Build anticipation. Deflate.

My twitter stream has been going a bit wild with updates about the launch of, and subsequent delay in use, of the new Mailbox app on iPhone. There seems to be a mix of anticipation and "meh" over their chosen roll-out method so I thought I'd quickly jot down my thoughts over lunch.

The roll-out of the app is currently on a first come, first served basis by way of taking reservations to use the app. Once signed-up, you are shown how many users have registered ahead of you and how many are behind you. Making prospective users wait after getting so tantalisingly close to full access builds anticipation. Users granted access raises them to the exclusive rank of early adopter. Nicely done.


There's a balance that needs to be found with this process. It can either work in your favour or could be damaging. Timing it right is crucial to keeping the buzz going. Make users wait too long for access and you run the risk of killing the anticipation.

Last year when Medium launched, I thought it was great. A wonderful idea getting right back to what most people want from a site; content that interests, intrigues or moves them.

As soon as I saw it, I signed-up. I looked at the content being published and I wanted to be a part of it. At the time I was in a transitional period with my own site. I wanted to focus more on web and design related content but still wanted a place to write about other thoughts I had. This seemed like the place to do it. I spent the next few days and weeks continually going back and checking out what was going on hoping they'd start rolling out access to users.

Weeks turned to months and now I barely even think about it. The excitement I had for the site and the inspiration it stirred up has faded because I was so close to being able to participate, but a barrier at the last hurdle prevented me from get involved. Maybe I'll head back there when access is granted but only time will tell on that.

I'm just one user. I may be alone on this but I doubt it, the world is a big place after all. I would love to hear your opinion, catch me on twitter.