Does growth matter?

Just saw this piece on Techcrunch regarding the relative stability of del.icio.us, and it raises an interesting question:

Does every product or service always have to “grow” in order to be considered successful? And why?

I think it may be primarily an influence of the stock market investment model that drives a lot of tech companies, but is that the only way to measure things?

Del.icio.us is a good example of a service that has always done what it does well, and (unless I’m missing something) is still just as useful today as it was when it came out. The drive to “improve” by adding features just for the sake of showing progress is not always wise, especially for a simple system with a clearly defined scope like this one.

There has been a lot of talk about the 2.0 version, but I’ve never really read any of it, or cared about the delays, because the current version works just fine for me.

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3 Responses to Does growth matter?

  1. JB says:

    Oh, yeah – another case in point: Flickr Video.

    I’m not going to join the campaign against it or anything, because I’m not that strongly opposed to it, it’s just that they’ve already won in the photo management market, and there is already another winner (as well as plenty of good competition) in the personal video sharing market – why bother?

  2. Dan says:

    Sorry but people want to see more core features and by producing what people want you get growth.

    flickr video is a bad example because flickr users prefer video 2:1.

  3. JB says:

    So, what core features are “missing” from del.icio.us that people are really dying to get in a 2.0 version? I can’t think of any.

    I get what you’re saying, but at the same time there’s a balance between adding new features and the clutter and loss of focus that comes along with it.

    I think the Flickr thing is a great example. Before they released it, who was really asking for video support in Flickr? Very few people, I would guess, since that market is already well served.

    I certainly understand (and can speculate further) on why they did it, and now that they have I’m sure some people will embrace it and enjoy it, but I wonder how many of those people will appreciate the end result in loss of focus and progress on the core service?

    Of course, most users probably wouldn’t directly correlate the two, but I know you’ve specifically complained that Flickr has stagnated. I can only see that getting worse (in terms of the photo features) with adding more stuff into the mix.

    Of course, this is all my opinion, and we’ll see how it ends up turning out. I just think that for these two services in particular, Yahoo is just acting out of desperation to show progress somewhere, rather than in response to real user demand.

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