Links and Notes for the day - June 28th 2018

Product hunt launches a news reader app.

Product Hunt launches a news reader app called Sip

Imagine Instagram Stories. Imagine news being delivered in this format. Add in the interactivity of Instagram stories. Stop imagining. Go check this app out.

This is not an endorsement of the app. I haven't installed it yet myself. But I'm particularly impressed with how obvious this format seems for delivering news right now. The only question I have is how come this is happening only now.

The medium is proven to be a powerful way to get people to skim through bite sized pieces of information. From the screenshots, it seems the ProductHunt team has also taken time to insert interactivity in the form of being able to vote (and possibly more). Very much like Instagram stories.

Given the concious nature of consuming information in this app, I'm assuming it has the potential to be a powerful advertising vehicle as well. Overall this is pretty exciting. I just don't need another information firehose in my hands so I'm opting out of installing it for now.

All that said, I'm wondering if the Producthunt team could have just created an account on Instagram which did the same thing via stories. Given PH's popularity I assume it would only be a short time before they hit 10,000 followers which unlocks all the special features like linking to external sources and swipe up's to see more.

Loot n Leave - By Basecamp

This loot’n’leave strategy can justify much of what’s wrong with startup culture in the broad, below-the-titans cut (where reaching emperorhood brings its own justifications). Employees, customers, regulations, and, hell, even society at large, is much easier to screw over without regret if you don’t have to stick around for all that long.

This is a short but thought provoking article from Basecamp. It touches on the topic of Silicon Valley's obsession with moving recklessly. Somehow Silicon Valley managed to turn the act of being reckless into a celebrated catch phrase.

After reading this article I thought about the alternative approach to building businesses. When you think about it, Basecamp's approach to things seems blindingly obvious for almost all companies.

  • They don't try to capture an entire market. Most products don't need to capture an entire market to make sense. Most products don't benefit from network effects. And of those that do, not all of them need to capture the entire market either.

This single point drives everything else.

They run at a profit.

Again, for most companies, this should be obvious. There are some companies that introduce new technology and there's a lot of education in the market to get it adopted. And these companies are needed. Many of them fizzle out, but the effect they have is seen when some other company many years down the line launches with the same purpose in mind and succeeds. People then point to the one that fizzled out and say "a little before its time". These companies can afford to run at a loss. Most companies do not introduce new paradigms. Most companies have a business proposition with immediately observable value. And then they sell it at nothing and make a loss, in order to "capture the market".

They run with just a small number of people and are model citizens for what good capitalism should like.

If the majority of companies ran like Basecamp, we'd have a market full of healthy choice and confidence that things are being built to last a long time. People would work in healthy, smaller, and more intimate environments. This is wishful thinking though. Someone will always come along and think, "ha! What if I could aggressively go around flocking my goods at some kind of 'better' price and capture the market these peasants aren't aggressively pursuing?". That person will go around, hire a bazillion people and upend the peace of the whole system. This is why we can't have nice things.

In the case of Basecamp, they've even stopped growing the company size. People come to work each day, think slowly and deliberately about how they want to help companies manage work better, and act on it. There's no "omg we need to chase the profits" fire. Ever.

Posted on June 28 2018 by Adnan Issadeen