Software and Computer Engineering

Can You All Stop Trying to Eat the World?

We've seen it happen before countless times: A small unique web product is becomes successful driven by a small core team, delivering customer value with a solid and delightful product, leading to increasing user adoption.

After the initial success, then the founders can afford to start thinking of “what could this grow into?”, decide to take on outside investment, aiming to “accelerate” growth -- but in reality accelerating spending. Happy times issue.

Soon, the day of the reckoning comes, and the company needs to justify their existence to the investors. Inevitably, this leads to perverse incentives, that don't benefit either the customers or the product. The company is finally sold, pillaged, becoming a husk of its former self, trying to suck out the last drop of customer value while its former reputation lasts.

When a product becomes an investment, it needs to justify itself by demonstrating constant growth. It will either achieve a grandiose vision, far remove from its initial purpose, or die trying. Something that needs constant growth to stay alive is not a healthy organism, it's a parasite.

I'm just plain tired of any promising for-profit web product pathetically attempting to push products and functionality far unrelated from the purpose I want to use the product for, with the only purpose being of furthering its parent company's grand ambitions.

Your local coffee shop is perfectly fine not being The Next Big Thing. Still, it is a sustainable businesses that serves the local community and thrives by “just” providing a service its customers find useful.

Why can't software ever be “complete” or “sufficient”? Why does one feel the need of squeezing out every conceivable opportunity out of a business while giving up on “enough”?