Truemors isn't very good. The new social rumour website started by Guy Kawasaki just launched, and it is a bit of a mess. Shouldn't Guy Kawasaki, an guru of all things both tech and entrepreneurship, know better?
Well, in this candid interview with the Wall Street Journal, Guy fesses up to a key truth that anyone interested in social media and emerging platforms needs to pay attention to, which is that NOONE really knows what will be a hit, or fail miserably. Things are moving too fast. Too much is unknown at this point, and expecting sure things isn't very smart (or honest). The difference, in Guy's view, is that mistakes now cost in the thousands, rather than millions of dollars. He figures that you might as well try stuff out, and I think he's dead on. (His book, Art of the Start, is pretty much about the importance of action, and just starting with something, so it's no surprise that he's an advocate of this, given the low table stakes these days for developing new ideas).
The lesson? Experiment, think in beta terms, and keep trying stuff out. Brands and marketers can learn from this as well. Play around with Twitter, Jaiku or any new applications, and see what works. These platforms don't have to reinvent the wheel, or even last for years and years.
The truth is, it's probably likely that none of the fun stuff web geeks are buzzing about these days will look the same 6 months down the road, let alone a few years. As someone recently said, think of them as shows that come and go, rather than long-term projects. The alternative is to do nothing out of fear and uncertainty. That isn't just boring and ineffective, it also means that you'll miss out on the process of learning. Iteration is a term that we'll all have to get more comfortable with. And with a lot of cheap, interesting options, how can things be more exciting?
(Here's an excerpt from Guy's interview with the WSJ).
Mr. Kawasaki says he has been working on Truemors for just three months. Because it uses free software, with programming done by a for-hire outfit in called Electric Pulp located in the high tech mecca of South Dakota, the costs are minimal. Mr. Kawasaki says to date, he has spent $12,000 on Truemors.
Or, as he puts it, "During the dot-com bubble, you needed $5 million to do stupid ideas. Now you can do stupid ideas for 12 grand."
With so little at stake, Mr. Kawasaki can afford to adopt a tone of almost cheerful agnosticism when fielding questions. Will Truemors have any redeeming social purpose? "The real answer is, 'I don't know,'" he replies. Will the things people read on Truemors be true? "As much as anything else they read on the Internet," he says.