No Conflict No Interest - Or How To Launch A Platform in 2007

Less than five years ago, if you wanted to launch something important in tech, you staged a big media event, got all the major tech publications to come, and put on a big show. Apple still does it that way, as does Microsoft, but the times are changing.

Google’s launch of open social is interesting. They pre-launched it in the blogs and are getting top bloggers who are also their partners, like Marc Andreessen, to do some of the work for them. It’s smart.

Marc’s company Ning is one of the leading partners for open social and I think Ning will benefit greatly from it. So he’s going to promote it because of pure self interest. Which is fine, in fact it’s preferable in my book.

I remember my partner Brad’s nephew telling him that he preferred sports blogs to sports pages in the newspaper. Brad asked why and his nephew said, "at least I know where they are coming from".

We know where Marc is coming from. He wants Ning to succeed and because he’s made a bet on open social, he wants it to succeed. That’s good.

In return Marc gets the right to showcase screen shots and do a full blown screencast of open social before the big press launch.

And that, in turn, gets the rest of the blog world talking even more about it, including me.

I posted my thoughts on open social yesterday. I am a fan. I think this is great for developers, great for the social web, and great for me. No conflict, no interest.

#VC & Technology

Comments (Archived):

  1. Steven Kane

    agree with everything you’re saying here but, ins’t there an essential distinction between consumer and non-consumer tech? when you say apple and microsoft still put on big shows, isn’t that almost always for consumer products? open social is arguably a “b to b” announcement — of huge interest to developers and the like, but not consumers. as such of course using the blogs and partners like ning makes total sense. but maybe not for ipods?

    1. fredwilson

      That’s true steve. This approach might work well for geek oriented products tooFred

  2. PXLated

    I think if you’re in the lead you do it one way, if you’re not, it takes different methods. Apple can stage events, especially because of the iPod. Google is way behind in Social so they need to attack it differently to really get the buzz.So, I’m not sure anything has/is changed. The leaders always attract a crowd, the followers need a different tact.

    1. fredwilson

      Good observationAlthough google is a leader in so much of what they do that they might be tempted to behave like one everywhereIts nice to see them acting like an upstart in certain marketsFred

    2. bsiscovick

      Interesting thought, but come on, its Google. Google can easily throw a huge launch party, invite JayZ, Tom Brady, Vince Vaughn, and every other mega star in the world, and dominate evening network news.This is a very deliberate choice, and one I applaud. Steve Kane’s point above is well taken.

  3. bsiscovick

    Big news out of MySpace – Techcrunch reports MySpace joining Open Social. Now all the big boys are in this game. This is going to get exciting.

  4. Shayan

    Very interesting point that product promotion is also changing nowadays. Bloggers tend to target a niche market for themselves and they have readers with the same interests. Therefore, by reviewing they are in fact breaking up your product into pieces and each emphasizing on what they find most interesting (taking their niche into consideration). Therefore, the readers learn about the new product and the features that would be most interesting to them, in a language that they can understand the best. It is as if a company is hiring a huge team of PR and is getting them to do customized/personalized promotion of the product for many different groups of people.And keep in mind that this is happening at very low costs and is possible to be done by any company at any size and budget.This is also related and interesting to this point,

  5. Boris M. Silver

    I don’t use Facebook because it has applications — I use Facebook because every single person I know is on it. I use the applications as a byproduct of being on Facebook. People are getting caught up in the hype of this OpenSocial idea and forgetting that at the end of the day, Facebook does and will continue to dominate.Maybe it’s because I am in college, where everyone is on Facebook, but MySpace was what you were on when you were in high school and couldn’t get on the closed college only Facebook network.The end users won’t really care about OpenSocial — the only people getting excited here are the tech and web people.For my company, I’m excited to get more reach to users, but I will still prioritize my Facebook user base over any other user base until something indicates differently.

  6. Fred333

    I have used Ning in the past and found i a great way to meet new people.

  7. Jeffrey

    When I worked at [insert name of large internet company] we made a virtue of necessity by launching our developer products to bloggers and letting the mainstream reporters follow up with second-day coverage. It became necessary because the PR people at the company had no idea what we were doing, couldn’t understand the technology or the business behind what we were doing, and were more interested in protecting the company’s reputation by doing as little as possible than moving the business forward.

    1. fredwilson

      That’s a great story. priceless