Dave Sifry has recently left Technorati and prior to that he dismissed 8 members of staff in what many saw to be the end of this cool service. As many of you know I was a huge fan of the service and I thought it was really going places. Sadly I think that this is the perfect example of what I call Crossing the Chasm, something which not every company is able to do and something which eventually will cost Technorati its future.
The thing is that in the beginning this was a neat product which bloggers adored, and we were very much its client base during those early days, the client base which it needed in order to get started. What unfortunately happen as the business grew was that they tried to jump the chasm into the mass market.
The issues for Technorati were that once it jumped into the mass market it felt as though it was done with the blogger community and so it switched its focus to bigger and better things. This was a huge error on their part and one which we have seen time and time again with businesses. Ultimately that small base which you built up, be it a base of bloggers or influencers or whatever it may be, and this is the bread and butter of the business, the backbone which you must always remember and respect, lose this base at your peril.
Since Web 2.0 came along the truth is that Technorati has been treading water and naturally the investors have not been enjoying the ride. It was therefore only a matter of time before the levee broke and that has now happened.
The lesson which everyone can learn from what has happened to this once brilliant service is that you should always remember those who helped you up, because they are the ones who will beat you on the way down, not literally of course but you get the point. Another lesson we can learn from this cautionary tale is that no matter how good you think your idea is, poor execution of it will lead to some very damaging things, which may even put an end to the idea all together.
Finally it is important to recognize victims of the changing times and learn from what has happened to them so as to prevent it from happening again, and sadly for Dave Sifry and his team, they are the ones from whom we will be learning the most in the coming years.
Crossing the chasm not always a good idea.