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Fail Fast Despite the Hype – A Model from Google Wave

I’ve been to Scifoo twice. Both times were great. I didn’t get to go this year…and I am sad not angry that I wasn’t invited. It is terrific that other people, new and old attendees, got to share in the wealth of experience that makes up SciFoo. I hope that it continues and I hope I get to go again.

The first time I went the Google Datasets project was announced. It seemed like a great offer to make to the scientific community. There clearly wasn’t enough participation for the effort as the project was promptly killed.

The next time I went back to Scifoo Google Wave received a lot of attention. Cameron Neylon helped integrate ChemSpider into Wave with ChemSpidey and the potential of Google Wave exploded across the internet as Google’s next big win. I thought the technology was “cool”, interesting, technology looking for a problem and “noisy”…it was very distracting, difficult for me personally to adopt into my daily work. I did play with it, worked on a couple of projects with some colleagues and conceived of how we would use some of the functions.

And now Google Wave is winding down….and I take this comment to heart “…despite these wins, and numerous loyal fans, Wave has not seen the user adoption we would have liked. We don’t plan to continue developing Wave as a standalone product.” Basically they have learned some lessons, probably got some very nice capabilities to plug in elsewhere later, and have decided, to stop investing. I’d love to know what their process was to come up with this decision. Wave was a massive story in the media….and well executed in terms of marketing the story up. How many companies are this clean with an announcement in terms of killing a project of this size…making a tight blog post on the company blog. It’s surprising to see it happen this way, but I have to respect them for the style of pulling the plug and, failing fast. There are lots of other companies who would continue to invest, fearful of the fallout of pulling the plug on a high profile project. Good for you Google…it’s a shame it didn’t work…I DID like pieces of the technology but overall I wasn’t an adopter.  But thanks for this “The central parts of the code, as well as the protocols that have driven many of Wave’s innovations, like drag-and-drop and character-by-character live typing, are already available as open source, so customers and partners can continue the innovation we began”. The community will probably take them!

 
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Posted by on August 4, 2010 in Computing, Software

 

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