Scale first, Bait & Switch later. (IMHO) The modern web has a problem right now.

I’m not worrying about Instagram now because I am positive of them pulling back on their clear over reach yesterday. What I am bothered by is people like MG Siegler and others blaming the users/creators of the content that IG & Facebook had offered a service for free and then reworded one little piece of their ToS to give them the ability to bait and switch…users who then called them out. Instagram & Facebook’s move was dumb, but the people in power positions in tech who in the face of that then put the onus on the fault of the users/creators showed (to me) a clear deep seeded problem in the people who are/have built some/much of the web. It is not users fault that these services went and put scale before revenue in building. As someone who has taken the hard road, not the easier road to just scale… But instead to do the hard work first.. The revenue plan … In the fairest, most sustainable and unobtrusive way …first (because THAT is how you build a business worthy of investment…. Not by ‘ eyeballs’ and scale)…
I have to say these people who blame users & creators for a company’s slow ToS changes ..companies who bought into taking investment, make tech work (not revenue) , scale fast, make personal huge financial gains for themselves & early investment…then bait & switch to change your revenue plan because scale and the service is leading their business…

Are a root and structural problem with the present evolution of technology & the web.

Technology is not the hardest part, content creation is not the hardest part, scale is not the hardest part, social media is not the hardest part, getting people to give you investment money is not the hardest part…. Getting a sustainable, unobtrusive, and concrete revenue plan that is the base of a business is not only the hardest part …it’s the most important. & Investment is not revenue. & ‘Scale’ and ‘eyeballs’ are not sustainable revenue.

The tech/web/dev world and some of the people leading them need to take a good hard look at what beliefs and culture they have created about ‘what a good business is’… 20 years I have been involved with communication channel businesses based on media architectures and their revenue structures… On every level. Old media has had these problems for a century… But the successful, financially worthy companies that were not just marketing agencies or stayed alive by constantly working to close off the market were ones that built things that had a simple, unobtrusive, sustainable revenue plan before they scaled… And took the hard road to get there.

These beliefs and defenses of them by blaming users is silly on the back end but it is what has created an incredibly bad evolution model on the front end.  We get big companies that through scale and hype have to control their slow damage and losses they do to the web and it’s users from not having a good revenue structure.

Instagram and Facebook made mistakes, but these people’s beliefs in blaming the whiny users and not the culture that created the bad “marketing / scale /tech is the only service / product that matter”‘ priority over service and audience/user… well they are the mistake/still mistaken…and it’s a cultural and false economy problem on the web.  A big one (IMHO).

& Yeah I have put my life where my mouth is on this issue for the past 10 years.  Getting the the sustainable revenue model right is more important than getting into a short term or long term hornets nest.  Been there, done that, learned it.


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