The hidden cohorts

I once wrote and still kinda-sorta-maintain a browser extension for custom keyboard shortcuts called Shortkeys. I thought its users would mostly be productivity nerds and vim fans.

Then I started getting a few random requests for a strangely specific feature. People wanted a keyboard shortcut to click a button with an arbitrary ID and then switch to the next tab. WTF?

Turns out, fans of a game called Tribal Wars had started using and sharing Shortkeys. I don’t know anything about the game but they told me that feature would help them win, so I added it.

I was reminded of that today when re-reading this section of An Elegant Puzzle:

What is hiding behind your clean distributions? Exploring your data for the cohorts hidden behind top-level analysis is an effective way to discover new kinds of users with surprising needs.

Will Larson

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