Weird x Working = 🚀 [Signs of a successful consumer AI product]

2 min readFeb 19, 2024

a16z ‘s GP, Anish Acharya has an interesting take on what it will take for an AI consumer startup to be super successful.

Photo by Dan Parlante on Unsplash

“If it’s weird and working, it’s exactly where we want to invest…Weird products tend to win.”

“My controversial take on this is that we all know there’s a need for human connection, but I think the human part is overstated,”

“Look at the companion apps, where people are building deep relationships and friendships, and it’s text on a screen. There’s no illusion it’s not an AI, and yet the depth of relationships and engagement is super high. It’s hard for me to take anything from that other than that there’s a real connection there.” — Anish Acharya.


Extreme products win. Always!

Successful consumer products have strong “word of mouth” virality due to surprising or even unserious early use cases (e.g., Snap as “just a sexting app”). But these products often fulfill a real need that shines through in engagement and retention metrics.

By the way, here is an experiment we did — we changed the entire home screen experience of our newly launched AI product, BigIdeas — and we made it look more like ‘TikTok’ of Ideas!

And the result? Almost 4X jump in the engagement.

People expect book summary app to look and work in a certain way — we disrupted that experience as the homepage now has tiktok like feed and is superbly inspiring!

Btw: get the BigIdeas App (it’s free and offers much better experience than existing ones)!

To summarize: Weird*Working is a great way to look at consumer AI experience, but do keep in mind that what’s weird once soon has copycats and it’s important to use the ‘working’ features to go deep in customer’s lives.

What all weird AI products are you hooked on to?

View the a16z’s presentation here.