The tech world is obsessed with what’s next. It has become so used to the constant flow of new products and new companies that newness itself has been placed on a pedestal. But outside of a few breakthroughs here and there, most things that are good are good because they got there slowly.
That’s why it always irks me when you hear entrepreneurs being asked “what’s next for you”, usually with the implication of either “what new product are you going to put out” or “what new company will you start next”. Not what improvements or tweaks are you going to make to what you have. All I can think of is the old Spolsky article Good Software Takes Ten Years.
I understand that reporters and outsiders aren’t interested in hearing about how you made this thing a little better or that thing a little smoother. They want fireworks: complete rewrites, massive new features, something brand-new. To people who actually use the product, though, that little tweak you made to remove a nagging problem is often way more important than something big and flashy.
It’s not only good software that takes a decade to develop, good companies do too. If you agree that’s true, it follows that you wouldn’t want promising entrepreneurs to go chasing waterfalls before they know how to paddle in the pond. Or something like that.
I guess what I’m trying to say is that I want to see evolution get a chance to work its magic, but if great products and companies keep getting abandoned or bought after 3-5 years, there’ll be less of that. And that’s a damn shame.