‘Look At What Is Getting Shut Down’

March 16, 2013 7:04 am

Obviously, this post is triggered by the recent Google Reader shut down episode. While this might not be a great heuristic for ideas – it is definitely a good one. Keep your eyes and ears open for what is getting shut down – actually you can be a little broader than that, and watch out for any of the following:

1. A popular (or) once popular service shutting down (e.g. Google Reader)
2. A popular free service moving to a premium-only model (e.g. Ning, StackExchange)
3. A popular service getting acquired, with a good possibility of change in direction (e.g. posterous, dodgeball)

The common theme in each of the above sunset scenarios is this: ‘popular’ – and that means customers. In many cases, contrary to what you might expect, these would be profitable customers.Remember, the world loves status-quo. With very few exceptions.

A solid substitute and ease of migration is all that is needed to land these customers. If you have ever tried getting an initial set of customers for a new product – you know how big a jackpot that is.

If you can’t build a substitute, figure out who is emerging as the most popular substitute, and build something to make the migration less painful. People ask for, and buy painkillers generally. And building painkillers is a better idea than building vitamins. If you can “identify a painkiller, that is.

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