Google does not render resistance futile 18 Aug 2006
75 comments Latest by Brian Graves
From the ashes of Kiko, Paul Graham reads that Google is unstoppable. That all hope is lost when fighting big G on its home turf. That resistance is futile:
The best solution for most startup founders would probably be to stay out of Google’s way.
What a depressing conclusion from a man who has inspired so many and gives hope to those who dare challenge the incumbents.
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.
Naturally, all examples are different, but we launched the Backpack calendar late in the game. After Gcal, Kiko, and many others. We even dared hide it behind a pay-to-play wall (starting at $5/month).
Guess what? Paying Backpack subscriptions are up about twenty percent in just the three weeks since launch. People are writing us about how they switched from Google Calendar to Backpack, even though they have to pay. They liked our take on a calendar better. That doesn’t take anything away from Google’s Calendar — it’s a fine product — but it’s not the only one ever for everyone in the whole wide world.
Obviously Backpack is more than just a calendar, so it doesn’t perfectly compare, but this example does provide a data point in the opposite direction. Google does not win by default in any territory it enters.
But even more troubling than the fear of Google is Paul’s abdication of power:
They tried hard; they made something good; they just happened to get hit by a stray bullet.
That leaves the Kiko developers without recourse, predestined by fate to suffer at the hands of the G overlord. How demoralizing!
Don’t believe it. You’re not governed by fate. You can react. Kiko’s demise is sad for the parties involved, but it does not spell the end of innovation in calendars or any other area Google might enter now or later.