Umair Haque / Bubblegeneration
umair haque  


Design principles for 21st century companies, markets, and economies. Foreword by Gary Hamel. Coming January 4th. Pre-order at Amazon.

Monday, December 12, 2005

The Problems With Microchunking, pt 2

An interesting post about Squidoo leads to a nice response from Seth.

Now, this may seem like a tempest in a teapot - I think it's a nice example of the fact that cheap coordination and edge competencies are going to require new, radical kinds of management innovation; that's no easy task.

-- umair // 5:44 AM // 7 comments


I was a bit put out by receiving that message.

Mainly the short notice I was given to fix my lens. Two weeks may be reasonable. But four days!!?? (which doesn't, for me include a free weekend)

BTW : on the subject of alienating your community, have you seen this discussion on Tribe :
// Blogger phil jones // 3:50 PM

They're recovering pretty well. Here's the email I received today.

Yesterday, you probably got an unsigned note from a member of the SquidTeam, threatening to delete your lenses. That was a mistake.

It was a mistake because it was poorly written, because it was unsigned by a real person and because we're not going to delete any of your lenses any time soon.

I apologize for this.

We're still in beta, and the text of that note was a scrap left over from a long time ago. And the note got sent, by mistake, to you and a few other folks.

Yes, we'd like you to add more modules. We're trying to avoid squatters and in the future, if you've got a dormant lens, we may ask you to work on it. But no, we are not commenting on the quality of your content. We're web guys, not critics.

Thanks for your patience.

Seth Godin
(and the rest of the team)

PS At least we didn't send you a fruitcake.

PPS If you're ever wondering about what's going on at
Squidoo, please don't hesitate to check out

// Blogger phil jones // 6:33 PM

This issue is one of the major challenges facing user generated content sites, and one that we struggle with as well.

Is it the place of the site administrators to make value judgments on the quality of the content? Ideally, the community will determine what is quality content, and the higher quality content will get more airplay.

But in practice, some contributed content on open systems is - for lack of a better - so bad, that the community won't even take the time to acknowledge it. So you either make value judgemnts and weed out the crappy content, or live with a lower signal to noise ratio.

(regardless of what the right answer is, I think Seth shows the right way to take responsibility for a poor site communication to a user - impressive.)
// Blogger lawrence // 9:01 PM

sorry, but i think that message from seth had about as much sincerity as one of bush's explanation's on (well, just about anything). you invite people to beta test your site and then tell them to stop being "squatters who hoard space." not cool in my opinion.
// Anonymous eric goldstein // 3:30 AM

eric. Depends what you mean by sincerity.

Is it true they aren't going to delete my lens? Hope so. If so, the message is "true", even though they might have originally thought that it *would* be good idea to trim all the dead-wood test accounts and beta testers who got bored after a five minute play.

I figure Seth is way too smart about the internet not to be scared as hell of pissing off his potential user community right now.

And so he realized that that original email was a mistake.

Is that out of self-interest? Sure.

Did he grovel enough?

For me, yeah. It's not like he insulted my mother or anything. I'm not out to punish Squidoo or get into high dudgeon about it. Seth signals that they're paying attention, that they see that threatening to terminate my account in 4 days was not the most application-builder-friendly thing to do. And they'll change their position.

That's enough for me. I'll keep developing my Squidoo lenses (in my own time) and support the service. It's an interesting idea.

What's going on on Tribe is much more exiting in terms of pissed-off users (see the link I dropped above)
// Blogger phil jones // 3:34 PM

Your a better man the I Phil. I guess being the "veteran" of the web that Seth is, he shouldn't have needed to learn from this mistake. I just think he shouldn't have made it in the first place. Once made, i think a much more sincere (i.e. regretful) explanation was in order.
// Anonymous eric goldstein // 8:23 PM

Am I the only one who thinks squidoo is a terrible website?
// Anonymous Anonymous // 6:46 AM
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