To bad they're on the hyper-growth train now as well, but I guess their investors want to get some money back. I'd preferred seeing them grow slow and stable, because I feel that focusing solely on growth often leads to decisions not in the interest of the users.
- Find thing that gets traction and growth.
- Demand more growth than the thing you do well is providing.
- Focus not on the thing you do well....
Seems to happen time and again. I always think of the story on HN about the guy who bought back his startup from the VCs for $1 after it "failed" and he went and ran it without the same expectations, and it is doing just fine.
There are maybe just some good ideas out there that aren't meant to be unicorns, but are productive none the less but they get buried in other expectations.
I can’t imagine someone messing up Stackoverflow, but Digg managed to do it so there’s always a way (although SO doesn’t have a high quality direct competitor like Reddit...yet.). The best time to take on a business is when they’ve peaked and get distracted, they forget about being the best in the market. I should note I don’t think SO is near that point yet.
Prashanth is a grave robber trying to find a few valuables to snatch for investors.
But SO is still pretty damn useful, like Wikipedia.
I'm genuinely curious, I'm not familiar with SO besides having answered a few top questions and getting some points long ago.
Except SO for businesses could probably work quite well. I work for BIGTECHCO and the natural language query interface into institutional knowledge is very ad-hoc, being distributed amongst Slack histories, internal mailing list archives, etc. It would definitely be improved if consolidated with a decent UI.
Agree with the general point, but the guy burned 8 million dollars in investor money to get to the point where the business is "just fine". It's not really a good example IMO.
Also here is where the project started on Show HN:
Really to cool to see a Show HN and know the story years later.
SO, like Trello, took a long time to find a business model (honestly Trello never really did); it seems clear that SO Jobs didn't work, but enterprise sales is the key, just based on what they emphasized in the announcement. Using the SaaS website as a loss leader advertisement for the shrinkwrap software is an interesting model: I see it as somewhat similar to the old 'give away Unix and C free to universities, sell System V to the companies those students work at' model, modernized for the internet age.
Genius is in the same boat. A decade old, failed premise (turns out people don't actually want to annotate everything), failed expansion plans (so... back to lyrics then), no business model. At the mercy of the VCs, they'll eventually be passed around for $10m or $20m like MySpace or Tumblr.
These companies are this start-up generation's About.com (or the latest eHow).
Simple rule for anyone doing a knowledge service: if you put the profit motive over the knowledge motive (which is the only choice if you take a lot of VC), your service will end up in the dustbin of history, no exceptions.
It could disappear tomorrow and leave barely a memory.
Worse yet, the site is full of dumb answers as well.
The problem IMO is the scale of the opportunity relative to how much money is consumed.
There are great businesses at every increment of enterprise value from $5 million up to $5 billion. We just need to realize this, and stop judging greatness by the pure size of the exit.
I think Silicon Valley could learn a lot from Hollywood in so many ways. One is how we think about "greatness". Is there the equivalent of a "great indie flick" for software companies? Or will we continue to use "exit value" as the only yardstick?
: "especially Teams, where we are starting to close many huge deals and becoming a hyper-growth enterprise software company very quickly" "And we want to make it possible for knowledge workers everywhere to use Stack Overflow to get answers to the proprietary questions that are specific to their organizations and teams."
I imagine that many companies experience a sort of death spiral once they start focusing too much on profit/growth/monetization at the expense of actually catering to their users' needs.
On the other extreme, focusing too much on users and not enough on profit probably isn't a good way to remain in business for long...
Plenty of other stuff in past year or two...
(below): I shared it but no comments: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=21053475