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Adam's Blog

The founder of Smart & Slick talks about...
whatever enters his head

Did Chat GPT Just Kill SEO?

a computer screen with a text description on it

Certain factions of the SEO community are up in arms lately since the public launch of AI chatbot ChatGPT over concerns that SEO might be dead.

Now, just for the record, it isn’t the first time SEO has been said to be dead. I don’t even think it’s the hundredth. Every time Google makes a major change to its search engine, this question starts hitting the trade headlines all over again.

So what’s different now?

Well… a lot. This time it’s not about Google. This time it’s about a brand new technology: Chat GPT.

If you don’t know what that is, Chat GPT is an AI ChatBot. It’s a computer program that you can talk to like a person. It knows almost everything and it can give you faster answers to a lot of things than a Google search would. Additionally, it can do things like fix programming code and answer questions that Google wouldn’t be able to. It does appear to be genuinely intelligent.

This technology is called generative AI and it’s likely to unseat Google as the first place to go for certain types of queries.

How does this impact on SEO?

Well, it makes sense that if you can ask a chatbot a question and get a direct answer, you have no need to go to Google and ask the question, be referred to a web page and trawl through it to find the answer. You just don’t need to. So searching for information on Google is likely to become a lot less popular in the coming years.

So, many of the 600 million blogs across the globe that have been monetised only by showing display ads like those offered by Google Adsense, are likely to be in trouble. Because without free traffic referred by Google’s organic search results, these blogs aren’t likely to make much or any money.

For now, I think that’s likely to be the vast majority of the change. A lot less blogging for cash. And a fundamental change in the way people use technology to solve their problems.

In years gone by, Google Search was most people’s first port of call for literally any type of online query and that situation has changed. People now have multiple choices depending on the type of query they have, and Chat GPT appears to be just another possible option. There are some things it will be better suited to than Google Search and other things it simply won’t. And this isn’t necessarily the stark change some people think it is.

Google has reported that in recent years they’ve noticed other major web properties such as Instagram eating into the market share of their core product. It seems that Gen Z go shopping on Instagram while millennials like me would much prefer to use Google to find somewhere to buy a product or service.

The next major shift now, will, it seems, be a change in the way people search for answers to questions. Google is no longer the best possible technology to help them find answers.

But, let’s face it – Google hasn’t been particularly good at this for a while. And all of those websites out there that people ended up on, trying to find the answers to their questions, were never the best place to find that information either.


Because if you’re a blogger or some other type of content publisher, your objective is to get free organic traffic from Google search and other search engines, and then redirect it to an advertiser, for a small fee, when all your reader really wanted to do was find the answer to a question. In that regard, your goal and your visitor’s goal were not the same. As the publisher, you didn’t actually care if they found the answer. In fact, it might be better for you if they didn’t and there was equally no incentive for you to write content that anybody really wanted to read. Because once they were on your website, your goal was to get them to click one of your ads and leave. Good riveting content was actually counter-productive. This never seemed like a good business model to me.

So while bloggers may now be complaining that they’re losing traffic, the situation for users is actually getting better. Did any of us ever want to have to to trawl through lines of text between ads to try to find the information we wanted? I think not.

So Is SEO Dead?

I don’t think so. Google Search will remain the best option for a lot of types of online queries. And, it’s possible it will remain the most accessible option for all kinds of online queries.

Let me explain.

While we’ve established that Chat GPT is better at certain types of queries than Google is, how does Chat GPT benefit from that? Currently it doesn’t. It’s free.

Sooner or later, they’ll make an attempt to monetise it, though what that might look like, I’m not currently sure. I feel like ads would damage the core product. And a subscription (which I think has already been announced for business users) will deter a lot of people when Google is free.

If they decide to charge for it, which currently seems like the only possibility if they don’t serve ads, even though it’s better at some things than Google, Google will remain more accessible.

So SEO will continue to work for queries where Google Search remains the best technology to use. And it could be that it continues to work for bloggers in the longer run, if it turns out that Google remains the most accessible technology to use.

In other words, until we know the long term plans of OpenAI, it’s hard to say what the impact will be. But we can say that SEO is not dead.

Why Should You Hire A Web Design Agency if You Can Build Your Own Website For Free?

silver MacBook Air on table near iMac

I get this question a lot, incidentally, normally delivered in a cocky tone. And typically, I don’t take these people on as clients at the web design agency.

Yes, there are free website building tools out there and yes you can build your own website in much the same way as you could cut your own hair, file your own tax return, or even do your own legal work. But for most people, it wouldn’t be advisable.

A Web Design Agency Gives You Professionalism

At Smart & Slick, we pride ourselves on professionalism. And I’m not just talking about professional web design, although being able to create almost any design or feature we or our clients can think of is certainly a very solid plus point.

But professionalism goes much further than that. Because like we say all the time, you don’t really want a website – no business does. You just want to sell more. And it so happens that in this day and age, having your own website provides you with a way of doing that, when it’s done right.

It’s not about the website – it’s the content of the website that matters. And that’s what we spend most of our time creating.

Professionalism as a web design agency is about possessing and utilising a range of different skill sets. Graphic design is one of them. Coding is one of them. But also, understanding marketing, copywriting, SEO, our clients businesses AND the people they’re trying to sell to.

Because unless we know ALL of that, we can’t help you with what you REALLY want, which is to look good to your audience, communicate competence and value to them, and ultimately sell more stuff.

Increasingly, your website is likely to be the first point of contact between your business and any prospective customer. This is true because it’s still the most easily accessible marketing asset available to you. This means that for most of your prospects, your website IS your first impression. And as the old saying goes, you’ll never get a second chance to make a first impression.

So when prospects visit your website, they’re JUDGING you. They judge you on how smart your website looks and how slick it is to use. That is literally why we’re called Smart & Slick.

The free website design services can provide you a code-free way of creating a website, but there will always be limitations of the tool, they cannot teach you how best to use it, they cannot teach you design, they cannot teach you all of the skills we’ve spent decades learning.

And when you hire us, all of our years of learning and practising what we do means that we can create really high quality websites THAT SELL.


I think the other major reason why hiring a web design agency like us is essential is for the support. We build robust websites and one of our guarantees is that your website will never break, ever. But in the event anything did ever go wrong, you can sleep easy, knowing that we’ll be able to fix it for you.

We Save You Time

Whether you can build a website yourself or not, SHOULD you? Running a business is difficult. It’s an all consuming endeavour and there are many, many things to get done. As the person running the business, is your time best spent by building marketing materials? Or should you spend more time on servicing clients and drumming up business, as well as all the other business admin that needs doing.

Your Web Presence Is Handled

In software engineering there is a concept called the Single Responsibility Principle. What it means is that any function (a bit of code that does something) should only do one thing. That way, if it breaks for any reason, only one thing is broken and it should be fairly easy to identify what’s wrong and how to fix it.

Since learning about this, I’ve taken it to heart and applied it to my whole life and business. One person cannot be in charge of everything. It’s unsustainable and impossible.

We Ranked!

we ranked! let's celebrate

Today is a huge day for us here at Smart & Slick because our website finally ranked in Google for the term “web design agency”. We have yet to achieve the kind of search engine rankings that are going to lead to a sharp uptick in enquiries and work. We’re not even ranked in the top 100 yet, but we are ranked. We are on the map. And it may sound like I’m disproportionately excited about that given that I can’t order a new car, but it is vitally important. Because it means Smart & Slick, as a company, is on the map in the field of web design. We have a starting point. We are no longer blindly poking around in the dark. We’ve learned something about the size of the challenge involved in getting onto the first page and then being able to order a new car (or more likely hire a couple of new developers).

It is also a testament to the faith that every entrepreneur has to have in order to embark on such mad endeavour as deciding to build a business: that effort will eventually get you results.

In Feb 2021, when I first started Smart & Slick, I knew that getting any seriously good Google rankings for any computing or IT related terms would be tough. There are a million and one people in their bedrooms calling themselves web design agencies or digital agencies or whatever. They all have websites. That’s a lot of websites. And back in February 2021, they had all been around longer than me. How would I ever compete?

It was scary. I’d quit a well paid job to pursue building my own business and if I failed there would be a large repetitional cost to that. Having quit my job also meant this wasn’t really a problem I’d be able to just throw money at until it was solved. I was taking the “do everything yourself” approach because I couldn’t afford to spend money speculatively AND put food on the table.

But I made a plan. I’ve posted on this blog fairly regularly. I’ve written good solid content on a fairly regular basis and over time, it has built up. As the months have passed, the website has increased in size. Until now, one unassuming day when I really wasn’t expecting anything, I realise that we’ve ranked.

The work paid off. And it wasn’t heavy work. I didn’t obsess about it for the last 18 months. I had faith that it was something that would happen eventually. I just made an effort to write a blog article every day or every couple of days and then eventually just whenever I had an idea for a blog. And over time, these small but consistent efforts have lead to a result.

It reminds me of Andy Dufresne in The Shawshank Redemption (spoilers, if you haven’t seen it I recommend you stop reading right now and go watch it, then come back). Andy Dufresne, an accountant, was found guilty of murdering his wife (which he didn’t do). This cruel twist of fate landed him in prison for essentially the rest of his life. Did Andy give up? No. I’m gonna try not to blow the ending, but if you’ve seen it you’ll know what I mean when I say small consistent efforts of a very long period of time lead to him eventually getting out.

It always makes me laugh. The shot of him crawling through a sewage pipe can sometimes seem like the perfect metaphor for build a business. You’ve got to be prepared for that.

So from this point forward for me, the rest of the journey to the coveted Google page 1 will be faster. Because we know where we are. And we know where we’re going. In a year I’ll be on page 1. I promise.

Why Your Website Impacts Your Credibility As A Business

baby under purple blanket

This morning, I finally got around to doing something I’ve wanted to do for the last 3 months: open a bank account and investment account for my son. I consider it a father’s duty to give him the best head start he can have in life. And secondly, if I’m smart today, in 18 years, his university fees might pay themselves, should he choose to go.

I found myself on the website of prominent UK financial institution, a FTSE 100 company even. But when I tried to use their online registration (because that’s supposed to be the fastest and easiest way to sign up for anything nowadays), their form did not work as either I expected, or I would think they wanted it to.

I ended up having to call.

I couldn’t help wondering how this kind of thing could happen to a FTSE 100 company? In my opinion, if you start getting phone calls telling you parts of your website don’t work, you need to think about whether you continue doing business with whomever looks after that for you.

During the phone call, I was asked many things, including to try a different browser. They also told me on the phone that their website worked best with Microsoft Edge. Once again, I have to wonder who maintains their website because they obviously haven’t spent much (and by ‘much’ I mean ‘any’) time on cross-browser compatibility. Google Chrome is the most popular browser in the world today and to have a website that doesn’t function properly when using Google Chrome, is, in my view, simply not acceptable.

Your business’s website is the first contact many of your customers and would-be customers will have with your business. They’re going to base their first impression of your business (and of you) on your website. That’s why it needs to be tip top. That’s why it needs to work on every browser and device there is. Because your business’s website is the primary trust indicator of your business in the 21st century. It’s worth spending a bit of money on and getting a website with design you can be proud of and robust functionality that never lets you down.

What did I do about my son’s investment account? In this case, there isn’t another company that offers the kind of account I want. So I will have to stick with this company and do whatever it takes to open the account. But that is not a common problem. Normally, it’s much easier to just go elsewhere.

How To Focus: My Framework For Avoiding Distractions & Getting Things Done

focus dictionary index page

For as long as I can remember, I’ve always found focus a challenge. I suppose it’s one of the symptoms of being a bit of a big kid.

It’s a big wide world out there and there’s so much to learn and do. Of course, as I’ve got older, I’ve realised (sometimes more slowly than I’d like) that any worthwhile goal requires considerable commitment if it is to be achieved. As such, it came to my attention (briefly 🙂 ) that the ability to focus would be incredibly important if I was ever going to create anything really good. So here’s the framework I’ve developed over the years to try and stay on track.

Accept That There Will Never Be Enough Time

There is never going to be enough time for everything. If you haven’t got there yet, at some point in your thirties, you will probably realise that life is incredibly short. There’s never going to be enough time to do everything you want to do. There are at least two reasons why this is.

First, there is simply too much I’d like to do. Because of the Internet we’re all aware of a lot more of what the world has to offer than we ever used to be. Which means it doesn’t take long to populate a list of things we’d like to do.

And second, I don’t even have full control over all the time that I do have. (My wife does! HAHA!) No, but seriously – a good fraction of my time will be spent sleeping, hanging out with my wife, attending to life etc.

So as you realise that the demands on time are far too high, and the actual amount of available time is very small, it quickly becomes apparent that it’s important to be really careful what you do with your time.

Reduce Your Goal List

Following from that stark realisation, it becomes important to reduce the goal list down to things that really matter. I’ve found that I can do this with a couple of incredibly reductive questions.

For any given goal, I ask myself:

Fast-forward fifty years – if you never did it, how bad do you feel about that?

This question has magic powers. For some goals, I’ll get a stab of anxiety in my chest. That’s typically a sign there there’s something about this goal I need to pursue. It is somehow connected to my reason for being.

And on the other hand, there are other goals where I feel nothing. Those are things I probably just like the idea of but are not really that necessary to me.

You spend 5 years trying to reach this goal and failed – how do you feel?

The rationale here is to establish whether a failed attempt at achieving the goal is wasted time. I’ve spoken to a surprisingly large number of people who say they have a dream but won’t try to get it because “What if I spend years trying and don’t get it?”

Any sort of attempt to achieve any type of goal in any part of life must come with an accepted degree of speculation. It is always a gamble. You put in time, money and effort (and most often, blood, sweat and tears), and no matter how hard you try, there are going to be some things that just aren’t to be.

If your response to failure is going to be, “Well I could have been doing something else!!” then the goal was probably never for you in the first place.

There are things I have done that I wouldn’t particularly categorise as successes, but I’m still very glad I did them. I’ve learned valuable skills and lessons along the way. And I know as fact, that if I hadn’t tried, I’d still be wondering “What if?”


I have found these two questions to be incredibly effective at helping me realise what is important to me: the things I’ll be proud I did, even if I fail.

Make Time For Important Things

Now that I know what’s important to me, I need to make time for those things. Time management tools like Calynda (still in beta at time of writing) are very important for this.

I think we all know on some level that we need to make time for the things we want in our lives. Whenever I’m in conversation with anybody and they tell me they “don’t have time” for this, that or the other, I instantly translate it to “that is not important to me”, because if it was, they’d make time.

Know Why Each Thing Is Important

Ask yourself why things are important. The answer to this can be deep. But knowing why something is important to you helps you to prioritise goals during hard times. If time isn’t short enough as it is, there are going to be times when it’s even shorter. And the shorter time gets, the more important it becomes to spend it wisely.

So for example, if you experience cash flow issues, business goals are likely to take priority over leisure goals. Because at that time, money is what is required most urgently.

If you’re burning out from work, leisure goals need to take priority.

What if you experience cash flow issues and are burnt out? God help you. That’s a tough situation.

Ask The Final Question

When planning days and weeks, there is one question that always saves me when I don’t know what to do.

What is the single most impactful thing I could do now that would bring me closer to my goal?

Regardless of the goal or the area of life, this question helps is my ultimate focus tool. I can – or should – only do one thing at a time. So what should it be?

Naturally, you can alter the question to suit your time period, by replacing ‘now’ with ‘today’ or ‘this week’ or ‘this month’.

Entrepreneurship: Do you REALLY need to find your passion?

Do Something Great neon sign

I’m about to put across a controversial and probably unpopular viewpoint.

I surf the same Internet as everybody else. And there are few ideas more actively embraced on the Internet than the idea that passion is the most important ingredient in any entrepreneurial venture.

First of all, it depends what one means by passion. And definitions may differ. But I think we can all agree it has something to do with liking the thing that we’re doing. We could go even bigger and say that it has to do with being part of an industry that we feel is important and a force for good in the world.

I had a mentor a number of years ago who defined passion as something that feeds your soul. It’s something you have an almost spiritual relationship with. It most certainly is not just something you do for money.

For example, am I, as the owner and manager of a digital marketing agency, passionate about web development and marketing? I’d say yes, I am. However there are other things I’m passionate about too. So why is it that I’m running a digital agency instead of pursuing one of my other passions?

Because I have come to believe that there is one element of any entrepreneurial venture that is considerably more important and deterministic of success than whether you’re passionate about the industry or field.

There is one factor that must be considered that will make or break a business venture and no amount of passion can compensate for a lack of this thing.

Do you know what it is?

There has to be a market for what you’re selling. That is non-negotiable. What do I mean by “a market”? There has to be demand. There have to be thousands and thousands of people – with money – who are willing to pay for whatever products or services you are offering.

If I can elaborate on that slightly and qualify it further, if you’re a solo entrepreneur and you’re looking to start your first business, the mere existence of a market may not be enough. Let’s look at 3 situations.

Passion + No Market = Fail

You could tattoo “I love hairdressing” across your forehead. But if you happen to live in a community of bald people, it isn’t going to make any difference. There isn’t going to be any hair to cut.

Do not overlook this. Do not be seduced into believing that you can make any business venture succeed if you are prepared to work hard enough on it. The Internet is brimming with so-called gurus who want you to believe that so that you’ll buy their ‘How To Start A Business’ courses.

Hard work is very important, but if there isn’t a considerable demand for what you’re selling, you won’t sell much of it. And that has nothing directly to do with your skills, traits or character.

Passion + Mature Market = Fail

The other common situation is when there clearly is a market but it’s already well serviced by very well established competitors.

Once upon a time, I tried to start an entertainment blog because I’ve always been interested in movies and TV. Guess what? It didn’t work. It’s a huge market. But it’s quite well services by several huge and very well established (and very deep pocketed) competitors. Plus, the work load was enormous and impractical for a single entrepreneur.

Passion + New and/or Growing Market = Potential Win

Companies like Google and Amazon started out in new markets that were forecasted to grow.

Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon, was working on Wall Street in the early 90s when he read an analyst report that said internet use had increased 2300% in the last 12 months. It was enough to make him quit his job at the hedge fund and move his family across the country to California to start a little company called Amazon.

Amazon’s growth has since largely mirrored the increase in Internet use throughout America and across the world.

Passion + Dynamic Market = Potential Win

If your market is growing, or constantly turning over, this ensures a few things: there will always be new clients. The ultimate need is unquenchable. For example, estate agents.

On average, British citizens move house 8 times over the course of their lives. That equates to roughly once every 10 years.


I made the decision to start a digital agency because the demand for web design and development, for PR services, for SEO and copywriting is huge. These are also all fields that I’ve got considerable experience of.

Notice – there is no set of circumstances where the win is guaranteed.

Who’s The Daddy?

person touching stomach

So, big news! I’m going to be a father! Yes, me and the wife have been busy collaborating on a new project. I suppose that’s what happens during 18 months in lockdown. What else was there to do? You know what I mean? How much TV can a man watch?

But all joking aside, it’s an odd thing to imagine that right now, inside my wife, there is a little human growing! A human that will, around December, be part of this world. A human whom my wife and I – who feel like we’re still children ourselves(!) – will be fully responsible for. A human whose life we will shape. And a human who in about 13-15 years will stink and tell us they hate us.

I know that I’ve been somewhat of a late bloomer at most of this ‘life’ stuff and many of my contemporaries at school and university went through this years ago, but it’s absolutely terrifying and yet I’m really looking forward to it. It’s a very strange feeling to explain and either the English language, or my command of it, are failing me.

The closest word I can think of to describe how I feel about it is…. honoured.

Excitement feels quite shallow. We get excited about going to a concert or Line of Duty. This feeling is deeper and somehow transcendent, bordering on spiritual.

We already know it’s going to be a boy. And we’ve already named him. I tell you – you know you’re a nerd when choosing baby names requires GoDaddy to see if the domain name is available.

So that’s my big news. My wife is pregnant. Which means I’m in trouble for everything now.

I’ll have absolutely no idea what on Earth I’ve done wrong. And even if I’m lucky enough to get that information from her, there will be no explanation at all for why it was so offensive.

Random example – She declared Jihad on a blue glass. No reason given. She just didn’t like it. And I mean really REALLY REALLY didn’t like it. It had to be banished to a cupboard where it remains to this day.

But you know what – I know it’s not her fault. I know that it’s all hormones. And to be honest, having witnessed the first trimester of pregnancy first hand, I have to say, I don’t think maternity leave is long enough. I think it should start much earlier. How does anybody effectively work a job while going through all of that? I think it’s asking a lot.

There seems to be a modern way of saying “we” are pregnant rather than “my wife is pregnant”. And since the Internet seems to get its knickers in a twist on a regular basis about semantics, I’m going to say that I think “we are pregnant” is not very fair. Why should I get credit for something my wife is doing? Yes, I’ve done more housework in the past few months than ever before in my life and modern parenting is definitely a group activity, but “we are pregnant” just doesn’t seem fair to me. House work is a small price to pay for a son.

So here’s a public thank you to my wife and incubator, and just to say you’ve done a great job so far. We’re on the home straight!

How Do You Stay Connected As a Tech Head?

black laptop computer turned on on table

Since retraining and becoming a full time software developer, I have noticed changes both in myself and in those around me.

One of the things I love the most about being a developer, other than it being a sweet spot where art and engineering regularly cross paths, is that there is a little victory in some form or other, almost every day. Every day, something exists by the evening that didn’t exist in the morning. And I love that.

But one of the negative things I’ve noticed is my ability to connect with those around me – who are not in tech – has dwindled. Like my wife.

When my wife asks the seemingly innocuous question, “How was work today?” she is not equipped for, or for that matter expecting, a long explanation finely detailing why a function won’t work. She doesn’t deal well with abstract concepts. And software is very abstract.

What makes it worse is when I’m working on a very niche project, like, right now, SEO software, which will form a big part of the Smart & Slick back end when we begin offering SEO services hopefully in the near future.

This not only requires an understanding of software development but also a deep understanding of what SEO is and how it works. So naturally, the distance between me and her… (and everybody else) gets even bigger.

And when somebody, perhaps to be polite, says I should try and explain it, they are not prepared for the ensuing 30 minute lecture that begins by explaining, in crude terms, how a search engine works.

I have now taken to simply referring to it as ‘nerdy stuff’. Which, in essence, is another way of saying that we just don’t talk about it. Because we can’t. And in some ways that’s a problem because coding is currently a pretty big part of my life.

I’m interested to know how others connect with their friends and family about work?

The Morning Ritual That Makes Me More Productive

trees under cloudy sky during sunset

Over the years I’ve tried a number of approaches to mornings to try and be more productive. I’ve tried getting up at the crack of dawn. Having green tea. Not having green tea. Exercise. Skinny dipping. Everything. Most of it did little more than make me feel like a prat. And worse, a tired prat.

But after much experimentation, I’ve finally cracked it. I’ve figured out a morning ritual that actually works!

It’s called sleep! That’s right. To hell with waking up earlier and trying to start every morning with a workout, a smoothie and a smug and braggy social media status.

Like you, I have been shamed by the dozens of articles online that tell us that all successful people get up at the crack of dawn and do more before 9am than most will do all day. Screw ’em. It doesn’t work.

When I pull myself out of my lovely warm bed at 5:30am, it guarantees one thing: by 4pm I’ll be so tired I’m barely able to support my own head. So I haven’t actually lengthened the day. It just starts earlier and then finishes earlier. How does that help anybody be more productive?

In much the same vein as Rihanna records and lactose, me and mornings just don’t get on. We never have. And, by my age, I don’t expect we ever will. So it doesn’t make sense to continue pursuing a strategy that yields so little in terms of results. Whether it works for Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos is of little relevance if it simply will not work for me.

So unless I have an appointment, I rarely rise before 10:30. That way, when I do get up, my brain is online and working. And when I sit down at my desk, tasks tend to get done very quickly. And I often work long beyond 6pm. I also regularly put hours in on Saturdays and Sundays.

And that’s my method. And it works. But not every day. Because some days, let’s be honest, it’s just not happening. Some days, for whatever reason – I’m not in flow state or whatever – work is a drag, even if the project is fun. And on those days, if there are no deadlines looming, I give myself permission to finish early because it doesn’t make sense to keep pushing at a task when it’s not coming easy, if completion is not imminently vital.

This means that some days are short and some days are very long. But I’ll bet that the overall rate of progress in a week is roughly the same as it would be if I forced myself to work 8 full hours, 5 days a week.

And this approach is in line with the Smart & Slick philosophy: Do what works. Do what gets results. Play to your own strengths and rhythms. And realise that what works for one person or client, might not be the best approach for another. There isn’t always a one-size-fits-all solution to a problem.

Whatever your current challenge, do what works for you.

First Thoughts: Netflix’s New ‘Play Something’ Feature

black flat screen tv turned on displaying 11

Everybody knows it. The biggest problem with Netflix is that you go on there to watch something but find yourself scrolling for 20+ minutes deliberating over exactly what to watch before eventually either turning it off, or taking the plunge with something you’re not particularly convinced of.

As somebody who would like to one day start a streaming service (or at least work for one), there is a page in one of my notebooks titled ‘Problems with Netflix’. This was naturally top of the list. Though, there are others.

Netflix’s currently proposed solution is the ‘Play Something’ button which is similar to Google’s ‘I’m Feeling Lucky’ button. It just plays something.

When I first saw it yesterday evening, the wife and I tried it.

We have a Samsung Smart TV with a Netflix button on the remote. When we turn on the TV, it streams ‘normal telly’, which sometimes wins over any deliberate streaming.

For people in their 30s, we grew up with a very different TV experience to the current offering. You could just switch it on and watch whatever is coming, from whatever point it had reached at the point when you switched it on. Some of my best ever viewing experiences weirdly happened this way.

The On Demand generation will never know the feeling of turning something on at ‘a good bit’ and watching whatever is left of a movie or TV show secretly wishing we were able to see it from the beginning.

What has this trip down memory lane got to do with Netflix and the Play Something feature? Well… I assume they’re trying to morph into something that’s closer to traditional television than the infinite menu of options they currently present.

And I think that probably means NOT playing shows from the very beginning.

They want to start at the first ‘good bit’. Being Netflix, I’m sure they’re drowning in data that can tell them where the first good bit is.

I think it comes down to emotional state.

When I find myself endlessly scrolling, I suspect it’s because a thumbnail poster and a title are not enough information to get me to make a decision. The graphics and title cannot make me a promise that I believe in. And trailers are advertising and I’m sick of being advertised to. This, incidentally, is another thing I HATE about Netflix – it just plays trailers at you if you stop scrolling for longer than a second.

Will this feature take off? I personally don’t think so. As far as I can see, Netflix’s biggest problem is too much choice. And most of it is rubbish. Surprisingly, in all the years since it became popular, I’m surprised at how seemingly little Netflix has done to target content to people. Amazon, I’m pretty sure, had this down in their ecommerce store by this point.