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Wordle and the genius of inaction.


After much resistance to the temptation of the phenomenon, I bit the bullet.

Wordle 221 4/6


Last time something like the Wordle phenomenon happened was with Flappy Bird. There are multiple striking similarities between the two games. Both are relatively simple products, where simplicity spills into becoming a fun challenge for users – which is opposite Silicon Valley mode.

Instead of pushing the user to take an action (by growth hacking and gamifying the shit out of a product), how about making it impossible by design to do it (e.g., easy sharing, leaderboards, notifications, …)?

The outcome is the impossible task becoming a fun challenge for the user -and overall user community, to collectively figure out how to do what they want to do. In this case, share the score and Wordle map with friends; for Flappy Bird, sharing the "Game Over" screenshot.

Simplicity can't be engineered nor predicted, however, there is genius in presenting the user with an "inaction state": an end state where the user is asked to do absolutely nothing else after they've done what they came to do.

This reminds me of a really great book I'm currently reading, by my friend Jinny Uppal – In/Action: Rethinking the Path to Results. The book tackles the inaction theme as being a different path to achieve similar (or in this case, much, much better?) results than our natural action-biased mindset.

And just like Wordle, you can find your own link.