Resistance Is Not Futile

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Interesting post on the 37Signals blog regarding competing against Google.  Harb references a post by Paul Graham about Kiko’s founders putting their site up on eBay. 

Long story short, it sounds like Kiko came out with a web-based calendar, but when Google came out with theirs, Kiko’s growth stopped, users defected, and they threw in the towel.

Paul’s solution is to stay out of Google’s way.

Kind of sounds like what could happen to Blogjet with the advent of Windows Live Writer.  However Harb offers a more optimistic take on the events.

No. Don’t run, don’t hide. Be different. You can’t outdo Google by trying to match them point-by-point, but you don’t have to. There are other, better ways to fight. Compete differently.

Perhaps the same can be said for the creator of BlogJet vs Microsoft.  I was chatting with Jon Galloway about this and I suggested this would really hurt BlogJet, perhaps even spell its demise in the long run.  How does a tiny company challenge Microsoft and compete against a free product?  Jon was more optimistic and pointed to SourceGear as a counterexample.

I was not convinced.  Writing software to post to a blog has a much lower bar of entry compared to a source control system.  But so does writing a Calendar app, no?

It will be interesting to see if Dmitry can competes differently and come out with some creative means to keep Blogjet viable.  Good luck.

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7 responses

  1. Avatar for jayson knight
    jayson knight August 18th, 2006

    Dmitry is sunk (and I really feel bad for the guy). Even if he gives it away and asks for donations I still think most folks will go with WLW.
    Now that MS has entered the desktop posting tool party they'll always mimic manage to stay one step ahead, and as long as they are giving it away there won't be any competition. Even if they were to charge 20 bucks for it they'd come out way ahead.
    It doesn't matter what the competition does now to make their products more viable, MS will clone it and include it. Normally I'd be somewhat miffed at MS for doing something like this, but hey, all's fair...

  2. Avatar for Haacked
    Haacked August 18th, 2006

    Some of the examples I gave:
    Vault and other source control products (vs. VSS)
    Diff programs like Beyond Compare, Araxis Merge
    EditPad Pro (the Atwood favorite over piles of good, free notepad replacements)
    The important thing is to differentiate and leverage the fact that Microsoft has to please the masses. Dmitry has a user base and years of consumer feedback. He needs to focus on doing things Microsoft wouldn't or couldn't think of doing:
    Integrate with Technorati?
    Integrate with Flickr?
    Leverage Google / Yahoo / Amazon services?
    Upsell by offering enhanced services?
    Add advanced features that Microsoft wouldn't dare for fear of confusing Joe User?
    Make use of open source libraries or products that Microsoft legal would squash?
    Open sourcing portions of the product could free him up to work on differentiators. There are enough users that he could possibly spin off some core features as plugins, let users contribute to and enhance those, and focus on value adds.
    Or, he can always ride it out (like the Corel Office Suite) and start on his next big thing.

  3. Avatar for Dmitry Chestnykh
    Dmitry Chestnykh August 18th, 2006

    Thank you! I'm really not ready to give up yet :)

  4. Avatar for jayson knight
    jayson knight August 19th, 2006

    Dmitry, please don't! When I said sunk earlier I didn't mean it as an insult btw, just time to rethink some stuff. I'm sure you knew this was inevitable so I know you have some tricks up your sleeve...looking forward to seeing what you come up with ;-).

  5. Avatar for Scott Hanselman
    Scott Hanselman August 20th, 2006

    I'm sticking with blogjet...I've found the first thing that will keep me from using LiveWriter...when I paste code in from CopySourceAsHtml, LiveWriter strips the formatting and color. BlogJet doesn't.

  6. Avatar for shortcircuited1
    shortcircuited1 August 20th, 2006

    @ Haacked -- that's just it -- Microsoft DOESN'T have to please the masses -- in this case at any rate. Exposing an API for Writer is several nails in the coffin for BlogJet i fear.
    The paint in the announcement had not dried before there were already plugins to do precisely some of the things BlogJet doesn't do.
    And that right there is the beauty of it... The development community will plug the holes in Writer. Feature for feature Writer will catch up with and pass BlogJet sooner rather than later

  7. Avatar for Willie Tilton
    Willie Tilton August 21st, 2006

    I think the biggest benefit would be having an open API or source. If you can, as a developer, go in an change something about the program, it makes it that much more inviting. Even if there are other better pieces of software out there I'd rather go with the one I can change to suit my own needs.