The Long Fall of Google+

Did you know that Google+ is shutting down? I hadn’t, and frankly, I don’t care, because I had stopped thinking about Google+ a long time ago. But Gideon Rosenblatt, who was an early adopter of Google+ cares deeply, and he wrote his synthesis of what went wrong with Google+. It is worth reading, as it is frank and very revelatory. Apathy, mismanagement, and a lack of clear vision perhaps would be my core causes — however, for me, the heavy-handed way I was forced into Google+ is what turned me off the service.

….changes in management resulted in numerous twists and turns in Google+ strategy that, much like the layers of an archeological dig, are still visible today in the user interface. All this turmoil simply leaked the life out of the network. Employees with a strong vision and passion for the service eventually left and over time, many of its biggest user advocates simply dropped away. Over the last three years, there have been virtually no new features added to the network and it is badly overrun by spam that should be easily controllable by a company with the technology chops of Google. The service, in short, was abandoned: first by management and eventually by the community.

Rosenblatt argues that Google+ was a “shared ideas network” (which it was) that the media didn’t quite get. Having been on the other side of the table at the time, I would argue Rosenblatt doesn’t realize that none of Google’s leaders were able to every articulate the “shared ideas network” concept. I hit my head against the wall of Google gobblygook so often that I tuned out Google+. The one upside of Google+ was that I ended up subscribing to Gideon’s blog and his Twitter. (From the archives: Google and affliction of me-too-ism.)

The anatomy of a media startup’s failure

Founders work hard to turn their dreams into reality. Sometimes, success — or at least other people’s idea of your success — looks so close that you can taste the spoils. Happy endings, unfortunately, are for TV, as James O’Grady, the founder of The Cauldron shares in his goodbye post.  Having been in his shoes, I know how it feels. It will take a while, but let yourself be sad after you are being done angry. Eventually, in about three years, you will get over it.  Read the piece — it is an excellent dissection of his journey.

Many versions of me

Chad Dickerson, formerly an executive at Yahoo and later CTO/CEO of Etsy, in a powerful piece shares his story and elaborates why flat data in online databases doesn’t truly define us — something i have argued about in the past. So it shouldn’t come as a surprise when I nod my head in agreement when I read:

Maybe if we all gave each other the space to be complex people — not reduced to public perception, our professional bios, our LinkedIn profiles, others’ narratives of who we are — we might understand each other better and give ourselves the room to be messy but wondrous human beings

China’s Great Cannon

It is an astonishing story about how China is playing a villainous role in the non-Chinese Internet.  The writers point to a new tool called the Great Cannon and how it helped “channeling the flow of data out of China” and “selectively insert malicious JavaScript code into search queries and advertisements served by Baidu, a popular Chinese search engine.”  It is an excerpt from James Griffiths’s new book The Great Firewall of China: How to Build and Control an Alternative Version of the Internet