Andy Baio on selling out
Great read by Andy Baio on the history and future of Upcoming.org: Diary of a Corporate Sellout. For those of you who don’t know what Upcoming was, it was an awesome events website where you could manage the events you wanted to go to (before those types of sites were popular) that Andy created and then sold to Yahoo in 2005. Andy’s story is an important one that anybody building a product should read. In particular, Andy talks about not realizing what it meant to sell a website around which a community had formed:
“If you start a social startup and give up ownership, whether through significant investment or an acquisition, you’re putting a community at risk. It’s not just “data.” It’s the collective effort and history of everyone that breathed life into the thing you made. There’s a huge amount of trust there, and we have every right to be angry when the services we use disappear. They tie to our identity, they forge new friendships, and they hold our collective history.
In the case of Upcoming, it was a decade of memories and experiences from real people. It was my responsibility not to fuck it up. People trusted me with those memories, and now they’re gone. It’s the only time in my life that I felt like a sellout.”
Great read…here’s hoping Upcoming returns better than ever.