I took the GRE's in December and although as it turns out I probably won't need the test results, the test preparation and its unique scoring equation were useful. The test uses a computer adaptive formula for scoring, a useful interdisciplinary tool. Almost a spin-off on the first impression cliche, I think it can be applied to social capital, user interfaces and probably marketing forecasts.
I think the least a web design can do without the presence of a middleman is take into account these scoring principles for their introduction interface. I mean you can marvel at the genious staff at Google, their decentralized work ethic, their extensive searching abilities but when it comes down to their success over rivals yahoo, msn or ask jeeves, you can't beat their simplicity. You can't beat how well they cater to people who are annoyed with computers even before turning them on.
Ask Jeeves seems to have caught on but not as well as Google. Powerful, selective coloring with a white interface desert surrounding it, leaving the user in a pleasant state knowing there aren't myriad opportunities for confusion all along the side panels.
This introduction interface serves as question number one on the GRE. Google gets it right thus receives an extra allotment of attention from their users that drives them to continue use with Google. Conversely those that visit Yahoo! and MSN have to transcend an exertion of energy net that many technology laggards refuse to go through more than a couple of times.
So simple an equation that its complex. I wish I had statistics for how applicable this is with tech start-ups. I would think that for start ups aiming to cross the early majority-->late majority chasm, this formula would be especially pertinent.