Monthly Archives: April 2014

How thinking by first principles can produce a great user experience

Metrekare is our investment in the real estate classifieds space. We invested in the company’s seed round several months ago together with Cem Sertoglu and Evren Ucok who lead the Earlybird Digital East Fund’s Turkish operations.
At the time of our investment, the company was pre-product. As a result our decision to invest was based on two factors. The first was an outstanding founding team consisting of Serhat Karahan, Halil Akin, and Arda Bayindir, and their ability to attract similar talent. The second was the real estate classifieds market’s need for an online product which is fully aligned with the thought process of a home searcher when looking for a new place to stay.
Our first hypothesis of the founders’ ability to attract great talent was proven true in very short time. The founders quickly assembled an all-star team of developers with the skills necessary to rapidly build all of the features necessary for a great product from the ground up. They also took the first steps in building their sales team to interact with real estate agents and are now growing this team with additional talent.Together with the release of Metrekare’s tablet version, we’re pleased to see that our second hypothesis is also now a reality. The web, iOS, and Android versions of the product which were released earlier were an excellent start, and the team has once again impressed with the release of the iPad version.

While most classifieds sites present a text-based list of search results, Metrekare approaches a homeowner’s search process from first principles. Instead of simply copying what other classifieds sites do, the Metrekare team asked themselves what key criteria a home searcher relies on when initiating their property search. Their discovery was that the two key criteria are a property’s location and price. While other factors like the number of rooms and square footage are important, home searchers are more flexible on these attributes. Metrekare’s decision to display search results on a map together with the home’s corresponding price is exactly in line with this thought process.

New features designed to give users an even smoother experience are being developed as we speak. I’m confident that these additional features will continue to delight home searchers until Metrekare becomes Turkey’s real estate search portal of choice.

Even if you’re currently not looking for a home, I encourage you to take a look at Metrekare’s web, smartphone, and iPad applications. They are great examples of how a first principles based approach can produce a great user experience.