The Death Trap

Jason Calacanis may have quit blogging, but he hasn’t quit writing valuable and provocative thoughts. His email yesterday on Google is worth reading. I think someone reblogged it but I am writing this from my blackberry on an early morning train so I can’t be sure

This post is not about Google getting into the content business. Its about another of Jason’s observations in his email

Jason wrote the following:

Why all the focus on death? ——————————

The life of a startup CEO dealing with the rabid but sometime naive blogosphere is one of extremes. You’re killing or you’re killed, you’re the shinny new object or yesterday’s news. You can couple the link-bait based blogosphere with main-stream media journalists who, instead of acting like the voice of reason and "sticking to what got them there," have taken the link-baiting bait. The MSM has had to incorporate the flame warring, rumor mongering and link-baiting ethos in order to keep up in the page-view cold war.

This is either the shot in the arm MSM needs to compete, or they’re chasing the blogosphere Thelma and Louise-style off a cliff. Time will tell I suppose.

Anyway, Facebook has had crushing success while MySpace continues to grow. Apple is hitting the ball out of the park while Microsoft continues to set sales records while fumbling into various markets. If Microsoft and Apple, MySpace and Facebook, and a Coke and Pepsi can’t kill each other why is everyone obsessed with death?

Well, because Microsoft did kill Lotus, Netscape and thousands of other software companies when they decided that the operating system just wasn’t enough.

We as a industry are obsessed with death. And its a trap that clouds your thinking. Facebook did not kill MySpace, YouTube did not kill Hulu, Google did not kill eBay, Pownce did not kill Twitter, and I could go on and on and on.

Web services are like cars or soft drinks. There’s room for many of them to coexist peacefully. You might like to drive a Honda, drink Coke, and use AIM to talk to your friends. I might like to drive a Chevy, drink Pepsi, and use Twitter to talk to my friends.

Yes, like cars and soft drinks, web services compete with each other for customers/users. But there are almost a billion internet users globally these days. And you can build a very nice business serving millions or ideally tens of millions of users.

So I’d like to suggest that we stop focusing on who is going to kill whom and instead think about market share, business model, sustainability, and profitability which are the measures that people in most businesses tend to focus on.