Blog by Sumana Harihareswara, Changeset founder
In Response To Reddit Speculation
Hi, reader. I wrote this in 2006 and it's now more than five years old. So it may be very out of date; the world, and I, have changed a lot since I wrote it! I'm keeping this up for historical archive purposes, but the me of today may 100% disagree with what I said then. I rarely edit posts after publishing them, but if I do, I usually leave a note in italics to mark the edit and the reason. If this post is particularly offensive or breaches someone's privacy, please contact me.
I wrote something on the Business of Software forum that bears reposting here:
I'm not about to try to sell or buy a startup, so there's no point in me speculating about Reddit's sale price, and I have basically zero information about the sale, so I wouldn't even be able to speculate beyond hand-waving conjecture.
But the original question: what did Reddit do right? It cost little to develop. Reddit got a bare-bones service up and running quickly and improved it in quick iterations based on user feedback. That's straight Grahamism/best 21st-century practices, isn't it?
A person above noted that sites that get eyeballs get acquired, even if they're not "products." Microsoft bought Hotmail.com (then HoTMaiL, remember?) nine years ago. So products blending with services blending with sites is not new. It doesn't seem that useful to ask, "should I build a product or a service?" Rather: "what architecture will best help fill this particular user desire?"
Hey, NewsGator bought NetNewsWire (Ranchero), too. It's not like desktop apps are dead.
In other news, Aaron left yesterday evening, having visited Fog Creek, Central Park, the Brooklyn Transit Museum, the Brooklyn Bridge, Too Much Light Makes The Baby Go Blind, various acquaintances of his, Columbia University, and probably other places. We were able to introduce him to Sac's Pizza on Broadway in Astoria, which we could easily eat four times a week. How much could I get on eBay for a toothbrush he's used? People at Digg could buy it for voodoo purposes.