App Paralyzed: How shiny object syndrome can stop you from finding the perfect app


We often talk about how amazing it is to have apps that solve specific problems and help boost productivity. Many companies and individuals want the best tools technology has to offer to achieve these goals.

But when it comes time to choose which tool is the right tool for the job, you find yourself paralyzed to take action toward any of them because there are so many choices.

A simple online search for the best apps and tools for businesses quickly brings results like The Top 40+ Business Tools, The 75 Best Apps for Businesses, or The 21 Online Tools You Should be Using. With list upon list of “the best” apps, SaaS solutions, online tools, and programs, the problem quickly moves from which tool to use to how to sift through all the information.

Besides too many choices, we also have to consider the complexity of combining tools with each other. What if two tools are needed, but they have functions that overlap? And if you add 3, 4, or 5 tools to that mix? What then?

This is a problem more and more people face as the field of digital tools grows larger. While an expert SaaS salesperson may convince you that the product they represent is the answer, what you usually end up with is a tool you don’t know how to integrate into your existing workflow without causing chaos and confusion.

Contrary to what we may have been led to believe, more is not always better. Instead of arming you to conquer every workflow challenge and optimize operations, having too many apps and options to choose from will hold you back from getting things done.

The paradox of choice

Perhaps you recognize the title of this seminal book. In the book, The Paradox of Choice, Dr. Barry Schwartz presents studies that show the number of choices we have is increasing; and the more choices we have, the more difficult it is to make a choice and to be happy with that choice.

The more time we spend comparing the similarities and differences of a product, weighing back and forth which are the best, the more frustrated we feel. It becomes difficult to simply make a choice and move on without wondering if the choice we made was wrong. In fact, when faced with this type of situation, many people would rather not make a choice at all.

Choosing from thousands of apps

There are hundreds of thousands of apps available that offer some sort of function to help organize your workflow and boost productivity. Trying to analyze your company’s needs and goals, and then choosing apps to create a smooth system that will effectively manage those needs can leave your head spinning.

People have a tendency to give in to “shiny object syndrome” every time a new app with a must-have feature is released. This can lead to problems for companies who buy the next best thing in-app solutions, without knowing how to actually implement it into the current company infrastructure. Maybe it doesn’t fit into their company conventions, or it’s not compatible with existing systems. Or maybe it’s just a bad tool to use

Many companies find themselves stuck with a tool that isn’t a natural fit into their existing systems and they have to change their conventions and workflows around this tool just to make it work.

Don’t be afraid to change conventions

I can hear you saying, “Hey Tom, I thought you just said not to buy a tool that doesn’t fit with company conventions.” Now, for the most part, trying to add a random tool into a system that’s already working can cause confusion and a drop in productivity.

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