Yes, Evan Spiegel is still good at making products. They just might not be products everyone wants to use.
Snapchat suddenly has a product problem.
CEO Evan Spiegel announced last week that Snapchat is getting a redesign because it’s “difficult to understand or hard to use.”
His decision to rebuild the app just nine months into Snap’s life as a public company has led some to question whether or not Spiegel is truly the product savant he’s been made out to be. When I profiled Spiegel last spring, those close to him likened him to a Picasso — an extraordinary claim, but also a nod to his ability to create stuff no one else could.
The problem is that Spiegel is not just an inventor. He’s the CEO of a publicly traded company. This means that his success is measured by metrics like user growth, revenue and profit, not by the novelty of his latest creation.
Spiegel is great at coming up with creative and unique products. Disappearing photos and videos? Awesome. Opening the app directly into camera mode? Novel. Pioneering the push into mobile-native vertical video, and vertical video advertising? It’s changing the way some of the world’s largest content producers are thinking about their business.