April 16, 2010

Eyeballs still don't pay the bills - (37signals on Ning)

Are you kidding me? The company has blown through $120MM of VC funding over six years, built up massive traffic, yet just had to slash and burn, and you’re saying that “traffic growth is no longer good enough”. How the hell was it ever good enough?
Ning’s problem is not a lack of eyeballs but its inability to turn them into cash money to pay the bills. Getting more of something that’s a net-negative is not going to make up for it.
That was always their problem. From day one. Just like it’s any other business’ problem. Acting all shocked and surprised now is just incredibly ignorant of our industry’s very recent past.
This is the same kind of ignorance that goes on to celebrate so-called businesses successes before they posted black numbers on the balance sheet. Until that happens it’s all conjecture and possible maybes.
The just-give-it-away-for-free-and-they-will-come-and-we’ll-be-rich automatron is as broken now as it was in 2001.
With a HT to @deptofinternets
Funnily enough, I'm reading ReWork at the moment and commented this morning. 37 Signals didn't take long to enter the conversation with the statements I expected.
Yes there are different models for business, but IMHO, if you are small, niche, VC'd to your eyeballs, and not making money within a couple of years, you are lucky to be still alive.
But what do I know?

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