Voyeurism and Narcissism Sell Software!

by Sally Applin

Now I have to pubish this. I ran into a Silicon Valley executive that I know today in CA and we got to talking about an application that is going well for a company he recently left– and I thought I knew the reason why. Its been a pet hypothesis of mine for years. He asked me a strange question, after I had mentioned that “Voyuerism and Narcissism Sell Software” to him. He said that it was a “good insight” and then asked if I’d published it anywhere. I said that I hadn’t.

I’ve thought about it–and talked about it since 1991: Voyeurism and Narcissism are what sells software. I designed a little Fortune Telling Parlour application for a open house night for my NYU/ITP graduate department open house. Lots of people played with it, and looked up themselves and their friends. That’s when I made the observation.

People like to look at themselves and at other people. If they can do it at the same time–then the application will succeed! Look at Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, MySpace, Skype–basically any software that allows for both looking at others and self viewing, self reading, self posting etc…will sell. Probably even “representations of self” such as Second Life and WoW also count for that. We’re on the primate ladder. We like to compare ourselves and compete.

So now I have published my idea: “Voyeurism and Narcissism Sell Software.” Update: 2014  Let’s call it “VoyNar™” or “NarVoy™.”

©1991-2014 Sally A. Applin. All rights reserved.

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