Blog by Sumana Harihareswara, Changeset founder

02 Nov 2008, 19:02 p.m.


Hi, reader. I wrote this in 2008 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 So it may be very out of date; the world, and I, have changed a lot since I wrote it!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.

Online video is now a commodity, like content management systems. I'm managing a project right now where we're customizing WordPress for a CMS and using YouTube for nearly all the video. Just as site creators reached the "why don't you just" moment last year with WordPress, we can now use ubiquitous embeddable video from free services rather than write/reuse custom players for everything, thank God.

YouTube has everyone else beat on user base, so the other services thrive to the extent that they capture some niche and provide affordances/user experience uniquely suited to that niche.

Some have clear positioning. Hulu's for commercial entertainment. Vimeo's for artists. Google Video is for academic lectures (since it doesn't have YouTube's ten-minute limit). GoFish is for kids and their parents. FunnyOrDie, CollegeHumor, the new MTV music video site, and so on are obvious.

But what of Revver, Eyespot, Veoh,, Metacafe, and the twenty I don't even know about? Each of them started for a reason, but what's the reason now?

I'm remembering the woman from Wordplay and Orson Scott Card's advice on writing: every story you write should have two orthogonal premises. Constraints make things interesting, in business and art. Cage as skeleton.