10 Rules for Web Startups, by Evan Williams (from an AddThis designer’s perspective)

#3: Be Casual
We’re moving into what I call the era of the “Casual Web” (and casual content creation). This is much bigger than the hobbyist web or the professional web. Why? Because people have lives. And now, people with lives also have broadband. If you want to hit the really big home runs, create services that fit in with—and, indeed, help—people’s everyday lives without requiring lots of commitment or identity change. Flickr enables personal publishing among millions of folks who would never consider themselves personal publishers—they’re just sharing pictures with friends and family, a casual activity. Casual games are huge. Skype enables casual conversations.

Nice blog post by Evan Williams. Rule #3 seemed to stick with me, since I’ve been reflecting on AddThis’s design and experience.

It’ll be interesting to see how the “casual” theme plays out with AddThis and the world of sharing. It makes me think about how people really share content.

For example, I was moved when I read a blog recently that talked about “Killing ShareThis”. The blogger definitely didn’t like ShareThis (one of our competitors), nor did any of his readers. In short, the comments following the blog revolve around how sharing widgets seem impersonal and turned them off. I couldn’t help myself from agreeing… sharing, in general, could be a better experience. Which brings me to…

#6: Be Self-Centered
Great products almost always come from someone scratching their own itch. Create something you want to exist in the world. Be a user of your own product. Hire people who are users of your product. Make it better based on your own desires. (But don’t trick yourself into thinking you are your user, when it comes to usability.) Another aspect of this is to not get seduced into doing deals with big companies at the expense or your users or at the expense of making your product better. When you’re small and they’re big, it’s hard to say no, but see #4.

This year, I hope to bring a little warmth to the world of sharing… to empower people to connect with their friends in meaningful ways, make new friends with similar interests, and give influences real web presence.

I’ve got a great feeling about this year, and I’m really looking forward to exploring the possibilities.

Hat Tip: Jim Lane. Great find!