In Conversations in Code podcast's Plain Text Accounting episode
it is mentioned that PTA is offputting, perceived to be complex and
labour-intensive, even for technical folks (in this case it was more
perception than reality, once over the hurdle they found it easy ).
It is a good reminder that complexity/fragmentation/choice,
getting-started hassle, and ongoing labour cost have always been -
whether perceived or real - a weakness and limiting factor for PTA.
Relatedly, in the post "Your product is a joke"
) (HN discussion:
), analogies are made
between product design and improv comedy, and recommendations are
What inspiration could we take from this for PTA in general and
I have lots of related thoughts, but here are a few (read the above
post and these will make more sense):
1. BUILD A BASE REALITY BEFORE YOU GET TOO CREATIVE
Translation: describe/understand/establish contact with users' reality
/ the common perception, first.
What is our base reality ? It could be eg:
"PTA is complicated, hard to get started with, and loads of work"
2. STOP AND GET REALLY EXPLICIT ABOUT YOUR GAME
Translation: clearly call out our "gimmick", unique value proposition,
thing that makes us different.
What is our game/UVP (whether actual or aspirational), currently ?
Compared to other accounting tools (GUI, cloud-based, commercial, mobile, spreadsheets, paper):
- (some distillation of the advantages mentioned on plaintextaccounting.org
Compared to other Ledgerlikes, long story short, I feel it is two-fold:
Let me know if you see it differently.
(Based on this I'm thinking of updating the product tagline again, to
"easy, dependable plain text accounting". Clear messaging, though not
very exciting or catchy.. other ideas welcome.)
3. LOOK TO EXPLORE OR HEIGHTEN, BUT MAINTAIN FOCUS
Translation: focus, double and triple down on that unique aspect. Turn
it up to 11, and see where that leads. Don't dissipate energy chasing
a hundred other ideas.
4. DON'T USE NOT KNOWING YOUR GAME AS AN EXCUSE TO NOT START
Translation: when our unique value proposition / true strength is
unclear, move forward anyway, do experiments and seek to discover it
as soon as possible.