I woke up yesterday morning to an email informing me that Editorially is shutting down by end of May. With the memory of Everpix (who closed doors less than a week after I signed up for their service) still hot in my mind , I’m beginning to be wary of new tech startups.
No matter how much effort engineers and designers put into it, there is a learning curve with new technologies. From the point where you discover this new thing, you have to spend some time understanding how it will work for you, setting up, making your way up the learning curve and then eventually you might start to get some real benefit out of it. While startup founders can do a lot to grease the wheels, the existence of the process is somewhat inevitable for anything beyond the simplest of applications and represents an investment from the user.
I’m now starting to question whether it’s a good use of my time and energy to do these mental “investments” in early startups springing up every other week. If it’s not going to fail completely (which is statistically the most likely option), it will probably get acqui-hired and the service shut down (which to me is another form of the company failing, though I can definitely see why founders do it). The chances of this turning into a technology that will succeed and evolve and stay with me through the years seem to be slimmer and slimmer every day.
Unfortunately, developing this fear – assuming I am not the only one for which this phenomenon is occurring, – will only further decrease the chances of future startups to succeed, as they now have yet an extra barrier for attracting new users. Their failures will continue to feed the fear and now we enter a very destructive vicious circle for the startup space.
In the mean time, I’m starting to develop a counter-intuitive dislike of free or cheap services because of this very reason. With services that charge money (and not just that, but what seems to be a fair amount), I have more faith that they will be able to strike a profit and thus be successful in the definition that I am looking for as a user. Perhaps having a positive balance sheet was never such a bad idea after all.