"Yey us. :D We're super excited to announce we got acquired. High-five... too slow... Now go f* yourselves."
It's incredibly condescending to assume that any of your users share your happiness and are apart of this experience...
"We’re really excited..."
You use "we" so many times as if your users are apart of your acqui-hire, yet only mention "you" (your users who made this possible) in the closing statement.
Be honest and graceful, but asking your users for a high five on the way out isn't the way to do it.
PS. I hate posting negative comments. I'm a Brit, and like to be polite all the time....
EDIT: Call me out on this if you think I'm wrong. Other people who have read it think I'm just reading into it way too much. I tend to agree that I'm particular, and it could easily be chalked down to me being overly zealous to criticize another successful acqui-hire. :)
When you shut down the product, an acquisition is no good for the users, plain and simple. It may or may not be a personal success, but no matter what, it is the end of the vision that you and your customers shared. They were your supporters, your believers, and the lifeblood of your product, and disguising your celebration as everyone's is an indignity to them.
I sold my company and shut down my product because the right opportunity arrived at the right time. But I didn't frame it as a triumph for them. My words, from the acquisition email: "We’re excited...but it’s always bittersweet when something good comes to an end."
This pattern of acquire and shut down makes me careful of which services I invest in using. If there is no paid plan I get very nervous. If it is VC backed and free I get nervous. I'd rather support a business and help them stick around and work on their product.
One product I was very upset about was an online collaborative editor that I was gearing up to get our team to use, which was suddenly acquired by Google and shut down as they didn't want any competition to their soon to be realised collaborative editing in Google Docs.
When you're about to shutdown a service, this kind of self-congratulation is more like a middle finger to the users. A humbly apologetic post would've been a better goodwill gesture. High five each other in private.
If your favorite taco stand owner sells out to taco bell, the owner should be free to celebrate. You won't be able to get his tacos in the future, but it is not like he broke some implicit promise to always sell you tacos, nor are the tacos he sold you in the past somehow tainted now.
Shutdowns are only a problem when users make an investment in the platform.
As I understand it, Sold was a service to help you sell stuff.
Services like this are by their very nature used mostly as a once-off thing - someone wants to sell something they don't want anymore. Once it is sold then the "user" has no relationship with the Sold service.
So now people who are selling things no longer have the opportunity to use the Sold service anymore.
I think it is unfair to criticize people for choosing not to offer a service to new customers anymore.
More generally I think it is even more unfair to criticize people for closing a business that wasn't very successful (because success = profit, and if it was so profitable it wouldn't be sold to be shutdown).
Finally, aquihires are much, MUCH better than most of the alternatives for a failing business. We've all heard stories of users panicking when a service shuts down after someone fails to pay the hosting bills. Aquihires avoid that scenario.
There's people who make their entire living selling things online, and have been for at least 10-15 years (how long has eBay been around, again?)
I'm sure a lot of thought went into this, and one way or another they are going to have to announce their decision. It makes sense that they would approach this from as positive an angle as possible. I mean, what's the alternative? Are you going to announce to your users that your promises will go unfulfilled, and that they can consider themselves shafted henceforth?
Yes, this news is being spun in a positive light, but I think that's both reasonable and expected in these situations.
What do you think sounds better to users - the above, or the above + "and we're so so happy about this; high five, suckers."?
Also, companies indeed don't get acquired thoughtlessly, but I doubt any single thought went toward users. I'd be surprised if anyone thought, even for a second, that there's a Joe and a Jane out there who rely on their service. Startups have no sense of responsibility for the userbase they built nowdays.
"You're all very talented and deserve success" - To staff when you are making staff redundant and/or shutting the company.
"We're super excited we got acquired" - When you're shutting down your service and choosing to exit via acqui-hire to save face.
A catalogue of such boilerplates might be quite insightful to the people who are consuming them and at the same time could help startups out who are in dire need of copy for the right occasion.
It's really something cultural I guess but I can only feel the same way as you do.
I guess as its an acquihire maybe the vision couldn't become a reality though :(
One of the things that most appealed about Sold is that they send you a box, you put the thing in it, and that's it. For me, that's the biggest pain point.
Is that something you're looking to do?
Instead of sending a box, we automatically purchase a shipping label for your item using the shipment method of your choice (USPS, UPS, FedEx). The shipping label already has the address of the buyer and everything filled out.
All you need to do is drop off the package (we'll show you the closest shipping locations).
From there we automatically track the package and show both the buyer & seller realtime updates of the package location & delivery.
We're calling this service "ShipSimple" and it's bundled into the overarching SellSimple platform.
The ShipSimple feature will be released in version 1.4 (coming very soon).
US only I guess?
Woohoo, we got acquired.
Thanks a lot for bringing our valuation up buy trusting us. We started $service to solve a problem that matters to you. Because of that we're joining $totally_unrelated_product.
Thanks for all the fish.
"Because of that we're joining $totally_unrelated_product. And damaging the ecosystem that allowed us to get to this point."
It bears repeating that every time one of the acquire shutdowns occurs it makes users that much less willing to take a chance on a small startup. Even a shutdown like this that isn't screwing over existing users reminds everyone of the pattern.
Hmmm, maybe I should start ending this, or every message, with "Sarbox delenda est".
(Sarbox must be destroyed (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carthago_delenda_est) ; more specifically, this last nail and quite a few others need to be removed for the casket that the normal IPO was interred into.)
We started $service pretending to care about solving problem that matters to you so that we could extract from you as much money as possible quickly.
I don't believe what startups say anymore. They don't want to solve anything. They want to make something that looks like a solution for long enough that they get piles of money.
Maybe it's understandable, but I'd like they'd be more up-front about this.
But if they don't offer value to their customers, how are they going to "get piles of money" in the first place?
You're right, though, there's nothing great about it for the users.
They could have been not profitable enough, for themselves or their investors, especially if they got a rich enough acqui-hire offer. Or however profitable their efforts, if they couldn't raise enough money to properly peruse them. They could be facing more work of a type they don't like or weren't good enough at (including hiring the necessary talent), e.g. marketing and sales, and preferred the maximum pivot possible.
If I was an entrepreneur I would be rather annoyed by that kind of message because user's trust is a shared resource. It's selfish. Soon enough start-up will start to be negatively connoted. A sort of Made-in-China in the virtual world.
oh crap, i couldn't run my company, the business i have built. i have failed my employees, my vision, my customers. all for naught, i got swallowed and now i am an employee.
but in web/tech bubble? hooray, i flipped this shit for cash. so long suckas.
Arranging and exit for investors or founders can be extremely hard; I watched my father do that several times in the period when IPOs were still possible.
Every time I suggest this might not be a cool thing, people tell me I just don't understand the business model, or something. Same thing yesterday when Microsoft announced they were ripping out Skype's API. It's weird.
Hate to be all philosophical, but everything is temporary. Even the Universe itself.
But that is true of all services. This is why savvy businesses try to stick with services that have competition; that way they have somewhere to go if their provider of choice goes under for whatever reason.
Also, it's not like if Microsoft was shutting down. You'll be deprived of a couple of products, at most.
I wonder if startups are starting to see a reluctance in users to fully buy in to trying new products. This reminds me of one S13 YC startup that got bought by Pinterest a few weeks ago..
Maybe more startups should choose M&A-friendly names. Acquired.io, which is available for registration, is a sure winner.
I didn't actually use them because they hadn't branched out into the product category (PC Hardware) that I would have used them for.
Congrats to the team and to Dropbox!
1. Oh noes, they are celebrating their acquisition with users. That jerks!
2. Small startups are like Google products -- prone to be discontinued or acquired and closed. Beware!
3. They failed their users and their business model is a failure. Failue!
4. "What is sold?", "meh", "puns".
I love HN technical discussions but startup or business threads? So much negativity... Thats enogh HN for me for today.
Congratulations to Sold team!
(puts on sunglasses)
Dropbox has hired some really smart people (and shuttered some great services) over the past year or two, but I haven't yet seen that intellectual capitol reflected in their services.