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Lessons learned from Myspace

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Felix Gillette wrote a BusinessWeek cover story on the rise and fall of Myspace:

The article attributes the rise to a willingness to be nimble and embrace voyeuristic tendencies of lurking users.

The fall is attributed to forced monetization that led to terrible ads, and a technology stack that made it challenging to adapt.

The main beneficiaries -- Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr -- benefited from venture capital so they didn't have to put ads everywhere, and better technology stacks, it's true.

But they also benefited from better designs that consumers felt good about using. No consumer LOVED so when the leaders started leaving, their followers followed them elsewhere.

"At one point, according to DeWolfe, Myspace asked the sales team at FIM to stop selling the gross-out ads, even though they had high click-through rates. "If we were doing $500 million of revenue, it meant taking a $20 million haircut," says DeWolfe. "It was the right thing to do from a long-term growth perspective. But it took a lot of work to get through the various different levels at News Corp. We had to jump through hoops."

That really does speak to the advantage startups have over bigger companies: nimble-ness.

We may be underfunded and under resources but we can move quickly and do what's right for the startup and its product.

Another great quote from the article: "Using .NET is like Fred Flintstone building a database," says David Siminoff, whose company owns the dating website JDate, which struggled with a similar platform issue. "The flexibility is minimal. It is hated by the developer community." - architecture matters ...

Several .NET people have told me in response to the quote that .NET is fine.

MySpace may have done a poor job of architecture, but in general bad architecture choices are made by people, not by languages or tools.

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