Steve Blank with a fantastic piece on the Silicon Valley tech bubble. I’d actually go a step farther: I’d argue that Silicon Valley isn’t just insulated from the realities of middle-class likely; I’d argue that it’s also out of touch with other upper-class urban centers. I think Twitter is a fantastic example of this: it was always incredibly popular in Silicon Valley, but I’m skeptical that it ever truly took off outside of the Bay Area (this is pure speculation and based on anecdotal evidence, fwiw). So startup bros and VC jockeys thought that Twitter was the way of the future (see: past valuations), while no one else really got it.
Even if your goal is, one day, to beat Facebook, you can’t start by taking them on head first. You have to go after a solid niche and grow from there. Ello didn’t, and they’re failing. Josh Constine:
Here’s the problem. Beating Facebook at its own game is like punching a wall 1.35 billion bricks thick. The network effect of its critical mass means you can’t usurp it by being a little better. The only social apps to really succeed since its launch have tried to go around Facebook’s wall by being different.
Twitter – focuses on public content, not privacy
Instagram – stripped out everything but photos for an easy, breezy, beautiful browsing experience built mobile-first
Snapchat – made its content disappear, a refreshing alternative to Facebook and its Timeline where everything you say lives forever
Meanwhile, those that failed didn’t differentiate *cough* Google+ *cough*
Not having ads did not qualify Ello as functionally different. So as soon as people realized they could either post to their few smug friends who joined Ello, or everyone they know on Facebook, they dropped Ello on its face.
Also, I hate their interface. It’s too minimalist: I can’t figure out where the sidebar starts and the main content begins. I also can’t figure out which images are inanimate objects and which images are buttons.
Apple is the only technology company that inspires its own fan fiction. No story spreads like wildfire on Twitter quite like stories about Twitter itself. And high-profile leaks to the press are almost always serving someone’s interest. This is important to remember when you read articles like “Apple Officials Said to Consider Stake in Twitter,” published in The New York Times last night and reliably circulated on social media and picked up (sometimes with a question mark) on blog after blog.
Mathew Ingram warns that, if Twitter continues on its current trend of alienating users and developers, it could follow MySpace and Digg into oblivion.
And there is a very real risk to this kind of aggressive focus on control and monetization, as a commenter on Hacker News pointed out: restricting the ways that users can access and display their tweets, whether through strict API rules or moves like the LinkedIn shutdown, could irritate the user base that Twitter is relying on to click ads and do all the other things it is planning around monetization. Ultimately, the company could ruin the experience that made Twitter so compelling in the first place, in the same way that MySpace and Digg did.
It’s called the “Twitter curse,” where the number of tweets about a contestant has an odd way of predicting that contestant’s likelihood of being voted off the show. Sure enough, as you can see in the graphic below, Lauren Alaina received significantly more tweets than Scotty McCreery leading up to tonight’s finale.