I thought Simon did an admirable job asking Min good questions. He didn’t flinch from asking uncomfortable questions (cheating in races, eSports, etc) and seemed to touch on all, or at least most of, the subjects that are regularly discussed.
It sounds like there may be a “solution” coming shortly (March) in regards to riders sandbagging races…namely they will ghost them during the race (not to their knowledge) and then after the race will receive a message saying “Congratulations…you were too strong for this race” or something to that effect. A reasonable enough short-term solution, I think.
I did finally get a bit frustrated with Min’s answers, however…everything seemed to be “we have to do better at that and we are working on it. But it isn’t an easy solution.” By the second half of the interview, he had lost any believability, IMO.
I always look forward to the “Minterview”. It is a great format like you mentioned, and I am glad to see Eric still giving some honest answers. The comment how they missed the UI redesign deployment window and now have to wait until after peak season was pretty interesting. For me personally, I work at a company that has grown from 60 employees to over 1k, so the subtle hints that Eric glosses over are always the most interesting for me. Glad to see they are addressing some architectural and design decisions, because I bet that code has a pretty strong smell with the rapid growth.
I have to agree with you. It started off well but halfway through I was getting a bit annoyed with Eric Mins answers as he seemed to be not acknowledging things even though the masses are saying otherwise.
Great example was the discussion about the need to close and relaunch the app to change courses. He says most go in, ride and leave. Might be true, but how many times have you clicked “Ride” only to realize you forgot to select your preferred world and course? Me, more often than I’d like to admit (since it is true user error) but that crap happens.
People don’t always follow the desired workflow, so an app that ignores that possibility and continues to make an effective punishment for a mistake is beyond frustrating. Add in the dismissive attitude from Eric, and it becomes even more disappointing.
It’s crap like that, where they only see one use case and ignore the wider possibilities, that make users so unhappy with certain features.
And I need to listen again, but this whole thing about “peak” times to do stuff or not do it seem crazy to me. You did the work, it’s ready to release or not, give us the damn update. ARGH!
I’m curious to give this a listen but I get somewhat confused with the complaints about zwift.
In my mind the value vs cost is exceptional. I’m pretty much on zwift 6 days/week for most of the year and 3-4 during the summer (400+ hrs in 2019) and I can do everything from racing to structured interval work to leisurely group rides. Given the price and the quality product I cut the a TON of slack on small quirks.
It feels very similar to people complaining about Strava, which is free or very nearly free, and comparing it to TP Premium at $19.99/mo…
I could never work in tech, listening to people complain today about what would have been considered “magic” a few years ago
There is never a “good” time to release a new interface. That’s why there are many ways to get around it, including beta releases that live alongside the original for a while, and eventually take it over. As for defending the current UI “logic”, that’s actually pretty funny. App developers end up so close into their work that they lack the first-time user’s view and perspective. No, you won’t lose major revenue because your UI is clunky. But ignoring it is part of the irritants that will increase churn in the long run.
I fully agree with your comments. I love Zwift as well. It got me back into cycling, and I still use it for the engagement/social aspect while doing TR workouts. However, if they are going to be targeting new cyclists, then their audience is going to expect the same “ease of use” as other applications on their devices. In todays software arena (like you mentioned), typos, bad UI/UX and bugs that are not closed within a timely manner is enough for the casual cyclist to move on. All in all, I think Nathan Guerra is correct. It wont be a current competitor that gives Zwift its first real competition, its going to be EA/Riot/Epic that sees the cash potential and moves into their space.
Yeah, no really push to innovate, or even fix the glaring issues that continue to exist, 5 years on.
Take another example they didn’t address. New users often struggle to enter events, races and group workouts. Why? Because they either pick an event in the main launch screen or the companion app, and stay in the launch screen. It is not obvious to new people, that you must actually click “Ride” to enter ANY WORLD and COURSE, so you then have the prompt to actually join the desired event.
I get this question from nearly every new user I help in Zwift. There is no prompt in any way that the user MUST BE in a world in order to join an event. It even seems directly counter-intuitive to join a world or course that isn’t the precise one they are expecting to join.
Sure, this takes all of one time being shown and told the “right” way to do it, but the mere fact that it is not automatic or obvious is a clear point that should be improved.
Another example of the promotion taking precedent over the product:
The whole esports aspect, cheating, verification and such is a mess. They have already hooked up for UCI worlds, hints of Olympics and all that starts from the lower levels to hit those peaks.
Maybe he knows far more than he chose to share on the interview, but there seems to be way too many unknowns about HOW they are really going to make that all work. Power, points, trainer / power meter verification, rankings, etc… all crap that should be well in place, tested, and verified via beta and real use… BEFORE stating there will be world level competitions.
Cart before the horse in every way possible. Frustrating again, as a details person, and one that has to explain all the oddities and “bad racing” that exists in the wild wild west that exists now. Ghosting may be an easy thing to implement, but it hardly addresses the core issues that must be resolved for Zwift to have even a shade of hope for “validity” in the eyes of a very skeptical cycling world.
It’s a pure joke right now, and has so far to go before anything meaningful can really be taken from the racing (if that is even possible in the best of cases).
Or how about the fact that you can’t view your “Achievements” or Garage unless you are in the game?
Perfect example - as long as I am just using Zwift as a distraction during my TR workouts, I figure I might as well check off all the different courses / routes and earn my badges, along with some extra XP.
Except I don’t know off the top of my head which routes I have actually completed in which worlds…but I have to choose a route before I can see which ones I need to still ride. So if I choose a route that I have already completed, I then have to restart the game to switch routes.
yeah, at the end of the day it is not a huge deal, but it just goes to show how Zwift simply isn’t listening to their customers. They come up with these route challenges, but don’t give you a way to see which ones you need to do before you have to make your route choice for the day.
I have a pdf of the list from Zwift Insider with little tickmarks I put into the pdf doc. Very high tech. I evolved that from a sheet of paper. And I installed the app on my phone, for the only purpose of accessing account stuff - route badges, equipment, whatever. The iOS app is also very useful in cold weather to warm your hands: it turns the phone into a toaster. What DCRainmaker calls a “battery blowtorch”.
I disagree that their CEO doesn’t have a vision, I just think it’s the wrong vision, or a distant one. He talks a lot about making the experience just like real life, racing against friends, having a coffee afterwards - normally I applaud this kind of thinking, but the basics of any modern game are just not there:
None of Zwift behaves “as it should”.
The only reason I can think of for the hugely clunky interfaces is that the whole app has not been designed and coded properly from the start, they’re in a legacy code hole and they can’t dig out - they need to rearchitect the whole platform. With a gagillion dollars in the bank there’s no other credible reason.
I agree that he projects no sense of urgency in fixing anything the community is asking for, dismissing all complaints as coming from a vocal minority - he needs to understand how communities work better, otherwise someone else will spin up something on another 3D gaming engine and walk off with the whole market.
Just to fan the flames, which online cycling platform offers more than Zwift, does it better than Zwift, does it cheaper than Zwift and has the same user base as Zwift?
None are perfect, but as far as I can see Zwift is coming closest to where it needs to go.
You want a better cycling experience, ask a cyclist. You want a better gaming experience, you need to start asking the gamers. I agree that it’s not one of the current platforms that are going to get it right, but one of the gaming giants.
i like Eric from what i have seen but this interview almost felt like he held his customers in disdain…laughing at the vocal minority (his loyal customers) and dismissing their feature requests…loads and loads of people want this not having to exit feature. Totally like we listen and give you what “we want” not what “you” want.
i thought he came across with a superiority complex and totally dismissive of his customers. Complete opposite to the TR way of engaging with their customers.