Mark, I know for a fact that my experience was not an isolated incident. Several other startup founders & Facebook employees have told me that what I experienced was part of a systematic M&A “formula”. Your team doesn’t seem to understand that being “good negotiators” vs implying that you will destroy someone’s business built on your “open platform” are not the same thing. I know all about intimidation-based negotiation tactics: I experienced them for years while dealing with the music industry. Bad-faith negotiations are inexcusable, and I didn’t want to believe your company would stoop this low. My mistake.
In a lot of ways, I got what I deserved. I have come to the conclusion that I took this foolhardy risk because the Twitter “platform” was even more of a joke than the Facebook “platform”. As someone that wants to build quality social software, software that doesn’t force users to re-create their friends list, or not use oAuth, etc., I have to endure huge platform risk. Personally speaking, I am resolved to never write another line of code for rotten-to-the-core “platforms” like Facebook or Twitter. Lesson learned.
Mark, I don’t believe that the humans working at Facebook or Twitter want to do the wrong thing. The problem is, employees at Facebook and Twitter are watching your stock price fall, and that is causing them to freak out. Your company, and Twitter, have demonstrably proven that they are willing to screw with users and 3rd-party developer ecosystems, all in the name of ad-revenue. Once you start down the slippery-slope of messing with developers and users, I don’t have any confidence you will stop.
I believe that future social platforms will behave more like infrastructure, and less like media companies. I believe that a number of smaller, interoperable social platforms with a clear, sustainable business models will usurp you. These future companies will be valued at a small fraction of what Facebook and Twitter currently are. I think that is OK. Platforms are judged by the value generated by their ecosystem, not by the value the platforms directly capture.
[Amazing how rotten, how fast.]
Source: Dalton Caldwell