Lively and the Art of Failing Fast

Google launched Lively 4.5 months back and has now decided to kill the product.

..despite all the virtual high fives and creative rooms everyone has enjoyed in the last four and a half months, we’ve decided to shut Lively down at the end of the year. It has been a tough decision, but we want to ensure that we prioritize our resources and focus more on our core search, ads and apps business – blog

It’s not easy to take such a tough decision , but what is that one question that eases out the decision making process?

“What business you are in?”

Google is quite clear on core focus of it’s business – search, ads and apps business and ‘fails fast’ on it’s experiments (Hello, Answers etc)

While it’s not bad to experiment, what’s really important is to keep a tab on the outcome.

What’s your opinion? What business you are in?

–Sanjay Anandaram’s article on What Business Am I in – How many Startups can answer this? nails down this challenge–

“Many times, entrepreneurs when asked to describe their business use complicated and vague sentences peppered with jargon. I like to term it “buzz-word compliance.” Consider this example, “we leverage technological innovations to deliver solutions across demand-supply service chains at globally lowest costs”. I’m not sure what the entrepreneur wishes to convey but it is certainly buzzword compliant and might perhaps actually sound important!

Using complex language to describe things when simple language will suffice is often times an indication of ignorance and insecurity. The entrepreneur hopes to hide his ignorance by taking refuge in obfuscation. Using complex language also gives a sense of false superiority as it bestows a cloak of importance on the user. It indicates a failure to think clearly and almost shows contempt for one’s audience”

And if your experiment is not core to your business, failing fast is a better option!

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