When last June I ran into an article from Joel Spolsky announcing the StackOverflow DevDays in Cambridge I took the chance on the fly and booked my seat. Last Thursday I eventually got to this wonderful city in the UK and after wandering around for a whole day, I attended the conference on Friday.
The first presentation was from Mr Spolsky in person… great way to start. Mr Spolsky discussed about compromises to make between simplicity and power citing general cases first and going in depth into the software business afterwards. It seems that an experiment run by some academic within a groceries store showed that when the number of the different varieties of jam shown on a shelf was low, the number of customers stopping to have a look was much lower but the number of items sold was 10 times higher. This result suggests that the lower the number of choices is, the easier it is for people to make up their minds and take a decision. On the other side, Mr Spolsky has a personal experience suggesting the opposite and based on the numbers coming from the sales of FogBugz, the flag product of his company, FogCreek. (more…)