The problem with Plex is the problem with Twitter is the problem with Microsoft…

I’m not going to mention much about Plex’s failing of the past couple of weeks, actual end user side it’s fixed. This would be cheap clickbait and you know what happened and have a strong opinion it appears, and people just want to fight. I could make a couple of bucks on advertising and impressions, but that’s for the other sites to do “6 reasons your favorite thing is terrible.” and “that movie you loved as a kid is the most overrated thing ever

TTL;DR;DR – people like what they liked and quite often want the option to not change.
TL;DR – what worked for you when you joined or purchased is gone or has changed. You probably need to adapt, but so do the providers.

This morning I observed that Twitter and Plex seem to be on the same path. Not the potential purchase by a billionaire who could singlehandedly end suffering and strife on a massive level, but that they’re trying to mess with something that worked nearly perfectly from a user perspective at the time they joined.

Things change. This screws with the older adopters. It really doesn’t have to however and it’s not just the user’s needing to get over it like the Great Fark redesign of 2007.

Twitter: 144 characters, top of its game, users want an edit feature
Give them a weird featured timeline with no way to change it
Users want an edit feature and timeline back
Give them the ability to change from featured to a temporary timeline that goes back to featured after a few uses
Users want an edit feature and timeline to stick
Give them 288 characters!
Users want an edit feature and timeline to stick
Curated news recommendations
Users want an edit feature
NFT profile pictures! Twitter Blue! Moar the Advertising! Etc!
Users want an edit feature

Plex: Media server that organizes your media, works absolutely flawlessly, top of its game. Plex pass sold for DVR and usage. The business model is pay for client/accessing your server and using it as a DVR. This is my entry point and where I consider Plex to be almost perfect.
Add a few features, break the DVR functionality (which is what I used)
Users want the DVR fixed, most don’t care about the new features.
Fix bugs in features, DVR still broken.
Users want the DVR fixed, most don’t care about the new features.
DVR fixed (whoo hoo,)
Plex Streaming service is introduced and added to Plex by default as opposed to opt in (if I remember correctly, correct me if I’m wrong here) – suddenly we’re presented with a wide set of stuff that is not curated by operator, age restriction and managed accounts have to happen for some parents at this point. If you’re like many you just removed the Plex Streaming option as selectable and once again were in control of your own media.
Users want the ability to not be opted in

Plex managed account

Discovery introduced, it’s a freaking great feature but you know all the bugs that ended up with that. And we’re here today.

Office/Microsoft
Users have learned and are comfortable with it
Microsoft: let’s move this here and that there and break this and say it’s a feature
Repeat

Here’s the thing though. I’m not criticizing any of these companies on where they moved their focus. Plex wants to push their advertising cash cow streaming service and be your one stop shop for all medias on all platforms. Twitter wants to get you into a pay model but can’t figure out how to so they keep changing things on you. Office wants to sell you more books on how to use office that functionally hasn’t changed in 17 years.

These are not the services and apps that they were when they started. The focus has shifted from the original user and use case – Plex wants to be a one stop destination for everything (great plan, don’t get me wrong,) Twitter wants to reinvent itself into something that will remain relevant while still screwing with its user base on the edit function. Microsoft thinks it got it wrong so it gets it wrong and slaps new paint on an old pig.

Really, don’t read that as me standing on a soapbox and judging. This is my observation. All were at the top of their game, shifted focus, and now for some of the early adopters it feels like they’ve been abandoned, ignored, or used.

Plex could mitigate issues this with a slider to not change anything unless opted in, adopt a policy similar. Twitter could as well. Being in IT I get to hear about how frustrated people are that every version of Outlook somehow is the absolute worst thing ever because something changed.

Your old user base who’s still using may not want change, and for the most part there’s nothing that *has* to change for them in the Plex or Twitter worlds. Same with Office/Outlook. Give users an option to remain in their comfort zone and you see fewer outraged users.

As a user can you always remain in your comfort zone on these services? Maybe not, but I think at least with Plex the option for people who have paid to not be part of a forced client beta might keep the early adopters happier and the user base maintained as opposed to flocking to other services. Releasing client updates that cannot be rolled back that defeat the functionality they claim to provide is just counter productive. Toggle switch. Bam.

Similar scenario with MS – they’ve paid, provide security updates without moving where the options are again and again and again. You’ll see significantly less dislike if you give people the option to enter this decade but don’t force them.

My lawn, get off it.

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Paul E King

Paul King started with GoodAndEVO in 2011, which merged with Pocketables, and as of 2018 he's evidently the owner. He lives in Nashville, works at a film production company, is married with two kids. Facebook | Twitter | Donate | More posts by Paul | Subscribe to Paul's posts