current functionality and recommend it as such to my fellow riders.
Additional stuff like powerups are prone to dividing the community when mandatory, some will like it, others (like me) rather see it as unnecessary gimmick, perhaps fine for an optional future content patch. Sometimes less is more, Strava leaderboards and powerups don’t fit together well IMO.


(Mark Williams) #3

Let me add one more note. I would absolutely subscribe to Zwift based on the current feature set (and before powerups, in which I personally have no interest). I’d expect the really ugly bugs to be fixed (core bugs) to accept it as a non-beta release but it holds my attention right now.

Zwift seems to have done a really good job of drumming up excitement for the product. I’d guess that would translate into hundreds of thousands of revenue per month - all available as soon as the core bugs are fixed and the V1 is out the door. And then I’d get SUPER excited to see Zwift just make it better and better with regular updates. Some would be hugely interesting (new courses, race events, etc) while some less so (powerups, Mac support) and everyone has their own preferences. But there are thousands of people ready to pay good money.

Instead Zwift is putting Mac support and powerups ahead of that approach - and I am starting to see frustration and people starting to dismiss Zwift because (in THEIR opinion) it’s taking too long to ship. I don’t share that opinion, because I think it’s come on leaps an bounds in a short period of time (and shipping reliable software is tough). But for every day that passes (and gets closer to outdoor riding for many people) the opportunity diminishes.

I’m up to four cents now :slight_smile:

I want to start spending money with Zwift! :slight_smile:

Mark


(Stewart G teamWBR) #4

I don’t like the power ups either, just a bit too gimmicky for me and as you said, it must have taken up a fair bit of time.

Loving it even as it is just now and excited to how it develops in the coming months, especially new courses and the ability to structure a workout for it as I also really enjoy these on TrainerRoad.


(Shawn DeBoer) #5

Zwift currently only supports KickR and Computrainer for trainer resistance control as far as I know. What % of the (Windows, Mac) market is that? Without smart trainer support (in my case) I currently wouldn’t pay to subscribe. Having said this, Zwift deserves a ton of credit for what they’ve done thus far. Big possibilities.


(Anthony Cree (STC)) #6

I read the description of powerups, and pretty much thought ‘meh’. Very much not a feature I have any interest in, and I agree, I’d rather not ride with others that use them.

More courses are definitely necessary. I suggest longer courses, with more undulation. Computrainers work best IMO with gentle grades and grade changes, courses like the Iceman cometh for example has much better road feel than Escape from Alcatraz. I’d love to see something like Iceman Cometh on Zwift.

Rather than spend time on things like powerups, perhaps beta users could be polled re feature desirability to help zwift focus their efforts.