Consumer social apps are unique. Everyone gets to have an opinion being consumers themselves. Everyone will tell you why it won’t work or what’s wrong. To succeed, it takes thoughtful conviction, being deeply attuned to often latent consumer needs, and being willing to figure out why something will work — despite all the naysayers.
It's more about taste. Social apps are the most artistic corner of the tech world. Like movies and music, the subtle details matter. Social is kind of the ultimate creative pursuit, at least in tech.
It's very hard to know where a hit (as they call it) might come from where you never could have looked at a market sizing diagram or Gartner report, and then deduce from that that there should be a social network that starts with colleges and sprouts from there.
There's rarely a top-down or bottom-up analysis that leads to an insight that creates an experience that captures something and leads to tremendous consumer growth.
It's so hard to go from there and actually reach escape velocity, unlock a monetization model. There are so many more steps or hurdles that there's a much higher rate of companies being started going after consumer opportunities. Iterating, iterating, iterating, and never quite unlocking or capturing that lightning in a bottle
Better have a core insight into a small market. Have the ability to expand beyond that than to be going after a big market from the beginning.
Building a great social product means creating something that compels our emotions, our psyche, and our identity.
Good psychology hacks are things like tinder's fast paced swiping. Out of the squillions of dating apps, the one with a good hack won. I think Facebook used an identical hack for its first version, the hot-or-not version. Twitter's basic concept. Snapchat's. Lots of examples. All good "psych-hacks" that formed a core of successful products, arrived at through a sort of natural selection process. I suspect that almost any app which does not "solve a problem" leverages some hack instead.