When Quora announced that it was raising $50 million at a whopping $400 million valuation, I wondered out loud — why? Of course that prompted someone to ask on Quora of course, why was I bearish on the company. Of course some wonderful commentary ensued and one response from James Hirtz in particular got a lot of votes. I got around to responding to his comment and the question in general. Here is my answer if you don’t want to deal with Quora.
My bearishness of Quora is pretty clear in the post I penned on GigaOM.
As for your argument about me being worried about Quora-based content as competition – I dont think so. I link to a lot of stuff on Quora. I am a firm believer that everyone should have their own platform to publish – whether it is a blog or Facebook page, a twitter feed or Quora account. In other words, to each their own.
I used to be an old school journalist who embraced the Internet in 1994, long before it was hip, cool or famous. I embraced the Internet first and the web later. I am the Internet journalist who embraced the blogs in 2000, long before they were hip. And I am the blogger who embraced Twitter in 2006 and Facebook a little later.
I am also the guy who likes to link to other people and actually spends an incredible amount of my time finding stuff that is great and written by other people so that more people give attention to those words. I believe that writing is only part of my job. Here are three rules I follow everyday I write and how I define my duties as a blogger/writer/whatever label you want to put on me today.
- be unique,
- create value to my community.
- curate and help find community the information/resources they might need.
Those are three principles that are not defined by what platform I write for, or what tools I use. Those are guiding principles, independent of platforms Quora, Pinterest or whatever.
Quora has a lot of nice content, it attracts lots of smart people and I quite enjoy using it, though don’t feel compelled to answer or partake in all conversations I am asked to participate in. That is the service. let’s separate the service and the valuation. I think service is good, but the lack of traction for the service makes the valuation impossible to justify – at least to me. Clearly, the VCs who have invested in the deal feel differently.
On a more personal note, Quora has lost a lot of simplicity and design elegance and ease of discovery that I found useful in the early days. I believe they need to simplify.