Even Snap CEO Evan Spiegel’s wife, model Miranda Kerr, had reservations when she first heard about Snapchat’s dramatic redesign.
“First thing she said was: ‘What are you doing?'” Spiegel recalled in an interview with CNBC on Monday.
The 28-year-old said following Kerr’s input, he wasn’t “too surprised” by the public’s tepid response, and expected the rollout to be “a little choppy.”
And choppy it was. Snapchat unveiled its redesign earlier this year, moving all Stories and messages from friends to the left side of the app, leaving the right side for content from social stars and Snap’s publishing partners.
The move was a dud with Snapchat’s users. 1.2 million users signed a petition in February, asking for the app to revert back to its classic design. Snap acknowledged its unhappy users, but kept the redesign in place. That changed following its Q1 earnings report in May, where Snap reported uninspiring user growth. Snap then decided to redesign its redesign, shifting Stories to the right side of the app.
“We learned that combining watching Stories and communicating with friends into the same place made it harder to optimize for both competing behaviors,” said Spiegel at the time.
It’s been a roller coaster ride for Snap since going public in early 2017, with the company’s share price hovering below its IPO, and Instagram, Facebook’s popular picture app, knocking off several of Snap’s best features. But Spiegel downplayed the impact of its chief rival copying its features while talking to CNBC.
“I think one of the things we have seen in technology over time is that the innovators win in the long run,” said Spiegel. “We have to stay focused, focus on our customers, and continue to deliver great innovation.”