Photo by Ewan-M
A couple of days ago I’ve read Loic Le Meur’s post on having to let half of his team at Seesmic go. I’ve never met Loic, but from what I’ve read and seen and from couple of minor online interactions he seems like a really nice guy and a hard working entrepreneur. I’ve also used quite a few of Seesmic’s products over the years. So I have nothing but respect for him and it was pretty sad to read the a/m post.
About a year ago I have inadvertently insulted Loic in comments on his blog
This wasn’t my intention and could be attributed to my limited command of English. By “mediocre” I meant “quite good” and by “quite good” I mean “good, but there are better options”. I wrote it a year ago and I still mean it – for most apps it doesn’t make sense to spread thin and try to cover as many platforms as humanly possible. It doesn’t matter if you are quite OK on 5 platforms if on every one of them there are more popular options.
I basically use 3 devices: my main PC, our home living room PC and my Windows Phone. I have Seesmic apps installed on all of them, but I don’t use them on any. On my main PC I use MetroTwit because it’s the best twitter app for Windows. On my Windows Phone I use rowi because it’s the best twitter app for Windows Phone. And on our multi-tenant home PC I just use twitter.com because it’s good enough for the glance-and-go nature of that computer. I don’t care about using the same “brand” of the app on every platform. I’m happy to use different apps on different platforms for the same task as long as these apps are the best for me on that platform and that usage scenario.
Even for social networks, where it would seem that being everywhere is the only way to go, it’s not always true. Instagram, for example, is only available on iOS and “coming soon” on Android. And one may argue that it is successful because it stayed focused and small (in terms of team).
Why am I writing this? We’ve been pretty successful on one platform and I’m under a constant peer pressure (as well as internal pressure) to expand into other platforms “with way more fish”. Most of the time I resist it and I’m pretty sure that would be a bad idea at this stage, but sometimes I feel urges to go “big” myself.
I blame it on the VC oriented startup culture. Due to the nature of venture capital they can’t be interested in “how your are going to change your niche”. They want you to tell them “How are you going to change the World?”
Changing the World could be your end play, but I think you should only go there once you have nothing important left to do in your neck of the woods (be it niche, location or platform).