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Who says startups are easy?

Source: Om Malik

Stashed in: Startups, 106 Miles, Silicon Valley!, @fredwilson, @cdixon, Awesome, The Good Stuff

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Om Malik writes:

A blog post by Fred Wilson, undoubtedly the king of early stage consumer web investing (Twitter, Tumblr, Etsy, Foursqaure, Zynga and Kickstarter), has many folks wringing their hands about consumer Internet investments and extolling the virtues of enterprise or more business focused companies.

(It is only a matter of time, before it becomes a fad too, but let's leave it for another day.)

I am just a little surprised that it has taken people this long to realize that doing a startup in this day and age is a massive problem. It is not just about the money -- it is the increased attention diffusion which is a problem. I have been talking about this for a long time. Last year, I wrote about the lack of second chances on the modern, post-mobile Internet:

"The economics of attention is much more ruthless and unforgiving than the real economic underpinning of a product. Just as it is hard for a movie to recover from a bad opening weekend, today's apps lose if they don't make a good first impression."

That Fred Wilson post that everything has changed is worth re-reading.

It describes the environment for startups that has been absolutely brutal in 2012.

Even before Chris Dixon declared that 10 million users is the new 1 million users.


I organize a group of entrepreneurs, 106 Miles.

2012 has been as tough to early startups as 2008 ("meltdown year") and 2001 ("bubble burst year").

In some ways it's tougher because except for Chris, Fred, and Om, very few people are admitting how little money is actually out there for startups in the post-Facebook-IPO Silicon Valley.

Furthermore, no one has any sense as to whether 2013 will be better or worse.

There's a lot of uncertainty in the market.

Some people think pivoting from mobile-first to web-first will save them.

Others think pivoting from consumer to enterprise will save them.

Others are acknowledging how hard this climate is and they're shutting down or getting acquired.

Google weathered 2001 and Facebook weathered 2008.

I wonder who is weathering 2012 that we'll look back at and say of course this made them stronger. Tumblr?


I have serious doubts Twitter will still be big in 2020.

But perhaps they are weathering 2012 and focusing on staying the course and becoming stronger. Blogger and Movable Type and other self-expression platforms still exist years later.

I think Twitter will absolutely be around, even if it now the self-expression method du jour. I think a key change for Twitter would be in-line imaging in the feed. Make Twitter more like Instagram, not by adding photo filters, but by allowing people to view their twitter feed in a visual sense. 

I think you just explained why I've seen so much Twitter activity move to Instagram this year. I don't know that Twitter survives the fragmenting of their traffic to other more engaging services like Instagram, Pinterest, and Tumblr.

Lately Twitter seems mostly noise. That's not good for Twitter.

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