Friday, March 14, 2008
Edge Principles, FriendFeed Edition
Here's a textbook example of how not to think strategically.
Duncan looks at the numbers and concludes Friendfeed and Twitter are subsitutes. It should be pretty obvious - if you think about the dynamics - that they're complements.
Strategy isn't spreadsheets - and it sure ain't disconnected usage numbers.
The real point is: Friendfeed is a next-gen, open version of Facebook's social feed.
Funny - what was that we were discussing a few months ago? About competition for openness would ultimately begin to eviscerate Facebook's pseudo-platform; how the evil at the heart of Facebook would stop it from moving past last-gen games of domination?
That's an edge principle: good beats evil. It's not wishful thinking, it's not utopianism, it's not idealism - it's razor sharp strategy for a new economics.
In Duncan's defense, the aggregation services offered are not new (tho this iteration may be superior). The idea, while not breathtaking, is strategic/open and focuses on the unbundling concepts discussed here. However, the "valley", or in this case SWSX's, hype machine forces you to scratch your head and ask 'why' is this interation better than current competitors/experience. A better question might be is the value created enough to overcome a sub-stellar (IMO) user experience? Not "is FF this year's twitter" who cares either way - its an adolescent discussion?
Just a thought.
No trackback? Anyway, I noted
how you tied FriendFeed into one of your main themes ... and also provide a table of Technorati and Alexa data for Louis Gray's list.
another edge principle, subtle beats gross
twitter, friendfeed... i think of them as technology that enables esp and intuition, (yes to your 'complements' observation) which is a more subtle activity than plotting, planning, manipulating, managing, confronting, etc.
'nuances of communication' is key with all these types of apps. we all know that twitter pownce newsfeed etc all play on providing varying experiences on 'presence'.
these nuances are important and nobody can predict 100% how the app will be adopted. for a teenager it would be too dorkish to send an email or text out to all his/her buddies asking for people to join him/her getting drunk on friday night and wait for responses - he/she would rather advertise it on their status feed "its friday - i'm ready 2 partaay!".
these are the little nuances that solve a particular communicative problem. and i reckon there's LOTS of such nuances - therefore lots of slightly varying apps like this will co-exist all doing different things slightly differently for all types of people.
it will be interesting to see how these social apps will adapt when location based services via mobile come into play - and how others will emerge - all having their own little twists. does jaiku do this? i cant remember.
personally i feel there's a lot more exploration that needs to be done with these friend type feeds. lets not kid ourselves - it was facebook's newsfeed which primarily propelled its popularity. So why not explore this idea further? more power to friendfeed. lets wait and see what happens. I believe it will be two years before twitter goes mainstream. But i feel it wont be the only one. they'll be a few all with different open type flavors - maybe friendfeed will be one of them.
They are definitely complements, so totally agree with the first point.
Not sure if I agree with the jab at Facebook platform though - it enables FriendFeed users to access all their aggregated feeds through the FriendFeed application, so it's probably just a matter of different focus - Facebook's is on their developer's platform and enabling external sites to provide their services through it.
Not saying that this is strategically right or wrong, but more that in this case the issue actually seems to be besides the point.